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HomeMotocrossInterview: David Luongo talks MXGP, Van Doninck's Argentina nightmare, MXEP, MXoN format...

Interview: David Luongo talks MXGP, Van Doninck’s Argentina nightmare, MXEP, MXoN format and extra

Interview: David Luongo talks MXGP, Van Doninck’s Argentina nightmare, MXEP, MXoN format and more

We would solely be three rounds into the MXGP World Championship however lots has already occurred. In MXGP, Jorge Prado is within the type of his life while Kay de Wolf has gained three from three in MX2 regardless of solely having one GP identify to his identify earlier than the beginning of the season.

There’s been a little bit of every little thing within the first three rounds with accidents, nice racing and announcement already confirmed for the long run – an all-electric class will begin in 2026 and referred to as MXEP.

We just lately caught up with Infront Moto Racing CEO, David Luongo to debate a variety of matters.

GateDrop: With the likes of Tom Vialle now Jorge Prado and doubtlessly the Coenen brothers going to America, are you afraid of a expertise drain in MXGP or do you see it as a constructive that it advertises the standard of GP riders to America?

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Luongo: We already had prior to now Champion or gifted riders that expressed the need to strive the U.S expertise and it by no means affected the MXGP World Championship. From Jean Michel Bayle, Roczen, Musquin, Vialle, all had been unbelievable riders and got here from our pyramid of skills. An important for me is to have created a terrific system the place yearly we see new gifted children becoming a member of the totally different European Championship. If a rider needs to experience Supercross, it’s clear that he has to go to U.S, the place the most effective championship takes place, then for Motocross, MXGP is the place to be. Possibly sooner or later, additionally some American or U.S primarily based riders will expertise the MXGP, our two approach world has by no means been so shut.

GateDrop: Jason Anderson has expressed a want to race MXGP earlier than he retires, is there something that may be carried out to encourage extra prime People over so it’s not only one approach visitors?

Luongo: Our work consists of making the most effective and most demanding championship attainable. As I discussed above there are increasingly more bridges between the 2 sides of the oceans with regard to our sport. The MXGP World Championship has a number of the most demanding tracks on the planet and I’m positive some riders wish to strive such tracks as soon as of their profession.

GateDrop: Triumph have joined the paddock this 12 months and Ducati subsequent 12 months with TM returning to MX2. These manufacturers stepping up is nice for the game so that you have to be pleased with that? Are you able to inform us in case you are attempting to get Ducati to line up at many MXGP rounds this 12 months with Cairoli and Lupino?

Luongo: The entry of these two iconic bike manufacturers is validating the work we now have carried out the final twenty years to boost the extent of recognition and professionalism of our sport. Subsequent 12 months, the MXGP will give the chance for 9 Official Producers to be topped World Champion, it’s to begin with a file within the historical past of motocross, however it is usually a file in bikes too. Ducati has its personal agenda for growing their bike and like Triumph, they intention to enter the MXGP as soon as they are going to be able to compete for the win. We’re involved, however we gained’t put any strain on their first look at a Grand Prix.

GateDrop: While it’s nice that there’s extra manufacturing facility bikes, it will be even higher so as to add extra privateer setups – any progress on prize cash coming again once more to assist enhance the rider numbers behind the road, it might assist entice much more groups to the wonderful collection?

Luongo: It is a debate that has been shut greater than 20 years in the past, we, as promotor of this championship, are accountable of making, selling the MXGP. We construct the platform for the riders to carry out and to turn into stars. The riders are employed by the groups. These main adjustments which have been made 20 years in the past have allowed us and the organizers to enhance considerably the standard of the venues, with higher infrastructures and to spend money on the TV manufacturing, the media and to make this sport extra standard. The riders right now have elevated considerably (a number of instances) their revenues, the groups elevated considerably their employees, constructions and the fabric that they transport around the globe. We elevated additionally the variety of press and media attending the Grand Prix. All of the system turned increasingly more skilled. Then, after the covid, we determined to cut back the entry charge for the wild card riders and the privateers to assist them to take part to the Grand Prix in Europe. One other essential matter is the truth that the MX2 and the MXGP classes are specializing in the high-quality. We’re speaking about the most effective riders on the earth. With this imaginative and prescient, we’re pleased with 25 to 35 riders relying on the area in Europe and Abroad. On one other aspect, EMX lessons that are more often than not with two teams and a full line up are rising the following era of skills. All the most effective riders on the earth have been driving these EMX65cc, EMX85cc, EMX125cc and EMX250cc after which moved up till MXGP.

GateDrop: The factors for qualifying races took a variety of criticism however I believed it was a terrific concept and it actually proved profitable final 12 months – how happy are you with the change and do you hear much less negativity about it this season?

Luongo: The factors on the qualifying race had been our targets because the starting as a race must be rewarded, however generally it wants simply the great timing to be built-in. I imagine it’s a nice enter because it provides a unbelievable worth to Saturday. The vast majority of the followers wish to see racing, and the organizer had been struggling on Saturday with the previous system. Because the time of the qualification race, we noticed a rise of fifty% of the Saturday attendance. These days, different main motorsports promoters made the identical transfer by racing on Saturday (MotoGP and F1), so we’re very glad to have been pioneers on this matter.

GateDrop: It appeared there could be an AMA/MXGP hybrid motocross coming quickly, perhaps this 12 months, however has that taken a again seat or the place are we on that? Your relationship with Davey Coombs appears actually good which is nice given the earlier FIM/AMA rivalry?

Luongo: The connection with the American Motocross promotor, MX Sport and Supercross Feld are superb. We’re in fixed contact. I strongly imagine that our sport is already too small to divide it in numerous elements with rivalry. For positive we now have totally different targets as they’re targeted on American soil and we managed the World Championship however we share the identical imaginative and prescient of constructing motocross greater and extra standard. On this imaginative and prescient each of us like the concept of making a single and distinctive occasion, the place the MXGP and AMA riders would take part collectively. It isn’t a secret and it is usually true that it will in all probability be probably the most thrilling and awaited Motocross occasion within the historical past of our sport. I don’t imagine this occasion will occur this 12 months or subsequent one however it’s positively a mission that each of us would like to create collectively.

GateDrop: There are 20 GP’s this 12 months, which is lots however nonetheless lower than MotoGP/F1 – do you’re feeling that is the correct amount or might there be extra (or perhaps much less as 20 means a variety of accidents). Will Australia/NZ get a GP and even Japan? Huge established motocross markets that MXGP may very well be promoted in?

Luongo: It’s a good quantity for now and an in depth future. The international locations you simply named in your questions could be very welcome in these 20 Grand Prix. Earlier than speaking about extending the variety of Grand Prix, we choose to deal with the standard of the 20 GP we will promote. Our good break up could be 6 abroad and 14 European primarily based GP. MXGP could be very robust in Australia and Japan is the house of most of our producers so it’s clearly ones of the locations we’re engaged on, however not the one ones as we now have at the least 5 international locations in talks proper now.

GateDrop: Have you considered getting somebody like Daniel Blair concerned in MXGP broadcasts and even YouTube given his expertise and experience within the US broadcast enviornment, he may very well be unbelievable working with the sensible Paul Malin within the sales space or trackside and particularly deliver extra eyes to MXGP from the US aspect?

Luongo: Yearly we attempt to enhance the standard of our manufacturing and applications across the Grand Prix. Final 12 months, we launched the brand new Behind the Gate collection which give a way more private view on the Grand Prix and deal with the distinctive persona of the riders. We noticed a terrific suggestions from the followers. At present, our followers need greater than racing, they wish to know the riders higher, their entourage, the way in which the GP’s are carried out and extra contents round these matters. This 12 months we renewed the Studio Present to deliver it to the next degree and with the ability to be used for extra content material creation. We can even proceed throughout some GP to provide our Behind the Paddock Present Dwell on MXGP-TV and the social community. Paul and Lisa are doing an incredible job and so they might need increasingly more to do sooner or later, so we’re very open to enthusiastic profiles.

GateDrop: Is it attainable to get extra interviews in MXGP television after the race ie if Lucas Coenen wins the second moto, if he isn’t on the rostrum he doesn’t get an interview simply the GP winner and podium guys. In Argentina he was very a lot the story of the weekend however no interview regardless of his crash with two turns to exit of the lead and driving with an injured thumb? Is it attainable for the bundle to be extra malleable primarily based on story traces just like the US who often will interview 4th place if it’s relevant or like final 12 months Aaron Plessinger after he crashed out of the lead in Detroit?

Luongo: It’s one thing we might think about sooner or later. These private tales are sometimes defined within the Behind The Gate program or within the publish race press convention.

GateDrop: MXGP is the hardest motocross collection on the earth with the largest number of tracks. Are you pleased with what you may have achieved at this level and what are your subsequent targets with the collection?

Luongo: I’m very pleased with our champions, however not solely MXGP ones. I’m pleased with the pyramid system we managed to create 20 years in the past with the European Championships racing on the identical tracks, the identical weekends in entrance of the identical crowd of the MXGP riders. It created an enormous rise of the standard and the expertise for the riders of our era. A child of 12 years previous will get to experience Trentino or Lommel or Saint Jean d’Angely in very demanding circumstances. Then the World Championship needs to be probably the most technical and demanding championship within the World. The tracks are difficult, but in addition the climate circumstances are too (temperature, elevation, humidity…). The World Champion is the most effective rider as a result of he managed to deal with all these challenges through the 20 Grand Prix. We’ve got to all the time preserve this concept in thoughts, give probably the most technical and demanding monitor however preserve it the most secure attainable too. I imagine the step we made 2 years in the past with the creation of rider ambassadors program that meet with us and FIM twice through the weekend was essential and good for the game. Then we have to proceed to enhance the infrastructure of the circuit to permit extra individuals to affix the GP weekend in higher circumstances. You in all probability noticed the groups constructions in Spain, they’re increasingly more skilled, and yearly they’re getting nearer to the F1/MotoGP ones, so we have to proceed to enhance the paddock additionally.

GateDrop: We spoke to Tom Vialle at Paris Supercross and he mentioned AMA Nationwide tracks get rougher than GP tracks (excluding Lommel), clearly the rougher monitor helps enhance the talents of the riders – what would you say relating to to Vialles feedback and can you react to it in 2024? (Possibly much less monitor upkeep?)?

Luongo: As I mentioned above, we’re not competing with AMA American MX, we now have our philosophy on the subject of the racetrack, which I defined clearly above, and we are going to proceed with our philosophy. One of many main factors for us is to have the younger European riders racing on the identical tracks because the MXGP, this allows them to enhance lots.

GateDrop: You’ve introduced the MXEP class for 2025… Stark don’t appear pleased with that in any respect as they wish to race with the common machines. What would your reply be to that? Trey Canard is concerned within the Honda E bike – what’s the possibilities he’ll race the collection? When you haven’t already it will be value reaching out to him!

Luongo: As I discussed in our official communication, we’re not in favour of blending each electrical and ICE bikes for the second. They’re two totally different merchandise available on the market as in all the opposite motorsports. However on one other hand, the event of the final years allowed us to create a particular Electrical class that may happen through the MXGP weekend. We can all of the potential of the GP weekend to develop this new class which can be a assist race and can give a platform to the producers to develop their bike and put it up for sale. In 2026, I’m very assured that many producers may have a motorbike able to compete on this class and I might be very happy if Stark is a part of it.

GateDrop: Brent van Doninck acquired injured in Argentina and we learn his story in regards to the unhealthy hospital circumstances… Sooner or later will you intention to enhance medical circumstances on the fly away races so this may be prevented?

Luongo: What occurred to Van Doninck is totally unacceptable, it was a collection of issues and lack of communication previous to the occasion which allowed for this to occur. For positive we’re extraordinarily sad about this, the medical aspect of the occasion is just not beneath IMR management and duty, however we will certainly use all our energy to push the accountable events to behave professionally making certain that one thing like this by no means occurs once more.

GateDrop: I hear Roger de Coster is pushing for a format change for the MXoN and desires the 250 class separate and every nation to run 4 riders… this could assist America A LOT contemplating it’s a BIG nation… Hopefully you gained’t change the format simply to assist them (laughs)…

Luongo: We perceive from the place Roger is coming from, and as you say a giant nation like USA with extra riders would have extra likelihood to win, however we now have to analyse a number of factors: first the prices of each crew would enhance by 25% (and the vast majority of Federations aren’t in a position to face this), secondly for a lot of Federations it’s very troublesome to seek out simply 3 good riders (not to mention 4), and thirdly the Motocross of Nations could be very profitable as it’s, with the present format the ultimate outcomes are very uncertain proper up till the chequered flag of the final race, and the followers simply find it irresistible.

GateDrop: You lately travelled to America and visited the Indianapolis SX. Was there any explicit purpose for the go to?

Luongo: I’ve by no means visited an indoor US Supercross, subsequently I answered positively to an invite from Feld and MX Sport. We had some few days collectively in USA, nice conferences after which we took the chance to go to the HQ of the AMA and a few tracks round Indianapolis…

Interview: Andy McKinstry/Jonathan McCready

Picture: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing



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