MotoGP is glamour. Multi-storey hospitality suites tower over the paddock as, in front or to one side, bevvies of world-class promo girls do whatever it is they do all day. Sumptuous meals are prepared and served, three times a day, to riders, team members, important guests, not-so-important guests and their hangers-on. And all this before a wheel has been turned in anger.
It all comes at a cost. And the cost of the unseen parts of MotoGP have to be added to the price of being on the track in the first place. Believe us, it ain’t cheap. But just how much money does a team spend over the course of a season?
Paolo Campinoti, Octo Pramax Ducati team owner, started his MotoGP adventure in 2002 after an experience in F1, where he sponsored the Benetton Team. The idea was to promote the family company Pramac, a leading generator firm, with the visibility granted by MotoGP. The passion for motorsport supported also the company business.
Pramac started in MotoGP with Honda, with whom they had a commercial relationship, before becoming the satellite team for Ducati. Besides the races, MotoGP has been an important tool to do business and extend the business contacts. The floodlights GPs like Qatar, Abu Dhabi or Singapore, for example, use Pramac generators.
Team manager Francesco Guidotti gives you the lowdown on us how much he will spend on MotoGP season and the necessary investments to run a satellite team with two riders - in this case Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding.
“Before speaking about the budget, it’s important to make an important premise”, explains Guidotti. “The Octo Pramac Team can boast 15 years of experience in the MotoGP paddock which means also that the huge investment to build up a team from zero in terms of facilities and equipment has already been done. This makes the difference of many zeroes in the annual budget.”
With Guidotti we go through all the main aspects of the budget of a MotoGP private team for one season. The main variable remains the salary of the riders. “If you think that Ducati will pay Jorge Lorenzo around €12.5 million per season. With this money we do the whole season with two riders…”
The salary of the riders can vary from zero to millions. It’s always the result of a negotiations between two parts. In general the difference in a rider’s salary from a factory to a private team is huge. When the salary is low, usually the bonus for the results is much higher, but it has also happened, for example, that the team - in agreement with the rider - has decided to invest on the technical package to the detriment of the rider’s salary.
Leasing four Ducati GP15s (two per rider) is around €4 million with some spare parts included. Next year the Octo Pramac team will line up a GP17 and a GP16, a huge step forward for the team that is a satellite for Ducati.
This voice represents the 40-45 per cent of the budget with an amount related to the crashes and the necessary spare parts that cannot be calculated in advance but that heavily affect the final total.
The Octo Pramac Team counts a staff of 23 members plus seven staff of the hospitality in the European races and around 25 persons for the overseas rounds. The salary of the team members represents around 15 per cent of the budget.
STAFF: this is an important voice which shouts €500,000 to move 25 people around the world for 18 rounds and includes the flights, rental cars, the hotel accommodation and the meals. They all fly cattle with the exception of the team manager, the riders and the team owner.
EQUIPMENT: there are also logistics for the material and the fly-crates to ship the equipment that travels on motorhomes in Europe and by plane in the non-European races. The Octo Pramac team ships around 26 crates for a total of 9000 kilos. The transport of 8000 kilos is covered by the Dorna-IRTA bonus. For the remaining 1000 kilos the team pays five euros per kilo per route for a total amount of €150-180,000 euro per season, included the winter tests.
TRUCKS: the logistics of two trucks to transport the bikes and the equipment of the garage, plus four trucks for the hospitality costs around €120,000. But if you need to buy a truck, the cost varies from €150-300,000 for just the trailer. To rent a tractor unit costs an additional €30,000 each.
HOSPITALITY: the budget to build up a new hospitality is around €2 million. In addition you have to calculate the running cost that goes around €600-700,000 per season. As well as providing meals for the mechanics of the team, the Pramac hospitality serves an average of 1000 meals on the most-attended race weekends like the Spanish and Italian rounds. In a season they serve 900 kilos of pasta, 20,000 bottles of water and 18,000 soft drinks.
SPONSORS: for a private team the sponsors are crucial. “We live thanks to the sponsor,” states Guidotti. “They can be direct, like Pramac in our specific case, or indirect. They usually cover the 65 per cent of the budget.”
GARAGE: if you have to set up a garage from zero, you need to calculate around €350,000 for the whole thing: pit panels, dressers, all the tools, screws and stuff to work on the bike, pit canopy, benches, lights, and so on.
For example €100,000 are needed for the crates alone. The cost of a crate varies from €2000 to €5000 each according depending on the material (wood or carbon fibre). Pramac transport 26 crates. You do the maths.
DORNA/IRTA: the contribution that arrives from Dorna and IRTA to a MotoGP team currently covers the 30 per cent of the budget. It includes the prizes for the results and also a contribution for the transportation of the crates for the non-European races.
Starting from 2017 the contribution that Dorna gives to the teams is much more structured. The current MotoGP teams have signed a five-year agreement that secures their place on the grid. In addition Dorna will cover almost the whole leasing of the bikes which have a capped price of around €2-2.2 million per two bikes for a rider. In addition IRTA will continue to cover a big part of the equipment transportation.