Gulf Times’s two-part interview with Carmelo Ezpeleta, the chief executive officer of Dorna Sports, concludes with a preview of the company’s plans for Qatar. He also shares optimism about the future of youth in Qatar, especially in the world of motorsport.

Ezpeleta also praised Qatar for the mega infrastructure it has built not only for the country’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup this coming November and December but also for future sporting events to be held here, as well as Qatar’s commitment to the development of athletes.
According to Ezpeleta, Qatar has set such high standards aimed at elevating sportsmanship to greater levels – a feat that would help inspire the youth and future generations.

Gulf Times: During the Qatar Economic Forum, Powered by Bloomberg, you mentioned plans to have riders “from many nationalities.” Is Qatar on your radar and are you optimistic that you would be able to tap young talents from this country, as well?

Ezpeleta: Qatar is very much on our radar and that of the Road to MotoGP programme. The Road to MotoGP is unrivalled in motorsport – it aims to open doors and increase access to the sport across the world, wherever a rider is from and whatever their background. That includes Qatar and we have already seen Qatari riders compete in the Asia Talent Cup and take podiums, as well as move into the European Talent Cup in JuniorGP. To see this system working makes us very proud.
The Road to MotoGP now starts with the FIM MiniGP World Series, in collaboration with the FIM and motorcycle federations and unions around the world. It’s the first global initiative in motorsport aimed at creating grassroots equality, and we were delighted to see the FIM MiniGP Qatar Series immediately become part of this vision. Creating a ladder where opportunity is equal for everyone, whatever the biggest challenge is for each rider, is one of our key goals.

Do youth in Qatar have what it takes to become a part of MotoGP?

Yes. Young people from Qatar and those from every corner of the world have what it takes. We are very proud that our grids, across MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3, are so full of talent and riders who have shown their ability and been rewarded for it.
This is so important to the sport and to our audience and fans too – all doors to MotoGP are open. On track and off, we want everyone to enjoy motorcycle racing, whether they ride or come to see the sport in the grandstands. Or both!

Kindly comment on Qatar’s infrastructure and its sports-related facilities, and do you think these facilities would play a role in encouraging the youth here to aspire and pursue sports as a career?

Qatar is second to none in sports-related facilities. From Lusail International Circuit which is the track used for MotoGP as well as Formula1 and the case for all other motorsports, including the Academy, but it also serves as a base for sports in general like cycling and running. The Qatar Motorsport Academy is closely engaged with Aspire, Qatar’s world-leading project for athlete development. These opportunities to grow and test new skills can’t be underestimated. The same will be true in other sports too as Qatar continues to invest. Having amazing facilities like these is only a positive, and an inspiration too.
As well as physical infrastructure, the organisational and human side is also important and the QMMF (Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation) provides a good example of both. We can already see the results of their investments – including the time, effort, and work put into building each project. This is very important, and the combination of world-class facilities and systemic investment can only encourage and inspire the young people of Qatar.
As a major sports property, we are truly grateful that Qatar has set such a high standard and taken such a big commitment to sports as a nation. The values of sport, entailing sacrifice and competition are vital for the new generations.
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