Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro believes MotoGP’s “super stressful” current calendar is unsustainable, as he predicts riders won’t be able to emulate Valentino Rossi in stretching their careers to their 40s.
The yearly premier-class schedule had been made up of between 16 and 18 races through all of Rossi’s career, but MotoGP has made the move to 19 rounds this year – and is now looking to ensure a 20-race calendar for 2019.
“The calendar is very tight, super-stressful,” Espargaro said. “I don’t think many people can keep living this calendar.
“Even if next year we race more often, I think what Valentino is doing will be impossible in the future, [there’s’] no way can you race to 40-years-old.”
Espargaro, like Rossi, was among several MotoGP riders to call for a longer mid-season breaks after the series reconvened in the Czech Republic after three weeks off.
The Aprilia rider stressed that the number of races was not the problem, insisting “We have to organise the calendar better”.
“The calendar is a complete disaster,” he added. “The factory riders in MotoGP are lucky because we can arrive late at the track, we have motorhomes.
“But my friend who drives my motorhome left [his home] one week before. He stayed in his home two weeks in the last six months.
“It’s crazy. Nobody in this life can do this job many times.
“Back-to-back races are no problem. If you have three, four months of a super-full schedule, it’s our job, no problem.
“But you need some rest during the middle of the season – if you have some injuries, [it’s] to have some treatment – for the mechanics to disconnect.
“For everybody, we need to have a longer summer break. Less than three [weekends] is bullshit.”
Espargaro’s own rest period was impacted by an injury sustained at the Sachsenring that forced the Spaniard – who recently became a father – to spend almost a week in the hospital.
“I had a big crash in Germany and I stayed six days with my family. Now we race here [at Brno], then test, race in Austria, then we go to Misano [for a] three-day test, then we race again.
“I think in the next 39 days, I sleep in my home six times. At least, you need three, four weeks rest, [with a] minimum of three.”
Espargaro was optimistic that series promoter Dorna would be able to extend the summer break in 2019 despite a likely increase in the number of races.
“I talked to Carlos [Ezpeleta, Dorna Sporting Manager] and Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO] in the last Safety Commission, they realise that this year’s calendar is crazy.
“I know for them also it’s not easy, because every track is pushing for one [particular] weekend [and] they [Dorna] have to play Tetris, so it’s not easy.
“But they know for next season and I think they will change it a little bit.”