WAYNE RAINEY ON CREATING MOTOAMERICA: NOT AN EASY TASK BUT ALSO REWARDING
On the surface, Wayne Rainey appears to be relaxed.
The three-time 500cc motorcycle world champion and two-time AMA Superbike championwas at Circuit of The Americas this week as several teams from the new MotoAmerica series prepared for the first race of the season.
Over the past few days, Rainey was moving around the paddock, talking to riders and officials and watching bikes turn laps around the 3.4-mile circuit.
But Rainey has been busy. Since September, he and a small team of partners have built this series almost from the ground up.
MotoAmerica will be racing for the first time alongside MotoGP at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas from April 10 through 12. The series is a rebuilding of the AMA Superbike series that had suffered in recent years because of a dispute between the organizers and Dorna, the commercial-rights holder of the MotoGP World Championship.
Rainey and his partners obtained the rights to the series in September and have worked flat out since then to turn it around.
In that time the rulebook has rewritten to fall more in line with the world championship, the class structure has been reorganized and the engine specs have been opened up – among other changes.
The goal is to revitalize the U.S. championship: to get more Americans competing at the highest levels while giving fans more ways to watch – be it at a nearby track or on television.
Rainey understands that a full turnaround will take time, but he has created a stable foundation on which the series, and its audience, can grow.
This week’s test is the culmination of a lot of hard work — that’s really just getting started. Next up is the season-opener at Circuit of The Americas in April, followed by eight more races throughout the year.
Circuit of The Americas caught up with Rainey in the paddock this week. Below are excerpts from his interview:
When I drove up over the hill and I came in the paddock and I saw the race trucks I just had to stop and look at that and say, ‘Wow, it happened.’ That to me was reality. That’s when it hit me. That part was very rewarding.
Normally when a group would try to attempt something that we’re doing, I think probably the normal thing to do would be to get everything in place, give yourself a year. But we didn’t do that.
When we got this thing, we had no assets. Zero. … We have gone from that point Sept. 3 to here. The whole process hasn’t been turnkey, it hasn’t been easy.
What was Number 1 for me was I wanted a stable championship, a safely run race and something that’s organized because then the teams can do their job — and that’s from the guy driving the truck to the guy racing the bikes.
MotoGP is popular everywhere, even in America, but we don’t have an American racing for the podium. So for me and I think everybody on my team and everybody in the paddock, they would like to see somebody who comes out of our championship that actually goes into the world championship, whether it’s world superbike or into MotoGP.
I was the American champion – I won it twice and I’m very proud of those. They were very tough, I learned a lot, but the championship was competitive then. It was run well and it produced good competition. And that’s what we have to do is have competitive teams, preferably a lot of them, so the riders can have rivalries out on the race track and push each other.
For more information and to buy tickets, MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas visit circuitoftheamericas.com/motogp.