This was just the start. These programmes spawned growth. Thanks also to Dorna’s direct encouragement, the Spanish national championship – the CEV (Campeonata de Espana de Velocidad) – was pro-actively opened to foreign riders. The result, some 10 years later, saw the CEV take over from the traditional European championship to become the official ‘Junior World Championship’. Last year, a new beginner’s class was added.
Dorna’s vision was not only Spanish, however. Isolating international racing would risk it withering on the vine. A first Dorna-backed outreach came when Red Bull initiated the Rookie’s Cup in 2007, recruiting internationally for youngsters to run as a support class at the GPs. The first champion was Johann Zarco. Dorna has been more directly involved as these initiatives have spread, backing the Asia Talent Cup and in 2018, the new British Talent Cup (Slogan: ‘Your Road to MotoGP Starts Here’).
How long it will take for other nations to catch up to Spain? Italy can provide some inspiration. After the turn of the century this stalwart of the smallest class, whence, of course, came Rossi, Dovizioso and others, had run into the doldrums. In 2010, Spain’s first triple-title glory year, there was but a single Italian in the top 20 of the 125 class. Simone Grotzkyj, who, to his credit, managed to improve from 19th overall that year to 16th in 2011, was still the top Italian.