MotoGP Argentina freight issues hit by war in Ukraine

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta says the MotoGP freight issues that impacted this weekend’s Argentine Grand Prix were partly caused by the war in Ukraine.

Mechanical issues with two flights containing MotoGP paddock cargo from Indonesia have caused significant delays to a number of teams receiving cargo for this weekend’s race at Termas de Rio Hondo.

A cargo plane remains grounded in Kenya and a replacement engine valve is on the way, with hopes the flight can take off tonight.

But due to delays in the arrival of freight, MotoGP has canceled all of Friday’s races in Argentina.

At an exceptional press conference on Thursday at noon local time, Dorna CEO Ezpeleta said the weekend would go smoothly if the flight could leave Kenya at 8 p.m.

He also revealed that this problem had been somewhat aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month and the sanctions imposed on Russia, as many transport companies previously used – Ezpeleta estimating the figure at around 20 % – were operating out of the country.

“Always the situation, and we have learned a lot during 30 years of racing [MotoGP]that the situation with theft is very complicated.

“That is the main problem, and this problem has [also] increased due to the war in Ukraine.

“A lot of cargo flights are from Russian airlines and all of these flights are currently banned.

“We have lost almost 20% of available flights globally and the biggest issue right now is that there are no flights to share as we have been discussing with enough time since last Wednesday to resolve the problem.

“The problem is that there are no more flights available to us at the moment, and we have no choice but to wait for the floodgates to be fixed. [with] the flight to Mombasa and to be lucky enough to get here.

Empty garages on Thursday

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport footage

The logistics of getting MotoGP from Lombok Island in Indonesia and Argentina were immense, with three cargo flights going through Kenya, Lagos and Brazil, while the other two went through Doha, Ghana and then in Argentina.

But when asked if this issue will force a rethink of the way the calendar is shaped from next year, Ezpeleta thinks the two-week separation of Indonesia and Argentina is not a problem.

“In the first case, well, maybe we have to reconsider and also secure when we have back-to-back races, but this time it wasn’t a week apart in the middle. [between Indonesia and Argentina].

“Unfortunately, we cannot resolve the situation to avoid this problem.

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“This grand prix, we’ve had 499 grand prix we’ve run and thank goodness it’s the first time we’ve had this issue, and to be honest overall it’s not good but we’re ready to accept this kind of thing.

“Our main focus today is to race in Argentina and continue racing in the United States next week.”

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