How much do MotoGP riders make?
MotoGP fans would certainly like to know what their favourite MotoGP stars earn in a given year. Salaries of top sportsmen are closely scrutinised by fans in particular and people in general. Increasing salaries have generally indicated a rise in the performance and stature of an athlete. But a severe reverse trend in salaries of MotoGP pilots is a cause for concern and inquisitiveness.
The ravaging Covid-19 pandemic has affected most sports. The bottom line of team sponsors has been severely affected over the past two years. But that in itself does not explain the drastic drop in total salaries spent on MotoGP riders in 2022. This article will look at what teams are playing each MotoGP rider and why.
Every team has a specific predetermined budget to cover the costs of each season. This budget covers all the costs that will be incurred by the teams throughout the season. The costs include the costs of designing and developing the bike are spent out of this budget. It also covers the salaries of engineers, technicians/mechanics and the riders. And last but not the least, it includes the costs of transporting equipment and the travel of personnel.
Team managements have to juggle between the various heads of expenses. If a team spends more on the riders, there won’t be enough money left to design and develop a new chassis. It is a tough choice but one that has to be made by the management. Team management avoids choosing one cost head over the other that might be detrimental to the overall performance of the team.
MotoGP riders’ earnings, as with many other sportsmen in motor racing, are difficult to quantify even in a given year. Pilots also get bonuses, sponsorships and royalties besides their salaries. Even their salaries are not made public. The figures in this article are the closest estimates of what teams are paying their riders for giving their best on the race tracks.
Various teams are represented by a total of 24 riders. The total salaries shared by these 24 were 58 million Euros in 2018. In 2022 it is understood to have gone down to 48 million Euros. Of course, highly paid riders like Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa are not in the fray. But even with their absence and the Covid-19 pandemic, the difference in the overall package is difficult to explain.
Marc Marquez repeatedly showed his class riding a less competitive Honda and winning repeatedly, He deservedly sits at the top with a salary package of 15 million Euros. It is a contract he signed with Honda back in 2020 which will hold till 2024. But there is a wide gap between Marquez and the second-best earner. That position goes to Joan Mir of Suzuki Ecstar.
Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins come next on the salary scale. Yamaha and Suzuki respectively pay the 4 million Euros each. Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Mille are assured of a paycheck of 3.8 million Euros each from Ducati. Joining them at Ducati is Enea Batistaianini who is also going to make 3.8 million Euros.
Two more riders, Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin will also be earning 3.8 million but are riding for Pramac Racing. Pol Espergaro, who will be riding with Marc Marquez for Repsol Honda will be paid 2,5 million for the season.
Aleix Esperago and Maverick Vinales of Aprilla will earn only 2 million Euros each. Franco Morbidelli, who replaced the one time hero Maverick Vinales at Yamaha will collect 1,5 million Euros. KTM has four riders split between its two teams. Brad Binder, Miguel Oliveira, Rau Fernandez and Remy Gardener will be collectively paid 3.6 million Euros for their efforts.
Honda will spend a total of 3 million Euros on its three riders other than Marc Marquez. The money will be divided between Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami. Pol Espargaro is riding with Marc Marquez for Repsol Honda while Alex Marquez and Nakaagami are riding for Honda’s satellite team LCR.
It is hard to put a finger on how much MotoGP riders earn per year. That is because they get bonuses paid for doing well in Grands Prix. Some sponsors pay large sums for putting up good performances at particular venues. Besides, MotoGP riders earn from advertising products that they promote. These range from wristwatches to bikes and cars.