MotoGP riders’ association in the works, Guintoli set to lead it

Although the possibility of creating a kind of riders’ union has been flying around the paddock for years, it has not been until this season that the main parties involved have taken action on the matter and have begun the path towards its formation.

The intention of this initiative is to give riders a greater voice in certain issues with the governing bodies of the championship, as well as to discuss minimum wages or mutual insurance to help recovering riders who have suffered serious injuries.

Such an organisation has long existed within F1, with the GPDA that represents the drivers chaired by ex-racer Alexander Wurz and George Russell acting as director.

To start shaping the idea, the riders created a WhatsApp group to discuss everything that concerns the collective, with the first meeting about the formation of an association taking place on the Thursday of the Catalan Grand Prix.

In India, Guintoli entered the scene. At that meeting at the Buddh circuit, most of those present agreed that the 41-year-old was the right person to act as spokesman due to his recent racing experience, good relationship with the various parties and an ability to handle himself well politically.

Guintoli won the WSBK title in 2014, spent two seasons in MotoGP between 2007 and 2008, and latterly acted as Suzuki test rider alongside his endurance racing commitments.

Sylvain Guintoli, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Sylvain Guintoli, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

When rain fell on Saturday in India, many riders recognised the need for a representative to look after them as questions lingered about whether the sprint race should be held if it persisted, given the danger posed at some parts of the track.

The bulk of the riders stood together on this, although there were a couple who remained on the sidelines.

After the event in India, Guintoli has been learning about the legal and juridical procedures necessary for the constitution of an organisation of this nature. Although the Frenchman is not present this weekend in Indonesia, he plans to travel next week to Australia to share where he stands.

His idea is, once all the necessary information has been compiled, to generate a document in the form of a memorandum that all the riders will sign. This will serve as a starting point for the commitment they make to the organisation and the responsibilities that come with being part of it.

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