Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta is a busy man. He is leading the management of MotoGP and World Superbike for the first time -- during a worldwide recession. Both series are on the cusp of dramatically new technical eras in 2014, with significant equipment decisions still to be made in WSBK.
But Carmelo still found time recently to participate in one of his favorite pastimes: Pumping up Valentino Rossi.
Ezpeleta long has been one of Rossi's biggest proponents. No surprise, as Grand Prix racing has been at its fattest and happiest in the last decade when Rossi has dominated en route to winning world titles. Rossi victories make Dorna's cash registers ring with more sponsorship and higher TV rights fees.
So Ezpeleta was beating the Rossi drum at double-four time as The Doctor prepares for his first season back with Yamaha since two lost years with Ducati.
"I'm completely sure he can challenge, with all the talent he has and all the experience he has," Ezpeleta told Brit' media. "When he took the decision to go back to Yamaha, it was because he wants to come back to the front. He was winning with Yamaha before, and he can be at the front again."
But Rossi was 31 when he last stood atop a Grand Prix podium, in October 2010. He also is no longer the guaranteed team leader of Yamaha, as he steps back into a team with strong allegiance to two-time and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.