The on-going Marc VDS saga has the potential to remove from the paddock one of the largest and best-funded private teams in MotoGP. While team sponsor Marc van der Straten has stated he intends to race MotoGP until 2021 there are constant rumors that the team will fold or be taken over by a different entity.
Now former VDS MotoGP team head Michael Bartholemy has structured the team so that while he can be removed –he was terminated at the last race–nearly all of the contracts for riders, mechanics and services are under his control and contract. It’s believed to be within his rights as the contract holder to actually pull the team from the paddock with a “stop work” order.
The gigantic elephant in the Marc VDS and Bartholemy is, of course, DORNA and specifically CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.
Politically Ezpeleta is going to do whatever it takes to keep the man with four names (Marc van der Straten) happy and in the MotoGP paddock. And if Marc van der Straten wants to leave MotoGP then Ezpeleta has a very strong carrot for a new team to come in and take over the operation–between DORNA and IRTA there is a near 60% subsidy from those two entities to run a GP team.
Michael Bartholemy has multiple roles in MotoGP: in addition to being the former head of Marc VDS he is also the manager of record for riders such as Scott Redding.