Editorial credit: Rainer Herhaus / Shutterstock.com
When anyone looks at the earnings of top sportsmen and women in any major sporting code, it is easy to look at the top earners and assume that all the participants earn high incomes. The reality in MotoGP is that of the thousands of aspirant riders, only twenty-two get to race MotoGP, and only four of these make it into the “big time.”
MotoGP riders make a base salary that ranges between $250,000 and $14 million with a per race increment which increases these salaries to between $283,500 and $15,750,000 (rider dependent) at the end of the season. In addition, riders can also make money from sponsors.
When you consider the lifestyles MotoGP riders live, consumed by travel, races, and training, it is surprising that only four riders of the twenty-two on the circuit earn $6 million and over.
MotoGP Drivers Earnings
Top-rated MotoGP rivers (e.g., Marc Marquez) can earn a base salary of up to $14,000,000 for a twenty-one race season.
Up-and-coming MotoGP riders who have shown they have the potential to finish on the podium and possibly win a race can earn between $1.000,000 to $6,000,000 in base salary.
A rider who recently graduated from Moto2 and a satellite or independent team is prepared to work with him may earn only $ 250,000-$500,000.
However, this is not the whole story; MotoGP drivers can earn money from several sources.
A Fixed Minimum Salary
The MotoGP riders earn a guaranteed minimum salary of between $250,000 to $14 million, which is approximately 87% to 95% of their expected annual earnings.
This value is adjusted by between $15,000 and $1,750,000 (rider dependent) at the end of the season based on the number of races they have participated in.
For example, Marc Marquez receives a guaranteed minimum salary of $14,000,000, which makes him the highest earning rider and equals $750,000 for each race he rides in.
Assuming he rides in all twenty-one season races, he will earn $15,750,000 in 2022.
MotoGP Riders Are Permitted Sponsorship Deals
Until 2022 there were many “unpaid” riders in the MotoGP lineup, all of whom had to find their funding.
Unlike Formula One, where drivers with their sponsorships are expected to share proceeds with the team, MotoGP riders can use them for themselves.
To assist, drivers are generally offered some advertising space on the bike and other parts for their sponsor’s decals.
The positions they can use for their sponsors include.
- They will negotiate a position on the bike’s gas tank with the team.
- The rider’s leather racing suit.
- A prominent position on the rider’s helmets.
As the riders begin to win races and their successes cause their profile to rise in the sport, their salary packages increase.
Of course, when this happens, the team will be less motivation to offer space on the equipment for the driver’s sponsors.
What normally happens is that the better-paid drivers are restricted to one spot on the rider’s racing suit’s chest.
By entering into sponsorship deals with smaller, less well-known brand names, the riders can charge a premium to sponsor a product.
For example, one of the smaller helmet manufacturers will pay between $630,000 and $750,000 for a top rider to sponsor their helmet, whereas better-known brands may only be prepared to pay half of the amount.
Less well-known racing leather brands pay between $300,000 to $420,000 to fit out a top top-tier rider.
Sponsors are prepared to pay between $25,000 to $200,000 to advertise on leading riders’ helmets.
MotoGP Riders Don’t Earn Prize Money
MotoGP riders have no prize money, but Moto2 and Moto3 riders earn. Riders in the MotoGP earn straight money from their races and contract deal with teams.
There is no public information regarding the payment of prize money for achieving notable targets; however, as this is publicly acknowledged for Moto2 and Moto3 riders, there is no reason to doubt that teams may have similar arrangements with the MotoGP riders.
Typical incentives would include
- Pole Positions
- Front Row qualifying results.
- Race wins
- Podium Finishes
- Lap records
Some of the riders who finish in the top ten have contracts with their sponsors, which increase their earnings at year-end for winning Grand Prix.
The championship winner will earn a bonus for his sponsor as follows.
|Sponsorship Bonus, Winning Bonus & Championship Bonus awarded to Riders in 2022|
|Sponsorship Money||$500k to $2 million|
|Grand Prix Win Bonus||$200k to $500k (young riders)|
|Champion of Season||$800k to $2 million|
The Riders Get Free Medical Cover
Each team pays their riders the premiums for medical insurance cover, including on and off-track coverage.
The premium provides cover for Clinica Mobile to provide health coverage under the guise of IRTA (International Road Racing Teams Association).
The coverage provided by this policy provides care for injuries and illness on and off the track.
The Top Riders Get A Personal Assistant
When a rider makes it into the top league, additional benefits are made available, which include
- Personal assistant (paid for by the team),
- A coach
- to aid in his riding technique.
- A physical trainer
- A Physiotherapist
The Team Pays For The Rider’s Travel Costs
It is only right that the team pays all of the rider’s travel costs to and from the event; however, if they manage to earn a place amongst the top ten riders, the quality and price of these travel perks will increase exponentially.
For the riders with the smaller teams, this may include a bump from economy to business class, and with the bigger teams, it may mean first-class flights or private jet travel with the team principal.
Each Riders Salary Packages
A summary of each of the rider’s 2022 earnings is listed below.
|Riders||Base Salary||Per Race Fees||Max Earnings||Difference||Constructor|
|Fabio Di Giannantonio||$375,000||$19,000||$399,000||$24,000||Ducati|
The Following Details A Summary Of Each Rider
The following lists the accomplishments of each of the eleven riders who earn a base salary of $1 million or more.
Marc Márquez Alentà – Base Salary $14,000,000
Marc Marquez is a twenty-nine-year-old Spanish MotoGP rider (born 17 February 1993).
He is one of only four world champions who has won titles in three different categories.
- The 2010 125cc World Championship.
- The 2012 Moto2 World Championship.
- The 2013 MotoGP World Championship.
- The 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
- The 2016 MotoGP World Championship.
- The 2017 MotoGP World Championship.
- The 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
- The 2019 MotoGP World Championship.
Like Louis Hamilton in Formula One, Marc has broken many records, including
- Youngest world champion in consecutive years.
- Youngest rider to win twelve races in a single season.
- He was the youngest rider to take four pole positions sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to lead the championship.
- He was the youngest rider to win four races back to back.
- He was the youngest rider to win five races sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to win six races sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to win seven races sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to win eight races sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to win nine races sequentially.
- Rider to win ten races sequentially.
- He was the youngest rider to win eleven races in a single season.
- Consecutive race wins in a four Stroke MotoGP.
- He also has the most consecutive race wins in a single season.
- He was the youngest rider to win back-to-back championships.
With these achievements, it is understandable why he is the highest-paid rider in the MotoGP series.
Maverick Viñales Ruiz – Base Salary $10,000,000
Maverick Viñales is a twenty-seven-year-old Spanish MotoGP rider (born 12 January 1995).
Until mid-2021, he spent five years as the works rider for Yamaha; however, for the 2022 season, he is riding for Aprilia.
Maverick’s wins include.
- The 2012–2013 Moto3 World Champion.
- 9-time MotoGP race winner.
- He has won twenty-five 125cc, Moto2, Moto3, and MotoGP races.
Fabio Quartararo – Base Salary $6,000,000
Fabio Quartararo is a twenty-three year of French MotoGP rider (born 20 April 1999).
Fabio’s achievements include.
- Six National junior championship titles in Spain.
- The 2013 CEV Moto3 title.
- The 2014 CEV Moto3 title.
- MotoGP rookie of the year in 2019.
- Three race wins in the 2020 season.
- Five race wins in 2021 and ten podiums.
- 2021 champion.
- In his racing career, he has won twelve races.
Being so successful and so young has given him a bargaining position. The general impression is that he will achieve as much r more than the greats like Marc Márquez Alentà.
Joan Mir Mayrata – Base Salary $6,000,000
Joan Mir is a twenty-five years old Spanish MotoGP rider (born 1 September 1997).
Joan’s achievements include
- Achieving three wins and six podiums in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
- Four of the first six races in the 2015 CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship.
- 2017 Moto3 World Championship.
- 2020 MotoGP World Championship with Suzuki.
- He has won twelve races and thirty-three podiums in Moto3 and MotoGP.
Pol Espargaró Villà – Base Salary $3,500,000
Pol Espargaró is a thirty-one-year-old Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 10 June 1991).
Pol’s achievements include
- Won the 2013 Moto2 World Championship
- He won the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2015.
- He won the Suzuka 8 Hours in 2016.
- He is the first rider to finish riding a KTM motorcycle on the podium in MotoGP.
- Between 2006 and 2022, he won fifteen out of 267 races.
Álex Rins Navarro – Base Salary $3,000,000
Álex Rins is a twenty-seven-year-old Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 8 December 1995).
Álex’s achievements include.
- Between 2012 and 2022, he won 15 races.
- Achieved 55 podiums.
- Raced in 178 races.
Franco Morbidelli – Base Salary $3,000,000
Franco Morbidelli is a twenty-eight-year-old Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 4 December 1994.)
Franco’s achievements include.
- 2013 European Superstock 600 Championship champion
- 2017 Moto2 World Championship.
- He has raced in 144 competitions.
- He has won 11 races
- He has achieved 27 podiums.
Jack Peter Miller- Base Salary $3,000,000
Jack Miller is a twenty-seven-year-old Australian Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 18 January 1995).
Jack’s achievements include.
- Since his introduction to MotoGP in 2016, he has won three races.
- In his career from 2011 to 2022
He has raced in 183 races
- He has won 9 races.
- He has achieved 28 podiums.
Andrea Dovizioso – Base Salary $1,250,000
Andrea Dovizioso is a thirty-six-year-old Italian Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 23 March 1986).
Andrea’s achievements include.
- 2004 125cc World Champion.
- 2005 came third in the 250 cc World Championship.
- 2006 runner-up to Jorge Lorenzo.
- 2007 runner-up to Jorge Lorenzo.
- 2017 MotoGP championship runner-up.
- 2018 MotoGP championship runner-up.
- 2019 MotoGP championship runner-up.
- Raced in 343 events.
- Won 24 races.
- Achieved 103 podiums.
Álex Márquez Alentà – Base Salary $1,000,000
Álex Márquez Alentà is a twenty-eight-year-old Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 23 April 1996).
Álex’s achievements include.
- 2014 Moto3 World Championship.
- 2012 CEV Moto3 season.
- 2019 Moto2 World Champion.
- 178 events
- Won 12 races
- Achieved 40 podiums
Jorge Martín Almoguera – Base Salary $1,000,000
Jorge Martín is a 24-year-old Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle racer (born 29 January 1998).
Jorge’s achievements include.
- 2014 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion.
- 2018 Moto3 World Championship.
- Winning the 2021 Styrian motorcycle Grand Prix.
- Raced in 124 events.
- He has won 11 races.
- He has achieved 34 podiums.
If a rider is at the top of his game, it is possible to earn considerable salaries on MotoGP. The younger drivers who have only entered the competition in the previous few years and who have not yet had the successes of legendary riders like Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales have some way to achieve top earning status.