Who earns what in MotoGP

Dailies -


colin-edwards.jpgIt’s no surprise that Valentino Rossi earns a ridiculous amount of money
– with sponsorships and endorsements, Sports Illustrated says it’s $35
million annually – but it is surprising just how little some of the
backmarkers earn. Colin Edwards on $325,000?! How does he afford to give
away so many t-shirts?

These estimates come from GPOne and are salary only, they do not included endorsements and sponsorships, which, in Rossi’s case, can double a rider’s salary.
Valentino Rossi: $15.5 – 19.5 million

Jorge Lorenzo: $5.2 – 9 million

Casey Stoner: $6.5 – 9 million

Dani Pedrosa $3.9 – 5.2 million

Andrea Dovizioso: $1.9 – 2.6 million

Marco Simoncelli: $1.9 – 2.6 million

Loris Capirossi: $1.9 million

Ben Spies: $1.3 – 2.6 million

Alvaro Bautista: $1.3 million

Randy De Puniet: $650,000 – 1.6 million (if he signs with Suzuki)

Marco Melandri: $650,000

Mika Kallio: $450,000

Colin Edwards: $325,000

Aleix Espargaro: $325,000

via GPOne

  • http://www.spitgrtzr.tumblr.com Guzzi Mutt

    wow, I thought I was the only one getting screwed on my salary ;)

  • bobx

    those are all still big dollars for riding a motorcycle.

    • Shinigami

      For risking your career- possibly your life-every time you get on one of those? I think not.

      Like the Pro American football player, every rider is one bad move away from a career ending injury. Edwards is clearly worth far more than that, but he also clearly loves what he does.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    I would have guessed Spies made more money. I feel like he has some good endorsement deals. Mostly because I’ve actually heard of him, and I barely follow MotoGP.

  • Rob

    I wonder how this compares to the WSBK salaries. Obviously they should earn much more in GP, but Im curious if its more like 4 or 5times more.

  • 2ndderivative

    And I have to pay for my trackdays…outrageous!

  • That Guy

    No Hayden on the list? Any guesses?

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Randy, sign with Suzuki.

  • gregorbean

    I’ve been wondering lately about bonuses for race finishes. Do MotoGP riders get bonuses for race wins and podium finishes? Either from the factories or the sponsors?

  • vic

    i really feel bad for Colin Edwards and i genuinely think he is screwed over,the man finished 5th in the championship[the highest non-factory machine] last year and he’s paid less 6 times less than the newcomer spies..

    • chili sv

      Yeah, he travels the world and makes several times what I do. And he rides a motorcycle for a living. Poor shlub.

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      Shed no tears for Colin Edwards. He’s had a nice career, and if he goes to WSB and gets a competitive bike AND he’s as good as he thinks he is then he will contend. It’s possible he could do his Biaggi impersonation and carve out some success there. I think his window of opportunity in GP racing closed last year, but he hung on for another year because he knows he might not get back, and also because he didn’t have any good opportunities in WSB.

    • Trojanhorse

      The difference is that CE is at the very end of a lackluster GP career, while Speez is at the very beginning of what looks like it may be a brilliant one. Higher potential returns = more money.

  • generic1776

    Some sponsors offer reward scales from sponsors based upon qualifying and placing. It isn’t a flat system that is open to all participants, but on a individual basis, like sponsoring a person for a walk-a-thon.

    How much does it cost to pay someone to risk life-and-limb to maintain physical capability and ride injured around a race track, where even a practice day can be career ending?

    There pay is commensurate with the cost of paying someone to dedicate themselves to a life of burning the candle at both ends.

    I’d love to see CE2 tearing it up with Biaggi and Haga for two races a weekend and superpole.

    • Roman

      “I’d love to see CE2 tearing it up with Biaggi and Haga for two races a weekend and superpole.”

      This. He’s not going to get a competitive machine in MotoGP at this point in his career. WSBK on the other hand has a severe shortage of American talent. This way Ben Spies gets to fly our flag next year at MotoGP and CE gets to mix it up in WSBK. Makes so much sense for everyone involved.

  • Doug D.

    Capirossi: overrated.

  • B.Catterson

    I thought it was no secret that MotoGP riders were low paid. 1) They make their money on endorsements. 2) If you don’t want the ride, I’m sure there’s another talented rider in World Superbike whose willing to take your place.

  • Woody

    Don’t go to Suzuki Randy! He can either be “poor” on a good bike or make more while riding a shit bike. I’d take the good bike.

  • Ted Baxter

    oh wow Colin. how does he afford web hosting? how can he afford to look down his nose at 9-to-5ers?

  • John Pearson

    Julian Ryder has reported that Colin makes “over one million dollars a year”. I’m sure that is alot closer to the truth than 300K and change. . .

  • irish dave

    I would’nt worry to much about any rider on the grid [finacially], I,m sure nobody in their house is going to go hungry, or that a repo-man is going to come knocking on the door, Julian ryders estimate is a lot more believeable to me, I understand that there is a lot on the line, if I had the talent I would take that job position and that salary anytime, what about the mechanics how much do they make??? I,m sure if we got the info for their salary,s we would be a lot more shocked???

  • Les

    The only way edwards could get a GP ride at this stage is to work on the cheap and he’s in the right team for that.

    Herve Poncharal and tech 3. The man who pushed the rookie rule so he could get spies on his team for free. The man who denied spies an extra ‘rookie test’ cause it cost money. Didn’t he get carlos checa to ride around for free one year? The man who cries about money all day long yet he can afford to run a 2 bike MotoGP team and a 2 bike Moto2 team. He is a member of the rules committee that is pushing all these retarded ‘money saving’ rules lately.

    I’m surprised to see such a high number for RDP, though i’ll say he earns every penny. I haven’t seen the RDP to suzuki talk as pointed out in the chart… i hope it’s not true. That blue bike is a flaming pile death to any rider dumb enough to sit on it and RDP is about the only interesting thing happening in MotoGP these days.. sad but true.

    The rules committee needs a suicide booth.

  • uberninja

    Stoner = overpaid. I can crash bikes, be inconsistant, not finish races, and blame milk for my lack of results too. Occasionally, every now and then, I can be fast too… just like Casey. Where’s my check?

    • Doug D.

      Sure, but can you get your act together enough for one year and win a championship?

  • pdub

    Edwards, lackluster career? Man has two WSBK championships and made both Bayliss and Fogarty sweat for theirs. Yeah, not a shooting star in GP but even he said he went over there too late. I wouldn’t cry about his bank account either. Maybe this year in T3 that’s his salary but having been a factory rider in both WSBK and GP for a couple years I’m sure he has a healthy nest egg. At least he’s not riding for free. I wonder if the GPone article mentioned how some guys on the GP grid have had years where they basically rode without pay at all.

    • Trojanhorse

      Ummmm, pdub, please note that I said “lackluster GP career,” which is absolutely true. He could have walked on water in WSBK, but WSBK is not GP and that’s what we’re talking about him getting paid for here.

      Since Speez and CE are on the same team this year, doesn’t it make sense to look at how Speez is waxing him every race on the same bike?

  • pdub

    Also if ya wan to compare CE to Elbows pay wise it might be a case where Edwards is signed to Tech3 where Spies is signed directly to Yamaha. There might be something in that to make the numbers gap.

  • sburns2421

    I have a difficult time resolving how Kallio is worth more than Edwards. For that matter, IMo many of these guys are overpaid. Unless you are able to run in the top half of the pack, and top 5 when it really is your day, your compensation should be about what a good WSBK or AMA rider makes.

    Edwards is probably underpaid, I would imagine he could make more riding in WSBK because at least there he would be a championship contender. His name is very well-known and any team would get a lot of publicity, not to mention race success.

  • http://damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    I would love to see Colin in WSBK next year, as I missed seeing him the first time around.

    I think he’s a great rider and a fun guy to listen to, but what’s up with this year? All he does is say, “I couldn’t ride any harder, I did my best…” and come in 11th or 12th?!!! yikes.

  • MTGR

    Remember, a lot of these guys want their actual salary to appear quite low to avoid huge taxes. They make it up in bonuses and other endorement deals. Especially Rossi, who has been tagged for legal tax issues once already, which means his actual income is likely outrageous.

    Don’t feel too bad for Edwards, he mentioned on Wind Tunnel at the end of last year that he was happy to lock down 5th in the title chase because it dramatically increased his year-end ‘bonus’ from Yamaha over 4th place.

    Besides, I worked overtime at my full-time job to be able to pay to race and even the backmarkers here are making more than I would in 3 or more years at my job. And all to travel the world and race the coolest bikes on the planet. Not a bad gig. If only I had the talent, youth, experience, and commitment to do it …

    • sburns2421

      Last I checked bonuses and endorsements still count as income, at least in the US. Maybe they could structure the bonuses as an annuity that would pay them for the next 30 years after retiring from competition, but I doubt anyone does this.

      Some MotoGP riders and F1 drivers live in the Principality of Monaco (Doohan, Barichello, Coulthard, Capirossi, Barros, Bayliss before retirement) because there are no income taxes. Not sure if any Americans have done this, or are able to with our tax code.

      Rossi’s legal troubles in Italy was because he claimed he lived in the UK, but there was strong evidence he spent more time in Italy. Other high-earning Italian citizens have been nailed with this as well.

      • pdub

        It was said during pre race announcer chatter that Stoner also lives in Monaco at the moment. Don’t know if that’s Aussie taxes or just to be more central to most of the season dates and not have such a long commute.

  • http://www.nopermitrequired.blogspot.com s1102879

    I’d do it for free. I know, I know, the risk, the danger…yeah, yeah, just give me a chance. Please!

  • pdub

    You’re right. His GP career fits that description. His overall moto career is pretty awesome though, that’s all I meant. I don’t know about comparing apples to oranges as far as Tech3 riders’ compensation and performance go. Yeah Spies is doing things with the second string M1 AND learning the whole GP game at the same time. Edwards is on the same bike and is now an old hand at GP. He could complain about the bike if he were always 4th or 5th behind the factory aliens as he was last year but this year it seems it’s on him. As for pay I don’t know about deserving anything but the 4-8x more Ben is making this year might have more to do with who owns him right now. If I’m correct Spies is signed directly with Yamaha and his seat in T3 is an arrangement between the factory and satellite team where Colin’s boss is the notoriously frugal Herve Poncharal.

    • Trojanhorse

      Gotcha, I didn’t know Ben was being paid directly by Y but that makes sense. I can’t wait until he’s got the factory bike…next year is going to be EPIC.

  • uberninja

    Kinda off topic, but Mick Doohan once said something like “…to be a true champion, you have to win back to back championships. That proves you have beaten the competition, not just gotten lucky….” Stoner was lucky. Same with the other 8 guys in the past 33 years that won the premier class who weren’t named Rossi, Doohan, Rainey, Lawson, Spencer, and KR (these six riders won the other 25 contests). Motorcycle racing history favors a dominant rider, and is littered with one time champs. They’re still amazing riders, though, with more talent than I can ever realistically imagine.

  • Paul Yak

    You think these salaries are bad? Think about some of the Formula 1 drivers who DON’T get paid, they have to bring $10 Million to drive for a rubbish team.

    If they can’t bring a load of sponsor cash with them they can’t get a drive. Ayrton Senna’ father was a major player in the Brazilian business world, and also a big landowner. His father had to pay a team £10,000 so his son could get a seat in 1981. He did win, and this gave him the chance he needed.

    It goes to show that it sometimes takes more than just talent to drive/ride in the very expensive world of motor racing.

    On this basis, Colin Edwards is fairly well paid, or at least he doesn’t have to pay to ride.