Is MotoGP's Claiming Rule Teams A Doomed Concept?

The gap was huge: 6.342 separated Mika Kallio on the BMW-powered Suter 1000cc MotoGP machine from Casey Stoner on the 800cc Honda RC212V at the Mugello test on Monday, a difference that would have seen the Suter lapped by a large portion of the field had the bike raced on Sunday. And that was when measured against the factory 800s: Ducati have calculated that the increased capacity of their 2012 machine (the new rules for next season allow a capacity hike to 1000cc) will lap Mugello half a second quicker faster than their current 800cc bike. So does the deficit between the Suter BMW and the factory prototype 800s make the idea of CRT entries a dead duck, or is it a concept still worth pursuing?

On the face of it, things don't look good for the Claiming Rule Team machines. The concept behind the CRT rules is simple: allow teams to build bikes using engines from any source (including production machines) as long as they are housed in a prototype chassis and running gear. The hope is that WSBK engines - or even more heavily tuned than that, the rules imposing few restrictions on engine modification - housed in a Suter, FTR or Kalex chassis would provide a relatively competitive (meaning the ability to regularly score points) basis for a lot less money than leasing a factory prototype machine. Given that at most circuits that host both World Superbikes and MotoGP running the same layout, the WSBK machines are only a couple of seconds off the pace at most, making a CRT machine competitive should be an achievable objective without pouring millions into research and development.

Monday's test does not appear to support that thesis, however. With Kallio over six seconds behind Stoner, and perhaps four seconds off the required pace to compete for places 10 to 15, the whole concept of the CRT is being questioned. Teams running a CRT bike might be able to find another second in setup once they've got to grips with the bike, and a more competitive rider than Kallio (the Finn's fastest lap during the Moto2 race was a second slower than Stefan Bradl's who set the fastest lap of the race) might be worth another three quarters of a second. Another 6 months' development might also find another second or so, but that would still leave the CRT bikes well off the pace.

The question is, though, do the times set by Mika Kallio on the Suter BMW at Mugello reflect a weakness with the CRT concept, or just with the BMW-powered Suter Moto1 machine being tested by the Marc VDS Racing team? While there are legitimate questions to be asked of the CRT concept, there are also plenty of reasons to take a long, hard look at the Suter project itself. So if we break the bike down into its constituent parts, we can see where potential problems might lie, and therefore how much of the time difference is down to the specifics of the bike, and how much down to the underlying rule package.

First, to the chassis: On the basis of the Moto2 championship standings, there would appear to be little wrong with Eskil Suter's ability to design a racing motorcycle. Suter sits atop the manufacturer standings, 19 points ahead of Kalex. Marc Marquez holds 2nd place in the rider championship, and has taken 3 wins from the 8 races contested so far. With his acclimatization period behind him - the Spaniard crashed out of the first 3 races - he seems to be settling in and is extremely competitive on the Suter 2011 machine.

But Marquez' success hides a host of problems being experienced by the other teams in Moto2. Complaints of chatter, instability and a lack of rear grip are rife throughout the Moto2 paddock, with widespread complaints - off the record, naturally - of a lack of support from the Swiss Moto2 manufacturer. Eskil Suter himself is a regular visitor to Marquez' garage - unsurprising given the level of financial backing for the Spaniard, and Marquez' results - but several big-name riders have complained that he does not appear to have much time to spare to spend with them.

A glance at the other riders on the Suter is instructive in this instance. Britain's Great White Hope Scott Redding has struggled badly this season, performing well below expectations. Despite being on the same bike as last year, he has 7 points less than at the same stage in 2010, when he had 23 points against his current tally of 16 - and those 16 points were taken from just two races. Last season's title contender Thomas Luthi is much the same story. On the Moriwaki in 2010, Luthi had scored 94 points after 8 races, whereas now the Swiss rider has just 66. Andrea Iannone is in a similar position, having secured 64 points in 2011 where he had 90 in 2010, riding an FTR-based Speed Up. In comparison, Yuki Takahashi - who went from a Tech 3 machine to a Gresini Moriwaki - is 6 points up on last year, with 58 points against 52 points this year.

The Suter CRT chassis is based closely on Suter's Moto2 machine, as a quick glance at the chassis demonstrates, and this may be part of the problem. One person involved in Moto2 described the Suter as "a bike only one person can ride," implying that the machine was suited only to Marc Marquez. And looking at the results, it is hard to counter that accusation.

The problem with the Suter chassis is not unique to the Swiss chassis manufacturer, however. Though Suter is a sizable engineering company, they pale into comparison to an organization like HRC. Honda's racing department not only has more engineers available to throw at a particular problem, they also have access to much more computing power to throw at the finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics that are the main constituent parts of modern chassis and aerodynamics design, with the financial might of Honda providing the tools at their disposal.

Suter's capacity is limited by more than just the size of the company, however. With the MotoGP class expanding to allow CRT entries for 2012, and the replacement of the 125cc class with the 250cc four-stroke Moto3 class for next season, the workload at Suter has grown enormously. Not only do they have the Moto2 World Championship bikes to look after - and at 13 bikes, they are the largest supplier on the grid - they also have the bikes they supply to the Spanish CEV and Italian CIV championships. Then there's the Moto3 bike that Suter is working on, as well as the MotoGP machine being developed and tested in partnership with BMW and Marc VDS Racing. They have a very, very full program at Suter.

Nor are Suter unique in this aspect: Moto2 rivals FTR have a similarly packed program: Not only are they supplying 10 bikes to the Moto2 World Championship, but they also have a Moto3 bike in the works, as well as designing the chassis for the Kawasaki-powered BQR MotoGP machine for 2012. In addition to all this work, they are also working on Norton's V4 powered MotoGP bike, though it is still uncertain whether Norton will actually run in next year's MotoGP championship.

Of the current Moto2 manufacturers, Kalex seem to have the best approach. The German engineering firm have just 4 bikes on the grid, including one belonging to championship leader Stefan Bradl. Kalex are believed to be building a MotoGP machine for the Viessmann Kiefer team who are currently running Bradl in Moto2, and who have been accepted as a CRT entry. Though a much smaller company than either FTR or Suter, the workload of Kalex would appear to be much more manageable, though a number of Moto2 teams are talking to Kalex about using their bikes for next season.

Turning to the engine, the BMW motor should provide plenty of usable power. The S1000RR unit the Suter is based on is already close to the dimensions specified under the 2012 rules, which specify a maximum bore of 81mm (the BMW's bore is 80mm), leading some to speculate the rules were written with one eye on the BMW as a possible entry. The bike makes close to 200bhp in standard form - complete with catalytic converter and complying with very strict European emissions regulations - with the WSBK version making at least another 20+ bhp in race trim. Achieving the target output for a competitive MotoGP machine - for the 2012-spec 1000cc machines, probably something in the region of 250 bhp, with torque being a bigger target than outright horsepower, the 81mm bore limiting revs to around 16,500 rpm - should be well within the bounds of possibility for the S1000RR engine, given the wide freedom allowed within the regulations. All the engine has to do is last for two race outings, as CRT machines will have twice the engine allocation (12) of the factory prototypes. The people preparing the engine (in the case of the Suter, BMW) are free to do whatever they like to the motor, as long as it will last the distance. They can take slightly larger risks with reliability in the hunt for horsepower and torque.

Outright horsepower has not been the problem for the BMW in World Superbikes, the machine clearly among the fastest on the grid. Yet the bike still hasn't won a single race in WSBK, despite bagging a handful of podiums. And that shortcoming brings us to the weakness in the CRT rules, indeed in the MotoGP series, a situation that is magnified by the BMW.

Electronics. The word the fans love to hate, and the factories love to use. Electronics have become immensely important in MotoGP, though not perhaps in the way that many fans think they are. With a strict limit of 21 liters of fuel (the 21 litre limit is staying when the 1000s return from 2012), electronics strategies have become crucial to making a competitive MotoGP bike. The key here is conserving as much fuel as possible, to ensure you have power throughout the race.

Saving fuel and improving traction is done primarily in two places: in corner entry and on corner exit. Though the fans all complain about traction control on corner exit, the biggest gains - and the biggest revolution in MotoGP riding styles - has been on corner entry. Bikes now enter the corner still perfectly in line, the electronics working with slipper clutch systems to allow bikes to be pitched into corners fast and carry a lot of corner speed, 250-style. From mid-corner on, traction control systems take over, but they are dialed back as far as possible to save fuel. The rear can spin, but only a fraction, just enough to put pressure on the front and help turn the bike faster. The more successful a rider is at doing that with his wrist, the less electronics need to interfere, the less fuel there is wasted, and the better the drive coming out of the corner. Use a lot of traction control and you end up losing drive and acceleration; use very little, and if you have the throttle control, you get the maximum amount of traction and drive, while also conserving tires.

And electronics is where the BMW World Superbike project is falling down. The WSBK team uses custom electronics developed in-house, rather than the industry-standard Magneti Marelli systems, and this is widely felt to be one of the biggest problems for the Bavarian marque. The BMW WSBK machines have struggled with tire wear and tire conservation ever since entering the series, and given the complexity of the subject matter - the major teams using more conventional electronics systems have many terabytes of data on how tires wear at the various circuits over the course of a race and in different conditions - it is hardly surprising that BMW have not yet matched the systems produced by Magneti Marelli. They persist in developing their own systems, as it is their philosophy to understand and master all aspects of motorcycle development within the factory, despite finding themselves unable to match the performance of the other electronics packages. This insistence could even cost them dearly: rumors are starting to emerge that Leon Haslam is looking to leave the BMW factory team, with electronics a major part of his dissatisfaction.

This problem also affects the Suter BMW package directly, as the engine and electronics package for the MotoGP project is being developed by BMW, rather than Suter or Marc VDS Racing. So the problems BMW faces in WSBK are compounded in MotoGP, where they are up against the most highly-skilled motorcycle racing electronics engineers in the world. Add in the complication of the Bridgestone tires, which have completely different characteristics to the Pirellis being used in World Superbikes, and you can see how much work the BMW Suter project still has to do.

For the Bridgestone tires make electronics even more important, thanks to the fantastic grip they offer. The Bridgestones will provide comparable levels of grip and traction almost throughout the race, with the fastest lap of a race as likely to be set on the penultimate lap of a race as on lap 2. A well set-up electronics package will capitalize on all that grip, and provide extra traction throughout the race. The tires never degrade to the point where they are being completely overwhelmed by the engine, which is the point where the disadvantages of the electronics begin to outweigh the advantages. On a completely worn tire, you can program the bike to avoid wheelspin, but the engine will be cutting so much you will simply have no power. On a durable Bridgestone, the power can be modulated to provide drive all the way to the flag, with available horsepower being balanced against available fuel throughout the race.

To an extent, the extra fuel allowance (CRT bikes are allowed 24 instead of 21 liters of fuel for a race) is aimed at reducing the importance of electronics. After all, if the CRT machines can waste fuel smoothing corner entry and boosting acceleration once traction has been found, this should offset some of the millions of euros the factories spend to eke the final few tenths out of the meager fuel allowance using electronics.

Electronics remain necessary, however, but more than that, what is needed is the knowledge and expertise to get the most out of them. At Mugello, Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis pointed out that the Magneti Marelli Marvel 4 system - the system used by Yamaha and Ducati, and rumored to be used by Honda as well - was commercially available to anyone, and was not even all that expensive. What Jarvis was conveniently forgetting was that the package was not the problem, it was the expertise to get the best out of the package that was the expensive and difficult part. After all, I can buy a World Supersport-spec Honda CBR600RR from Ten Kate Racing, but that won't put me on the front of the grid in a WSS race.

Yet using a Marvel 4 system would give the Suter - and any CRT MotoGP project - a much greater chance of success. The number of engineers with experience of the system is vastly greater than the number who have successfully designed and built their own electronics packages. Harnessing the power of the existing user base would give any CRT project its best chance of success, providing several important shortcuts to performance.

But even here, the factories will always have the upper hand. As the poaching by Honda of two of Yamaha's top electronics people at the end of the 2009 demonstrates, the market value of engineers who can extract the most from the systems is rising astronomically. And as with any other key factor in a motorcycle racing performance package, the factories will always have the deepest pockets and get the best picks. The factories will always be able to afford the best riders, the best race crews and the best bike components, and the electronics engineers are just a part of that package. If a CRT bike gets close to the factory MotoGP bikes, the first thing the factories will do is offer the electronics guys a lot of money to come and work for them. No team running as a CRT in MotoGP will be able to match the offer or the allure of a full factory position and salary.

To illustrate just how important the role of the electronics engineers has become, I have spent the past two years trying to line up an interview with some of the people who write the software that controls the electronics packages. The aim of the interview is to find out what goes into building these systems, the parameters and options that the engineers have at their disposal, though obviously staying away from information that might offer a competitor an advantage. My attempts have so far met with failure, despite teams and press officers bending over backwards to help me in other respects. Mention the word "electronics" however, and press officers look at you as if you've just produced a couple of bottles of nerve gas and are doing a spot of juggling. To say that this is a sensitive subject is like saying that the US trade deficit is moderately large.

Given all of the above, does the 6.3 second gap - which would probably have been a 7 second gap if the Suter had been up against the factory 1000s - mean that the CRT project is doomed? There are reasons to suspect that a project with a different approach might not have been quite so far off the pace. If the Marc VDS team had been running an Aprilia RSV4 engine using a Magneti Marelli electronics package, for example, or a BMW engine using MoTeC electronics, the deficit may not have been so great. Though it is unlikely that a CRT machine would have challenged Casey Stoner and Marco Simoncelli for the top spot on the timesheets, a different bike with a faster, more experienced rider - current World Superbike rider Sylvain Guintoli tested the Pramac Ducati, and was also 5 seconds slower than Stoner, despite having been on the podium in WSBK this year - might have been much closer to the factory prototype machines.

What is clear is that the CRT bikes stand very little chance of actually challenging the factory prototypes. Under the current rules, the factories will always be able to outspend the Claiming Rule Teams, and will always have the best electronics engineers. As long as the electronics are not controlled (and for an excellent summary of the role of electronics in racing, see Dennis Noyes' three-part series on electronics on and Bridgestone continues to provide tires which will last an entire race without severe degradation, the CRT machines will be lucky to get into the points. Impose a standard ECU and tires that come up to temperature immediately then go off at two-thirds distance (much as they did during the early years of the 990s), and it might be a whole different ball game.

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If they can't ban TC, why not have nominate a single electronics package supplier to all teams to operate within certain parametres? Kind of like F1 with an arm of McLaren supplying all the ECUs.

Great job of breaking things down. I think another reason for the large gap on the time sheets is the actual performance of the tires on the CRT bike. The factory prototypes have been working with Bridgestone for a long time and have an obviously well refined package. The CRT chassis manufacturers haven't had a history at all. The grip and behavior of the tires on the Suter could explain several seconds a lap.

The CRT concept seems to be a strategy to get more bikes on the grid with new faces and money into the sport. Best case, I personally think it becomes a race within a race, not unlike the two class structure in BSB. Also, the actual ability to claim is problematic. In the 1990's the AMA had a claiming rule intended to level the field. It wasn't long before an enterprising privateer claimed Miggy's Superbike forks at Loudon. All hell broke loose at American Honda. Somehow the situation was mysteriously resolved, but I'm not sure that privateer ever saw another AMA grid. Designers don't like to give up their secrets.

This is the sort of thoughtful analysis that makes Motomatters indispensable.

The CRT concept is, unashamedly, a plan to fill out the grid. The organizers look back fondly on the days when the grids were much larger, but in those times a guy with a two year old RG500 and a van could go GP racing, at the back, for reasonable money. There are no bikes like that now, and funding a team that is just out to make up the numbers in the present economy looks like a very hard thing to do.

So there is little doubt that CRT teams are really up against it. Perhaps MotoGP's obsession with costs might bring about a regime where everybody runs production based engines, but again the sheer resources that the factories command, and their political clout means that an independent team will be watching the start from a distance.

I am a bit skeptical of the notion that more bikes on track is a blessing in and of itself. The riders carp about getting a clear lap now. What I like to see is hard racing at the sharp end, so I can see it on TV. I don't see that the CRT concept does much to move that forward.

Was it or was it not reported that the engine Suter used at this test was a stock unit?

Anyway, I think BMW is being a bit pig headed in their use of in-house electronics. They are hurting their results and getting embarrassed in WSBK by the satellite BMW team who doesn't use the in house kit. I don't see the point in entering MotoGP as a factory or engine supplier if they can't even win in WSBK. It's going to end up like F1 - They will run around for a couple of years and get tired of the lack of results and leave.

or maybe they will finally figure it out and give magnetti marelli a run for their money. some years ago i was messing with embedded systems and approached some folks about the feasibility of getting into MotoGP electronics but got very cold responses. marelli have a virtual monopoly and it would be nice to get some competition there.

I agree. I could have sworn that Johnathen Green and company were talking about how all BMW bikes on the grid were running BMW electronics.

if their factory team is getting beat by a privateer using their kit. Reading the article that was linked above about Haslam being upset with the Bimmer's performance it states that he has asked to have a go on Badovini. Does the Italia team just have better guys behind the curtain pulling the electronic strings?

Both Schumacher & Montoya won races in the BMW powered Williams'... It's was the rest of the car that BMW had problems with when they struck-out on their own.

It's a daunting task to create competitive electrics system from scratch, but I don't think it's impossible for BMW. Although it's interesting that the Magneti Marelli system works both in MotoGP & SBK, so regardless of the tire, getting enough raw data on all of the specific track wear characteristics and getting the right people will still be paramount for BMW when and if their hardware/software is up to snuff.

perhaps CRT teams could get their own podium and world championship standings and just provide obstacles for motogp and make the grid look big. you know, like mixed club racing classes or the BSB Evo class.

sigh... hopefully you are right and we haven't yet seen an actually competitive CRT bike (RSV4 based?) yet...

and clinically laid out.

Does this mean Marc VDS RAcing are leasing Beemer engines? Sounds like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. The most suitable engine for CRT's anchored with the least developed electronics platform. Shame.

You'd have to think that say Biaggi's Aprilia with black brakes and BS hoops would, after a bit of development & track time ,be far closer than this. To stand any hope of reasonable results teams have to run MM Marvel 4 kit.

Interesting to read your mention that Honda were also rumoured to be running with MM now David. That's a bit of a corporate climb down. Castrol Honda are also suffering in WSBK in my view primarily because they do not run MM.

I don't think anybody - least not the teams entering - expect CRT's to be much more than grid fillers that occasionally get in amongst the satellite bikes. All racing by definition is run first and foremost on passion. This - and the chance to compete at the highest level is why we shall see these fledgling teams racing next year. Give them time - again, 2013 at earliest - and we hopefully will see the odd eye brow raising result. Good luck.

Regarding your comment:

"I have spent the past two years trying to line up an interview with some of the people who write the software that controls the electronics packages.",

The person you want to talk to, (and incidentally might actually grant you an interview), is Ammar Bazzaz.

He was Mladin's data guy & crew chief for most of his AMA career until he struck out to form his own data tuning company, (aptly named Bazzaz Performance).

Whatever data/electronics questions you might have this is the guy you want (and realistically can) talk to.

Great article btw.

Now please for the love of God make a mobile friendly version of please!

Bazzaz may not be one of the WSBK/GP electronics superstars who knows the intricacies of the MM system, but he worked for Yosh Suzuki during the Mladin era which is as close as you can get, imo. The system Yosh created to beat the TC ban (wheel speed sensor ban) in 2004 was supposedly part of Suzuki's MotoGP traction control package for the GSV-R. The electronics package for the GSV-R was widely regarded as "the problem" with the Suzuki in the early days, but the system worked flawlessly for Yosh Suzuki in AMA SBK. It wasn't the reason they were winning, but it was good enough to psyche out the competition.

AB would probably give a decent interview and you might even be able to get him to answer questions about how/if Yosh wrote TC programs that worked without wheel speed sensors. You could ask him about the effects of banning wheel speed sensors if MotoGP tried to reduce electronic riding aids. You could ask him about the consequences of banning tire temperature sensors from a few years ago. Stuff like that.

Bazzaz would probably like the publicity for his business as well.

But I think Bazzaz is pretty far removed from the GP paddock. His early sensorless tc designs were based on precalculating a maximum possible acceleration in each gear and rpm band using simulations/testing and putting those into an ecu map and then starting power reduction whenever the crank acceleration exceeded those levels. It obviously was not as simple as that but it was relatively limited even compared to what is available as OEM these days.

Once GP bikes start using ABS they won't be able to ban wheelspeed sensors.


I would be pretty sure that Ammar Bazzaz, given the correct incentive, i.e. $$$, and a WELL ORGANIZED, professional team, could come up with a user friendly electronics package suitable for CRT/ Moto GP level competition.

If I recall correctly he was also chassis engineer for Mladin, so he has an understanding of the whole package , not just the electronics.

It's called the Magneti Marelli Marvel 4 and can be had for about $13k. The issue is that to program it correctly you need not only a top flight (top salary) programmer, but lots and lots of data (expensive testing) from the specific tracks you will be running at.

I am not talking down about Ammar, he did great work in the AMA and had a big hand in Mladin's wins, but the electronics/programming they are using in MotoGP are the best in the world. It is no simple task to do better or even the same, even with a mountain of cash. BMW is having a hard enough time getting their system to work in WSB in their 3rd year of racing. Their use in the Suter CRT and its performance at the test was not reassuring either. Just programming these things are difficult enough, let alone trying to design a new system!


Yes, this artical is certainly trying to extrapulate a bit too much from a single acorn.

The thoughts are still fun to read though :)

having various teams with Suter has maked the chassis factory to reconsider his options, it's obvious than Marc Marquez is good, his results in 125 talk for him and Suter want to him win constructor and rider representing suter but eskil suter cannot forgive the other iconic riders of the class. luthi, Superglue, Iannone. Redding, their teams are not satisfied with the situation, if this continues i'll be sure than Kalex will be beneficiated and will have more bikes on grid. because Suter is betting all of his bucks for Marquez.

I was curious to see if the Suter CRT bike would run the in-house BMW electronics. I understand BMW wanting to control all aspects of their race bike development, but mastering electronics is quite the task. Maybe they should have run another system, such as MM or MoTec, gained a couple of years of data, then applied what they learned to developing their own electronics package. Oh well, I guess hindsight is always 20/20.

To be making performance assumptions at this point. The Suter CRT is still in relative infancy, and has mucho miles of testing to do before we can fully gauge it's potential.

Just the electronics alone are going to make a huge difference, as stated by David.

How far off the pace will they be if another team employs the BMW engine and Suter chassis with proven electronics, a much better rider (sorry Kallio, but it's true) and a good base setup from a decent test outing?

If that BMW engine was about superstock spec (and many claim it was) then there could be some very valuable time there. That engine with basically no rules attached and tuned to the max could probably make close to 250HP on race day.

I remember an article stating that Ducati was doing a test of their GP bike at Mugello (i think?) and Aprilla was there with Biaggi as well. They stated that it really surprised them when they could not leave Biaggi behind down the front straight, as the RSV4 was accelerating just as hard and build speed just as fast as their GP bikes...

There are many other CRT bikes to evaluate before we can judge the whole concept accurately. Bikes with Aprilla, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and maybe even MV Agusta motors (would be sweeeet!!!) still have not hit the track.

I think the CRT bikes might start pissing a few people off by the end of next season. If all of a sudden they start working close to their optimum potential, then they would be a 95% version of a GP prototype but with more fuel and more engines.

The potential is there, just not found yet....

I think a lot of trouble exists with Stones. Even in F1 they count the number of passes a driver completed on 1 hand. When F1 went to pirellis the racing got better tires went off etc. Gp needs to get BS to make a softer tire that will reward rubber savers and punish those that overheat them.

TC- is fine in its raw form, ABS antiwheelie etc. What needs to be limited is the corner by corner GPS. ABS, Anti wheels and anti spin are on production bikes, they need to stay, also Tire sensors should be eliminated.

Spec tires are great it eliminates Saturday night specials, and preferential treatment, but put a tire out there that works for a broader group of riders in a wider set of circumstances.

I know tire sensors were banned, but when was GPS banned? Pretty sure they're still using that.

"At first glance, it appears that the Grand Prix Commission has finally done what so many fans have been clamouring for for so long: from 2011, GPS appears to have been banned. But the exact wording of the new rules is that the only GPS allowed to be fitted to the bikes is the unit provided by Dorna.

This is a long way from banning the GPS-based traction control that the fans had wanted. [...]

But the really bad news is that the fans grossly overestimate the effect that using GPS has on MotoGP electronics. [...]The banning of GPS will have a barely noticeable effect on how the machines behave."

GPS-based traction control allegedly banned for 2011 but the situation is not crystal clear. However what is clear is that it would not change much.

Mika Kallio on a brand new design??? C'mon, test with a Superbike rider, Kallio did well in 250's a couple years ago, but nothing since. And the CRT teams should get whatever fuel to start with, Dorna is starting them hobbled and a hand tied behind their back, 3 liters and some extra engines is a joke at this level! The 'factory' riders like Itoh are regularly 3-4 seconds off in a race and they've done hundreds, if not thousands, of laps at familiar tracks on developed machines.

Superb article. BMW has an uphill battle; they are barely scoring points in WSBK, how do they expect to compete in MotoGP? The top bikes, such as Yamaha or Aprilia, are in a better position to compete.

One additional point of interest (to me) is that the factory teams surely don't want too much competition from the CRTs. It's fine if they fill out the grid, but Yamaha/Honda/Ducati will have an aneurysm if BMW or Aprilia show up with a CRT engine and put themselves on the front row. So Dorna has to strike a delicate balance: make the field competitive, but not so much that the CRTs start taking podiums from the big dogs.

I suppose that if they do then the factory teams can exercise the claiming rule, but I'm not sure that's an option they are interested in. Per David's article above, I think it's unlikely in the extreme that a factory team will learn much by analyzing a CRT engine or electronics package. "They won because they had a bigger gas tank than we did" is hardly going to be of use to a factory team.

Excellent article, David. And this is probably a stupid question, but every time I try to explain the CRT situation to people, I fail at explaining what the 'claiming' actually means. What is being claimed? BMW/Aprilia's tuned engines? Suter's chassis?

But from my understanding is that at any time the CRT status can be removed and that team would have to abide by the 6 engine rule like the factories and satellite teams. So if the manufactures think a team is getting too much help from say Aprilia or BMW they can say it's a factory team and remove their status. But my question is what is too much? From my understanding originally there was to be no assistance allowed from factories to CRT teams. But now it seems Suter is getting help from BMW as this article states BMW are preparing the engine.

BMW doesn't compete as a factory in MotoGP, so there should be no problem.
As I understand it, the possibility to claim is to prevent factories from supplying their prototype engines to CRT teams.
If a factory had the suspicion that a CRT team was used by another factory to gain more fuel&engines, they could claim the engine and look if there is something interesting to find.
But maybe i just misunderstood.

It's actually a way for MSMA to prevent new manufacturers (like BMW or Aprilia) to enter a CRT bike while providing full factory support.
In this case they would be ruled factory and the same rules will apply to them than for Suzuki, 21 liters of fuel and 9 engines/season.
CRT is meant for real privateers and/or chassis makers, not bike manufacturers.

>>This problem also affects the Suter BMW package directly, as the engine and electronics package for the MotoGP project is being developed by BMW, rather than Suter or Marc VDS Racing.

This is a bit confusing. If BMW is developing the engine and electronics package for this MotoGP project then it is not a CRT but a new factory team.

I'm trying to be positive (because I want to be a CRT too!) as it is early stages of development but to have the same rider only slightly faster then on a bike with 90Hp less is very worrying.

I wonder what Mark VDS is expecting in terms of results. Nobody I know ever considered the CRT entries to be anything other than filler for the back of the grid and the CRT concept was only to lower the entry price for that privilege. Looking at F1s new teams it is apparent they are in a different class than the established teams. Expecting a CRT to do any better, especially in the first year, is a big ask.

Maybe the best they can expect is to run a hot rod engine with a simply programmed marvel 4 system, run a fast 5-10 laps in the top 10 then fade and maybe even pull in and change tires. If you only have a wick so long one way to use it is to burn it really bright for a little while. Ask any rock star. That will at least get them some notoriety and camera time and highlight just how influential the ECU is on tire management.


It is difficult to know the fate of CRT b/c the future is so unclear.

Suppose WSBK regulates compression and eliminates many of the airflow modifications to the cylinder head. Suppose they adopt a spec ECU. Besides reviving the entire SBK industry and production racing in general, what would happen to Aprilia, BMW, and Kawasaki? We know they have no interest in racing under the current 1000cc 81mm 21L formula, but they are interested in racing production machines under 24L with open electronics.

If WSBK returns to its roots, CRT might become the default location for the current WSBK development personnel. It seems like they would be classified immediately as factory teams, but only the engine can be claimed by the MSMA. If they run Supersport spec (basically all stock internals), I don't see how the MSMA could declare them as factory outfits. Meanwhile, those CRT teams (run essentially by the WSBK factory teams) would enjoy the benefits of unlimited electronics.

If everything remains as it is currently, CRT is doomed. However, I find it very unlikely that everything will remain the same. I think big changes are coming down the pipeline for WSBK.

Guys guys calm down...
Khallio riding on a 90BHP lesser machine and doing a faster lap than on the CRT specimen, only means were looking at Khallio's own limits on a poorly set up machine,with the BMW lighting utilities.... I don't think CRT's will be that pathetic, once they set up and gather enuff data, actually, all that brute BHP and torque can help them down at the race to that first corner and probably dice it up with the gothic kids for a little while, I rather wait till some more outings are done and we have more dots in the graph before calling it a failure.

You are totally correct IMO.

Not to even mention that Casey had three prior days on that track and months of riding that machine vs Kalio's first day on the track and first day on that machine (I think?).

Anyway, as you say - this really isn't a fair comparison. Like I say below, I can't wait to see what someone like Biaggi on a familiar bike will do.

Nobody will want to see Biaggi on one of these things...Sheesh

otherwise this will be drama on entirely different level. imagine Biaggi cruising around on Casey's flying lap. sweeeettt!!

Great article David - as usual.

I think the CRT will be a great asset to MotoGP. Of course they won't be able to compete with the factory teams (until they actually BECOME a factory team - which will happen) but they will be fun to watch compete with the satelite teams. They will also be a perfect step up from WSBK or Moto2 for potential new factory GP riders.

Wouldn't it be fantastic to see Biaggi on a CRT Aprilia. I'd love to see the look on Honda's top execs faces when/if he smokes their satelite team - or even on a rare ocassion, a factory Honda!

Bring on the CRT's!

Kallio said in his interview at that they had a lot of chatter with the Suter in every corner so they could not go fast on it at all. He said they managed to improve on it a little, but that the problem was still there, a lot. Apparently the Bridgestone tires behave very differently from the Dunlops, so they require a radically different chassis, stiffness wise, for instance.

,,any new bike with a fraction of development time of the established factories will be a lapper. If Ducati can't make a bike that belongs on the grid this year, what is BMW supposed to do?

The real "crime" from this grid-filling joke is that there will be countless great new riders who will get their winning reputations destroyed when they take the "motogp dream" bait. The first one who comes to mind is Iannone. He is one of the fastest newest natural talents there are and going to CRT.. What do you think will happen to his stock when he get lapped or fights for 13thplace every weekend, for 2 years.. It's always "what have you done for me lately".

Note to new riders who dream of winning championships championships: stay away from CRT. They aren't "ALLOWED" to win.

One last thought: If it was hard for Yamaha to secure a quality sponsor, what kind of company will pay for face time, and get no exposure on a habitual 14th place parade bike.


There are two routes to the top.

1: The Rolls Royce ride the three Latin Aliens had. Or Hayden and American Honda might.
2: The back of the van, show 'em what I've got, no alternative method of Stoner and innumerable antipodeans before him.

Given there's only a select few number off full fat factory seats available, the right CRT ride can be a good shop window to display a riders wares. What are the alternatives? Moto2? A lesser and easier machine to ride on all counts than what a CRT will be.

As always the cream will rise one way or another, and the lesser lights will fall by the wayside. This is the natural order of things.

Stoner was at least on a "satellite" bike that he got a pole and podium and another 3 or 4 4th place finishes in his rookie MotoGP year. Of the races he finished he never finished below 9th. The only time a CRT rider will see the podium is walking down pit lane or watching the podium ceremonies on the monitors in their pit and probably won't make the top 10 in the dry. Those "rag to riches" type stories of a guy on a crap bike pulling himself up by the boot strap to MotoGP champion doesn't really happen. The top guys in moto2 and/or WSBK who DESERVE to be in MotoGP will be drafted into satellite teams. I can't really point to a guy who actually deserve to be in MotoGP that didn't make it the last couple of years to a satellite team. I think the guys on CRT bikes will be the ones not quite good enough to really be in GPs in the first place or the ones who think they are ready but really aren't.

More that a rider will do whatever it takes to climb the greasy pole, and if he"s talented & dedicated enough he'll get there. Stoner paid his dues well before the LCR RCV211 ride.

Generally speaking you are right in that the pecking order of factory, satellite then CRT rides will stand. But you've got to think of riders plucked from relative obscurity - Hopper, Abe for example - who could just make a big enough impact to graduate. That won't likely be podiums, but strong rides and flashes of brilliance. I mean what do we have if not hope?

I'd give bootstrap credit, if any, to his parents for indulging their child and moving around the world to race in the UK. But after that, he's not much different than Pedrosa. Stoner rode for Puig in the Spanish championship and apart from a just fair year in 250s, he had good rides throughout his time in GPs and progressed at a rate not unlike Pedrosa or Lorenzo.

A little bit off-topic I admit.

After winning tons of Australian titles in dirt track and long track from 6 to 14, he moves to the UK where the minimum age for road racing competition is 14, instead of 16 in his native Australia.
Stoner wins the British 125cc Aprilia Championship in 2000 for his very first year of road racing.
2 wildcards in CEV attract Puig's attention, in 2001 he competes in both British and Spanish 125 championship and finishes runner up in both despite missing some races in England due to the overlap between races.

He enters Grand Prix racing at age 16 in 2002, straight into 250 in LCR team (teammate to David Checa, Carlo's brother, high profile team as you can see). Best finish of 5th, 3 times 6th, 6 times in the top10.

Then down to 125 for 2003, still with LCR, scores 1 pole and 4 podiums along with victory at the last race of the season. 8th in the championship, 13 points ahead of his vastly more experienced teammate, Luccio Cecchinello himself (who grabbed 1 win and 1 2nd place for his last season in competition).

Change of horizon in 2004 when he signs for KTM and brings the Austrian brand to their very first victory in GP! He also scores 6 podiums, finishing 5th in the rankings (his teammate Mika Kallio finishes 10th with 1 podium to his name).

In 2005 Stoner goes back to 250 after 2 seasons in 125, rejoining LCR, scoring 2 poles, 5 wins and 10 podiums finishing runner-up to Pedrosa. Best result ever for LCR.

For 2006, LCR decides to enter MotoGP for the first time in their history, putting all their trust in Casey who will not disappoint them, setting pole position in only his second race, battling for the win in his 3rd race where he'll finish 2nd. He reaches the top6 9 times on his privateer Honda, scoring a 8th place in the championship in his (and his team!) rookie year.

To this day 2nd in 250 and 8th in MotoGP are still the best result ever achieved by a LCR rider in these respective categories.

Then I guess you all know what happened from 2007.

Until 2011 Stoner actually never ran for a team who had previously won a world championship!
Stoner scored KTM very first win in the world of Grand Prix, then gave LCR their best ever result in 250, runner-up only beaten by Pedrosa but well ahead of Dovizioso, Aoyama and Lorenzo then went on to a tremendous start in MotoGP on a second tier bike (56% of top6 finishes) and finally brought Ducati their first and only world championship in Grand Prix.
To this day he is still the only Ducati rider to score more than 3 wins in a single season.

To say he has had the same "good star" taking care of him than Rossi, Pedrosa or Lorenzo who have been riding for the very best teams from the start is not exactly true, is it?
No big sponsor or teams with multiple world championships for him, merely outsiders waiting to bloom (KTM, Ducati) and hardcore privateer LCR team.

To say that he hadn't had similar support and opportunities wouldn't be exactly true would it?

Are you saying that the only reason he isn't a multiple time 125, 250 and motoGP champion is that he wasn't given the gift of a fixed series like the undeserving Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa?

I never said nor even implied that Pedrosa, Lorenzo or Rossi did not deserve their rides.
All I'm saying is that LCR Aprilia, Red Bull KTM, LCR Honda and Marlboro Ducati are no Telefonica Movistar Honda, Repsol Movistar Honda, Repsol Honda or Derbi Racing, Fortuna Aprilia, Fiat Yamaha or Nastro Azzurro Aprilia, Aprilia Grand Prix Racing, Nastro Azzurro Honda and Repsol Honda.

And I don't think this can even be controversial.

By the way all of the previous post are not colored glasses, merely facts.

Yes, my colored glasses make me think that Casey could have had a better record entering MotoGP if he had opportunities in high profile teams.
But it doesn't really matter, he worked his way up and won the ultimate title in road racing, this is what matters.

It also makes him the first rider in a long time to win the MotoGP world championship while having entered the category with a privateer team instead of being drafted in the best or second best factory team of the time.

It seems this formula will work for the bikes, but the problem is going to be finding riders with enough experience to be competitive.
If you spend enough money on the bike and hire the right people you can have competitive package, just like any form of motor racing. You have to find a rider who has experience in WSBK and Moto GP with the BS tires that can work on the development of the bike. That's a very short list to pick from.
6+ seconds off the pace isn't that bad. If they had been 2-2.5 seconds slower, right in with the satellite riders, then you would have bigger problems with the manufacturers knowing they could be beaten once the bike was dialed-in.

Unfortunately, I have to agree that the CRT idea is a hick idea, poorly thought out and (probably) even more poorly executed.

Two rulebooks within one championship is a disaster waiting to happen.

There are currently 17 riders on the grid. With 2 bikes each = 34 bikes. Why not race them ?

Another possibility is doing as what the german touringcar championship does (DTM): making last years factory cars available for private teams (vorjahreswagen). OK, those are never as fast as the current year ones, but with a stable rule book, you can be competitive.

All likely not as easy as it sounds I cannot deny that, but are the running costs of a MotoGP bike that high? (even with the 6 engine rule).

A large part of the cost of running a MotoGP bike is the engine cost (they would need another 6 motors for each bike) plus the running costs of the rider and the cast of thousands (pit crew) it seems these bikes need to get them to work properly. What you suggest would only reduce the budget by the cost of one chassis. Same with running last years factory bikes too (which is what the satellite teams used to do once I believe?).

Reading the interview with Kallio I'm a little surprised that it seems to be the first time Suter is testing with the Bridgestone tires!? Dorna should see to that every CRT gets, let's say 50 sets, of the tires they are using in MotoGP today. To build a chassie with out knowing what the tires is gonna be like seems very strange?

Another point is the frame, much was made of the fact that an Australian Spec Superbike lapped faster than the Suzuki at PI last year. That tells me there is also a few tricks in the production frame Suter is yet to learn.
Moto2 would not teach you anything about making a frame to harness a powerful engine.
Strange as when Suter/Eckl ran the Kawasaki MotoGP team it got it's best results.

"The rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated" is my view on the situation as it stands today. One bike, tested for the first time (I think) head to head with the current leaders of the field (that had been running for 4 days at that track), is hardy a reliable statistic for analysis. Especially if this was their first run on BS tyres (as mentioned above). Am I right in thinking when all the factory teams switched to BS they had to make relatively major changes to weight distribution (shifting it rearwards) to get them to work? If so have Suter made the necessary changes from their Dunlop shod Moto2 chassis?

As I understand it BS tyres are superior to Pirelli (in terms of outright grip), so if Biaggi was not too far from the GP bikes at Mugello, and an Australian spec superbike was quicker at PI (not sure what tyres that was on), then a production based engine in a well set up chassis can be competitive. Getting a prototype chassis that this engine is based in to perform reliably is not easy, as Ducati can attest, regardless of electronics.

Patience is a virtue, but the cost of testing and development is significant and my concern is that no one has deep enough pockets to do it properly.

I think the dev costs would be insane to be competitive at race #1. But if they can develop during the first season or two, using the race weekends, with race start money and sponsorship money, I think they can pull it off. It's a solution to the skyrocketing costs that left the grid at 16 bikes. It may look hapless for a while. But that's part of the equation if you don't want to break the bank.

Great article David. On the one hand there are many reasons to suggest that the Mugello test comparison is right now not based on a level playing field.
On the other hand,the blatantly obvious is that CRT will be uncompetitive next year. This is not optional 500 vs 990 circa 2002. Totally different game back then.
The factories have the best riders,the best bang for your buck in all areas. Evidenced as you pointed out by using Marquez/Suter as an example. (Chassis and Animal Farm...Factory vs customer chassis). Performance vs Cost.
I once asked an engine tuner to give me a little extra.
I had to love his response. Something along the lines of... 'The amount of money you have to burn will determine how fast you go'
I just watched the shuttle launch.
In a way it emphasised the point.
It just makes me respect even more those riders who carved their way to the top the hard way. There will be more to come via CRT or whatever.

It's true that the MarcVDS-Suter-BMW bike started on Michelins with steel brakes but it was only for their very first outing 8 months ago, I don't know why people keep repeating that.
The same goes for the "superstock-spec engine", true it was reported for their first test but since then they have moved on a great deal, as confirmed in previous articles, including on this website.

As for Kallio, he rode the Suter-BMW on Bridgestones at the same track just 2 weeks before Monday's test!

In September 2010, for its official presentation, the bike was allegedly weighing 145 kilos, 8 kilos under the minimum weight.

Official tests Marc VDS Racing - Suter - BMW:

24-25th November 2010, Jerez, over 100 laps, Damian Cudlin, Carmelo Morales
best time 1.44:30 (fastest lap Moto2 1'42.706, best Suter Moto2 1'43.288)
For this first outing, Ian Wheeler (Marc VDS press officer) said the engine was "roughly equivalent to a World Endurance spec engine", down on power compared to WSBK, yet there is less than 1 second at Magny Cours and roughly 2-3 seconds at Losail between both categories.

February 2011
They may have tested (as mentioned in the link below) but I can't find any details

3-4th May 2011, Estoril, Damian Cudlin, Carmelo Morales
no times communicated...
"The Suter MVDS MotoGP machine has undergone major changes since the first shakedown test at Jerez almost six months ago. The bike rolled out for testing at Estoril on Tuesday featured a more powerful version of the BMW S1000RR engine, a completely revised electronics package, carbon brakes and the latest specification Bridgestone MotoGP tyres."
The bike was allegedly using Bosch electronics.

15th June 2011, Mugello, Mika Kallio
best time not officially reported but smoked by Rossi's Ducati GP11, Battaini's GP12 and probably Hoffman's Aprilia RSV4 as well.

4th July 2011, Mugello, Mika Kallio
best time 1:53.668 (fastest lap Moto2 1'53.362, best Suter Moto2 1'53.515)

So far they've always been around 3-4s of MotoGP backmarkers or test riders, and yet to beat the Suter Moto2 best riders.

If you just look at the facts you'll see that the bike has changed a lot in the last 8 months but the gap didn't improve so far and this very lack of progress IS worrying.

By the way David, how come Ian Wheeler, PR person for the Marc VDS Racing team seems so not enthused about CRT while his team is intending to compete as one?
Isn't it hurting his role in the team to say stuff like that?

The whole CRT concept is a joke, and a very complicated one. For a start, it never made sense before that you were not allowed to use a stock-based engine or bike in MotoGP. Why would you forbid that? If someone had been able to take say a stock GSX-R1000 and tune the thing to winning speed, that would have been great skill and very much in the spirit of Grand Prix racing. But why exclude stock bikes, as if the poor factory prototype race bikes had to be protected against the stock bikes from the very same factories..? The stockers would not exactly have a technical advantage, would they? So that rule did not make any sense at all. There's a 107% qualifying time rule and as long as anybody can make that, let them run.

And now they do allow production engines to be used, but still not with a stock frame. Again, why not? Why make the rules more complicated than necessary? A stock chassis would most likely not be good enough and then you can still make a prototype one if you want. But you could make a flying start by starting out with a mostly stock bike, as long as you manage to qualify.

Even stranger is that up to now you were not allowed to use stock-based engines, and now that you can, you even get advantages like more fuel per race and more engines per season... Huh?

Furthermore, the whole claiming rule concept is ridiculous. They had it in America and abandoned it a long time ago. Apart from discouraging people to develop anything and ultimately discouraging them to run a team at all, it also poses problems like those described on this website some time ago, with the engine restriction rules creating possible situations of teams buying and selling each other's engines to get extra (replacement) engines allowed.

We need less rules and a clear formula that has prestige and rewards good engineering as much as good riding skills, because if it is just about the riders (which some people seem to see as the ideal situation), we'll end up with a single-bike rule and no factory will be interested. And it still would not be completely fair, because that single bike would suit a certain riding style and other riders would not be able to choose a bike that suited them.

I wonder where GP's stand in a few years from now...

in GPs because WSBK has an agreement with the FIM that WSBK will be the only world series were production (stock) bikes can be raced. So Dorna can't jut add stock bikes with stock frames to the grid even if they want it. A production based engine in a GP frame is not a production bike or a stock bike - that's how they skate around that verbiage.

Once upon a time, banning production equipment made sense b/c sanctioning bodies didn't want major manufacturers to use mass-production to crowd out smaller factories. In theory, if existing production parts were allowed, high-volume manufacturers may have developed a performance advantage and they could have built enough bikes to occupy the entire grid. Rapid prototyping technologies and proprietary performance technologies have basically rendered the ban on mass-produced parts ineffective and irrelevant, but the current ban on production parts in MotoGP is pursuant to commercial contracts designed to differentiate WSBK from MotoGP from the fans perspective. MotoGP is banned from using production machines (the definition of which is a bit unclear). Unfortunately for GP, they didn't not have a contract with the FIM that guaranteed than no prototype parts (i.e. not sold on the open market) would ever be allowed in WSBK.

I'm not really sure about the political forces that brought CRT to life, but I think it was a response to problems with the class structure. Dorna want more manufacturers in the game, but they have yet to create useful undercard classes that bring in more prototype manufacturers, particularly in Moto2. I suspect this is the doing of the MSMA. Without manufacturers in the undercard classes, Dorna are not capable of pressuring the current MSMA members to abandon the horrid 21L rule. Instead of undercard manufacturers, Dorna appear to have concocted the CRT concept to continue MotoGP in the event of MSMA withdrawal (we still don't know what Suzuki are doing) and to convince the MSMA that they can be thrown out and replaced temporarily with CRTs if they do not follow Dorna directives.

Is how damn good the production superbikes are that they are so close to the GP bikes in performance with steel brakes, extra weight, and all the constraints that high volume manufacturing impose.

It also shows how a performance motorcycle above all is a careful balance of opposing requirements. Production superbikes have managed to highly optimize that balance though years of development. Add carbon brakes and you decrease some weight and increase braking power but you also increase the loads imposed on the chassis and unbalance the equation. Add a lot more power and you're in the same situation.

The base problem is that the CRT groups are trying to design a better product than Honda, Aprilia, etc. using the same technology but without the decades of development and untold amounts of money spent. Its an uphill battle until someone goes out on a limb and does something different that works. Then watch everyone else scramble to catch up.

In the long run the CRT concept is guaranteed to work because Dorna has more grid positions than there are true GP bikes from the major manufacturers so the gap has to be filled somehow. I suspect about 50% of the CRT entries will churn year after year as they struggle with sponsorship and someone new steps up to give it a try. That leaves 3 teams that have the chance to build on results with continuous development.

David, have you given Peter Clifford another call to see if he had any more thoughts on the CRT concept as it is? He went even further than the CRT idea as he had intent to have the engine be all custom but not being able to run while still partially production based sunk him financially.


It was only one test. On a track that Stoner already just put on 3 days of riding. Give the CRT teams 3 days on the next test and see what happens.

Am think than is too soon to make a judgement about the overall perfomance of the CRT's machines, the whole concept and Suter Moto1 bike are still too young. since all the media are keeping their eyes on the upcoming liter bikes from the factories, maybe the CRT's can give to us an a surprise.

Just can not see these CRTs getting anywhere near the majority of prototypes next year. In fact i think if any of them get within 1 minute of the race winner in the dry he will be doing exceptionally well.
Sure Motogp needs more bikes on the grid than the present 17, but instead of going down the CRT road they should of persevered and made the prototypes cheaper to produce and run, by reducing their reliance on electronics and exotic materials and capping max rpm with a limiter.
Although Moto2 has full grids and some fantastic racing with their control Honda
600 engines, the class has very little technical interest for me, and i do not want
the premier class go in the same direction.
Next years Moto3 rules sound very interesting, with what i understand is a ruling
that any manufacturer who participates has to produce so many engines for sale
at a set maximum price. Will be interesting to see how this class pans out.

Touring car racing long ago accepted that the nature of the beast was entertaining rather than developing clever engineering. The sponsors all want a chance to get their cars seen, the fans want close racing. So they introduced ballast penalites as a reward for success to give the others all a chance and keep the tv viewers entertained and the sponsors happy.

My (limited) understanding is that the more lean the bikes are made to run, the more clever (expensive) the electronics need to be. Suzuki have been struggling for years and it looks like the factory are on the verge of following the green team out of GPs. Why not relax the fuel limits until they get a bit closer? Similarly, why not give the CRTs 'unlimited' fuel initially (there must be a point at which the weight of the juice at the start becomes a hindrance), but take a litre off their next start each time they score points? It would certainly be easier and cheaper for CRTs to buy more fuel than to find top drawer electronics guys.

The precedent for success penalties (or relaxing rules to support no hopers) has been set in the days of Dunlop tyres (not having to conform to tyre limits) and engine limits being relaxed for Suzuki.

And we've already got a set up where rookies aren't allowed straight to factory teams. Does that mean that a compulsory CRT > Sat > Factory route will be dicated for new talent?