Peter Clifford Interview Part 2 - "The Privateers Are At The Whim Of Politics"

We continue today with the second half of our interview with Peter Clifford, the manager of the former WCM team, who we asked to get his take on the new rules for MotoGP, which are scheduled to come into force in 2012. In yesterday's episode, Clifford expressed his opinion that privateer teams running production-based engines would find it impossible to be competitive without spending equivalent amounts to the factories. Today, Clifford talks about the problems presented by ever-shifting rule changes, the political risks of the new rules in MotoGP and Moto2, and how long Moto2 is going to remain an affordable class.

PC: The other thing is, we were talking about the Flammini reaction, and it is interesting that he's not saying "I'm going to take everybody to court," and all this sort of stuff. Of course, we still don't know what his contract with the FIM says, that's still secret. He may just feel that what he was relying on in the old days was the way the contract was read, not the words in it. And he had his people at the FIM who read the contract the "right" way, and went in to bat for him and took us off the grid and carried on like that. What he may be waiting for, of course, is another election at the FIM, make sure that he gets the right people in, and they will read the contract in the way that he would like it to be read and this idea would be kicked out, and maybe even the Moto2 rules as well.

MM: Right, and of course that's a huge risk, because if we get a new FIM president who interprets the contracts a different way to Vito Ippolito, because Ippolito has a Grand Prix background, and whenever I've spoken to him, he's said again and again, "what we need are the TZs, the production racers."

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Moto2 News - Abraham Fastest In Almeria, Aspar Still Undecided On Chassis

From Valencia, a number of the Moto2 teams made their way further south, for another couple of days testing at Almeria in Spain's far southeast corner. Pons, Viessmann Kiefer, Promoracing (now the Antonio Banderas Racing Team), and Cardion AB all made the trip south to take advantage of the climate in Europe's driest corner.

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De Angelis To Scot Moto2 Team, Elias Close To Moto2 Deal

Of the six (or seven, depending on how you count them) MotoGP riders to lose their places in the premier class after the 2009 season, Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias surely deserved it the least. Both men had a difficult early part of the season, left waiting for their Gresini Honda team to find the funds for the upgraded chassis for the team's Honda RC212Vs. Once they received the new parts both Elias and De Angelis made a big leap forward in performance, turning into regular front runners. By then, though it was too late, and the available seats in MotoGP had already filled up.

For a while, it looked like Alex de Angelis would stay in MotoGP, but the negotiations between the Scot Honda team and the government of the Republic of San Marino, the tiny city state foundered on the rock of money, the San Marino tourist board simply unable to stump up the necessary cash to run a full season of MotoGP.

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More On The MotoGP Rule Changes - 6 Engines For 2010, Ride-Throughs For Infractions, Tire Sensors Banned

Friday's meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in Geneva had been keenly awaited by fans and followers of MotoGP, primarily because of the expected announcement of the class' return to 1000cc from 2012 onwards. So naturally, after the press release was issued, almost all the press coverage focused on the details of the 1000cc proposal which had been accepted by the Commission, that from 2012 MotoGP bikes will be allowed a maximum capacity of 1000cc, a maximum of 4 cylinders, and a maximum bore of 81mm.

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New 2012 MotoGP Regulations - 4 Cylinders, 1000cc, Fixed Bore At 81mm

The Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rulemaking body, met today in Geneva to discuss a number of issues, clarifying a number of open points in the rule book concerning Moto2, as well as a few other minor points. But the point that MotoGP fans around the world had been waiting for most fervently was the new rules for MotoGP to take effect from 2012.

In the huge press release with regulation changes just issued by the FIM, the part covering MotoGP's new rule changes were incredibly brief- just four lines:

Basic concept for MotoGP

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Moto2 Valencia Test Day 2 - Aspar Tests The Kalex, Rolfo Strong Again

The Moto2 bikes concluded their second day of testing at Valencia on Thursday, but it will not be their last, as originally planned. A number of teams will be staying on at the Spanish track for one more day of testing, taking advantage of the excellent weather currently favoring Spain's Mediterranean coast.

The Aspar team continued to test the BQR bike, trying out Ohlins suspension on the bike in place of the Showa units Julian Simon tested yesterday. Towards the end of the day, the Aspar team borrowed the Pons team's Kalex machine, with both Simon and teammate Mike di Meglio running a short test to get a feel for the bike. Di Meglio had spent most of the day on a Yamaha World Supersport-spec bike, just to get used to riding a four stroke.

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Ant West Fastest On Day 1 Of Moto2 Test At Valencia

The first large-scale outing for the Moto2 teams started today at Valencia, with 5 teams, 6 bikes and 8 riders out on track. According to the times issued by the teams afterwards, Ant West was the fastest of the Moto2 riders, though this requires the first of a number of sizable pinches of salt. According to, West's MZ-badged Moto2 bike was just a Supersport CBR600 in disguise, and consequently an already sorted package.

From there, it all gets very difficult to judge, as the different bikes have engines in very different states of tune, varying from kitted standard engines to full Supersport, and producing anywhere between 115 and 140 hp depending on the level of tune. The real test will come when Honda starts supplying the standard engines to the teams in March next year.

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Aprilia Moto2 Teams Could Sue Over Withdrawal

Aprilia's withdrawal from the Moto2 class continues to cast a shadow over the series. As the teams assemble at Valencia for the combined Moto2 and World Superbike test, the teams which had originally planned to run the Aprilia Moto2 chassis will meet to discuss their reaction to the decision by the Noale firm. According to the leading Italian site, legal action is one of the courses of action that Aspar, Cardion AB, Speed Up Aprilia and Ajo Motorsport are considering, though some of the teams are a little hesitant, preferring not to jeopardize their relationship with Aprilia. Given the interest Aprilia has expressed in entering MotoGP again, potentially through a privateer effort, that reluctance is understandable.

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No Aprilia Moto2 Bike At Valencia, Project Close To Termination

Uncertainty continues over the fate of Aprilia's Moto2 project, after last week's sudden change of heart by senior management. Though still uncertain, the project does seem to be heading to its eventual demise, however.

What is certain is that Aprilia's Moto2 bikes will not be appearing at the tests scheduled to take place at Valencia on Wednesday and Thursday. Speaking to, Aprilia's chief engineer Gigi dall'Igna confirmed that the Noale firm's Moto2 machines would not be available in Spain. Dall'Igna was also somber about the prospects of the bike ever making it onto the track. "From there [not testing at Valencia] it is a very short step to the museum," Dall'Igna told

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Tech 3 Bike Completes Successful Second Day Of Testing

Yesterday's debut for the Tech 3 Moto2 bike saw success mixed with problems, and justified the decision to run a shakedown test at a track close to the team first. But the problems which arose made the team decide to run a second day of testing, to iron out the problems found on Tuesday. So Tech 3's Moto2 crew, led by engineer Guy Coulon, headed off to the circuit at Alès in the south of France to complete a second day of testing.

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