The 2010 MotoGP season is set to be a bumper year for rookies, with a grand total of 6 newcomers entering the class. Hiroshi Aoyama, Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista, Aleix Espargaro and Marco Simoncelli are all moving up to MotoGP from the 250cc class, while Ben Spies is parachuting in from World Superbikes. The influx of new blood into the class - including some of the most eagerly-awaited names for a couple of years - should add an extra level of excitement to MotoGP, with the new riders rated very highly indeed.
But this influx of fresh talent also faces the biggest challenge ever to confront MotoGP rookies: The cost-cutting measures put in place at the beginning of the year including huge reductions in testing, cutting the number of test days by half. This leaves the 6 rookies entering the class facing a new season, on a new bike and new tires, with just 8 days of testing behind them.
To remedy this situation, the MSMA, the association of manufacturers, is lobbying the Grand Prix Commission to schedule a special test just for the rookies at Sepang in November. The idea is to allow the newcomers a couple of extra days on the bike to allow them to start the year on a slightly more equal footing with the regular riders.
Opinions among the teams are divided, according to GPOne.com. Suzuki is very keen to put in an extra session with their new signing Alvaro Bautista, but Herve Poncharal, head of the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team which will be fielding Ben Spies, objects to the tests on the grounds of costs, according to GPOne.com. The factories may have extra funds they can spend on the extra testing, but for private teams such as Poncharal's Tech 3 outfit, the situation is considerably more difficult. As Poncharal is also the head of IRTA, his voice carries some weight, both in the paddock and in the Grand Prix Commission.
The attempts to save money by limiting engine mileage were always going to cause problems. The unusually large influx of rookies into the class next season merely highlights the problem with limiting testing.