After months of speculation and controversy, the FB Corse Team finally unveiled their MotoGP machine and team at the offices of a radio station in Milan today. At the official launch, which had been delayed from the end of January, the team presented their FB01 three cylinder 800cc MotoGP bike, designed and built by Oral Engineering, as part of a project originally started for BMW several years ago.
After being dropped by the German manufacturer, development of the bike has continued on the test bench. But the FB01 is yet to turn a wheel on track. "We will continue to test on the dyno, and expect to take to the track towards the end of February," Mauro Forghieri, the bike's designer, told MotoCorse.com. The reason the bike had not been tested was because it was unclear how such testing would be viewed by Dorna and IRTA. The team is still not officially entered into MotoGP, though FB Corse say that this is just a formality. Once the team is entered with Garry McCoy as the official rider, McCoy would be subject to the same testing regulations as the rest of the field. The other teams and manufacturers would have to agree to allow FB Corse do private testing with McCoy before the Australian could safely take to the track.
When the FB01 was originally announced, it was expected it would use a hydraulically-operated semi-automatic gearbox, but Forghieri said at the presentation that they only ever intended to use a mechanical gearbox. "We have tried to simplify some of the components as much as possible," he said. "The bikes in this category are complicated enough already, we should not be making things worse for the team by giving them technical solutions which are highly advanced by extremely difficult to develop."
As reported previously, Garry McCoy is to be the official rider in the MotoGP category, while Simone Grotzkyj is to ride for the team in the Moto2 class aboard a Bimota HB4. As in the case of McCoy, it is not yet certain that Grotzkyz will actually race. The Italian is not on the official Moto2 entry list, nor is he listed as a reserve. Grotzkyj's hope will be that a number of teams will drop out before the season starts, which is an entirely credible prospect in the current economic climate.