With the ink for the brand new Moto2 regulations still damp on the page (summarized here), proposals are already being made to start racing the bikes as soon as possible. According to Spanish sports daily AS.com, the Moto2 bikes could get their first outing alongside the Spanish CEV series in 2009.
Oscar Gallardo, the former Dakar racer who now runs the Spanish championship, told AS.com that the CEV could get a series up and running very quickly, if they had sufficient bikes. "We would need a minimum of 10 to 15 bikes to organize a championship, something we could do very quickly. The 2009 CEV is due to start on April 19th in Albacete, it would be feasible to organize a Moto2 championship with about two weeks' notice."
"We know that some teams have been preparing bikes for some time," Gallardo told AS.com, a fact confirmed to MotoGPMatters.com by Ronald ten Kate at Portimao. "We're just waiting for a set of rules to be announced," Ten Kate said back in November, confirming the Ten Kate team's interest in providing equipment to the class. Moriwaki have already showed a bike they had prepared in Japan, and rumors persist of Honda having a Moto2 bike ready to race.
The Spanish CEV series - technically it would probably be a "Cup", allowing riders in the other CEV classes to compete, something currently forbidden Spanish championship rules - would then be used as a proving ground for an early entry of the bikes into the 250 class. According to Motorcycle News, the 600cc Moto2 bikes could run alongside the 250cc two strokes as early as 2010. The decision to run the 600s together with the 250s will be taken based on whether or not the 600cc bikes can compete with the 250s.
That is indeed the million dollar question. In an analysis done by Dennis Noyes over on SpeedTV.com, the veteran motorcycle racing writer compares the current World Supersport times at Valencia and Jerez to times set by the 250s during the MotoGP round and the Spanish CEV Supersport and 1000cc Formula Extreme races. What is clear is that the 250s are 1-2 seconds faster than the Supersport 600s, but then the Supersport machines weigh in the region of 160kg, as opposed to the 135kg permitted for the Moto2 bikes.
Noyes' excellent article also covers the question which most threatens the series: Just exactly what constitutes a prototype. The rules clearly state that the major chassis components may not be taken from a production motorcycle, but nothing has been said about engines - one suspects, deliberately. And precisely this vagueness may end up causing Infront Motor Sports (as FG Sport, the organizing body behind World Superbikes is now known) to get involved.
Infront, by way of the Flammini brothers, have exclusive rights to "production-based motorcycle racing" from the FIM. And Infront has already been highly vocal about its intention to defend those rights. Complicating the matter is the fact that only the FIM and Infront actually know the exact wording of those rights.
Already, Paolo Ciabatti has started to set out Infront's stall, telling GPOne.com that the new Moto2 rules as they stand constitute "a gray area." But he made it clear that he didn't think that just using a production engine would necessarily violate Infront's contract. If a private team were to purchase a production engine, put it into a prototype chassis and turn it into a pure racing machine, that might not be such a problem for Infront. However, if the factories were to do the same - take an engine out of, say, a CBR600RR or R6 - and put it into a prototype frame, then Infront would tend to regard that as a production machine, and an infringement of their exclusive rights to production racing.
With the rules for Moto2 now published, things are starting to move very fast indeed, faster than many people expected. This story isn't going to go away in a hurry.