InFront Fires Warning Over Moto1

It was both expected and inevitable. After Carmelo Ezpeleta introduced a proposal to run prototype bikes powered by 1000cc production engines to the Grand Prix Commission meeting held at the Sachsenring last weekend, in an attempt to cut the astronomical costs in MotoGP, a response was sure to come from InFront Motor Sports, the body that owns the rights to World Superbikes.

It took just a week, but today, at the Brno round of World Superbikes, the Flammini brothers issued a statement to the effect that they would fight any such move with all the legal means at their disposal. The statement issued reads:


With reference to several declarations published recently by daily newspapers and weekly magazines, according to which the organizer of the Grand Prix World Championship is reported to be evaluating the possible participation of bikes equipped with production based 1000 cc engines in the MotoGP class, Infront Motor Sports wishes to make the following statement.

Infront Motor Sports does not consider a similar idea either to be realistic or feasible in view of the existing contracts between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports itself and in view of the specific characteristics of the World Superbike and MotoGP championships.

We believe therefore that such a project will not have any follow-up. Nevertheless, wherever future developments should render necessary any action of defense of the rights of Infront Motor Sports, as well as those of all the teams, manufacturers, riders, sponsors and media who have invested in the Superbike and Supersport World Championships, such action will be immediately set in motion at all levels.

The problem revolves around contracts between InFront, the organizers of World Superbikes, and the FIM, the sanctioning body. InFront believes it has a monopoly on racing production-based motorcycles, while Dorna, IRTA and the FIM want to reduce costs by using heavily modified production engines in prototype chassis. Their stance is that a prototype is anything that the manufacturers declare a prototype, whether based on a production model or not.

We spoke to Herve Poncharal, boss of IRTA, on Thursday, and asked him about just this problem. Poncharal was clear: The problem, if it exists, is between the FIM and InFront, and Poncharal expected the FIM to know what was within the bounds of its own contracts. "The FIM knows what it can support and what it can't support," Poncharal said.

The threat of action by InFront increases the likelihood of the MSMA's counterproposal being adopted, to supply just engines to the teams at a greatly reduced cost. A detailed proposal on that is expected at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the end of August.


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But Dorna and the FIM set the precedent and ruling over what is and isn't a prototype with the R1 derived WCM machine a few years ago.

Dorna, IRTA and the MSMA have created a series that has ALL its costs brutally exposed on a balance sheet and those numbers, in the middle of an economic crisis are difficult to explain to shareholders, especially when the majority of participants are unlikely to taste the champagne.

The constant rule changes are what causes the escalation in costs.

Dorna risks diluting its own brand as well as a pretty obvious attempt to scuttle the success of another motor racing series promoter.

Of course InFront complain. They reserve the right to race production equipment AND prototype equipment as long as it has been custom built and then "mass produced" by the manufacturers and aftermarket companies.

Prototype racing has always banned production parts b/c they didn't want major manufacturers to use economies of scale to wipe out the privateers. Since that rule has failed miserably, I think it's time to repeal it regardless of what the Flamini brothers say.

I love WSBK and I dislike the idea of Moto1, but I still think InFront are making fools of themselves. They have strayed so far from "production" motorcycle racing that you have to laugh anytime they open their mouths about the rules.

Hhahah...why don't the powers that be in MotoGP just finally adopt Dr. K's ideas for fixing MotoGP and get it overwith already!?

Neither of the proposals put out there by Dorna (Moto1) nor the MSMA ("cheap" 800cc engines for privateer teams) are really going to fix the problem. Sure, both will likely add a few more bikes to the grid. But also likely, both proposals will bring their own set of problems with them as well.