Rookies-Only Test Approved For November

The reduction in testing has been a double-edged sword in MotoGP, allowing costs to be cut on the one hand, but punishing the six rookies due to enter the class for the 2010 season. With so many rookies coming, the factories - or at least one of them - have been keen to bend the rules to help the incomers adapt to MotoGP. The request for more testing for the rookies faced a lot of opposition, and up until this morning, it looked like it would be denied.

Once in the Grand Prix Commission, held at Valencia this afternoon, things swung the other way. At the request of Suzuki, the MSMA put the request to the Permanent Bureau (consisting of Dorna CEO and FIM president Vito Ippolito), bypassing the Grand Prix Commission, and the Permanent Bureau approved one extra test to be held at Estoril in the middle of November. This was a compromise proposal, as the MSMA had initially requested one extra test for the rookies, plus one day extra prior to the three official MotoGP tests to be held at Sepang and Qatar in February and March of 2010. The Permanent Bureau rejected the extra day of testing for the rookies at the three official tests, but allowed two days of testing at Estoril.

The Estoril test is likely to be a very quiet affair, though. So far, only Alvaro Bautista and Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki are certain to be present, although there is a very good chance that the new MotoGP team being run by Daniel Epp of the Caffe Latte team will be present with Hiroshi Aoyama. The other rookies could potentially be present, though given Herve Poncharal's opposition to the tests, the likelihood of Ben Spies  being present is very close to zero.

Opposition to the new tests remains, however, and not just among the team owners. When asked about the tests at the post-qualifying press conference, Casey Stoner voiced the opinion of all of the front rown, saying "I don't think it's right. I think a lot of people use the excuse that they haven't had enough time on the bike. I've had the situation that I had to miss the whole of preseason testing after surgery, and in the first race I still arrived in the sixth position. Dani's had injuries before and missed a lot of the preseason and still arrives good in the beginning."

Stoner felt that it wasn't necessary, because it wouldn't make very much difference. "You know, a bike's a bike," he said. "It's got two wheels and a handlebar. I think you need three or four days to get accustomed to it. Ben Spies has been a good example here this weekend. I don't think it's necessary to have that much testing and have more than us."

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