The news that MotoGP is set to change capacity and formula again for the third time in 10 years has caused as much concern as it has joy. Almost everyone concerned has welcomed the return to 1000cc, not least the riders, and many people also expressed the commonly-held opinion that the switch to 800cc was the worst thing to happen to the class. But many observers also pointed out that the change of formula, though aimed at cutting costs in the long term, meant yet more expenditure in the short term as the factories would be forced to develop a brand new engine once again.
That criticism is shared by the MSMA, the association representing the manufacturers in MotoGP. According to MCN's extremely well-informed MotoGP reporter Matthew Birt, the MSMA is pushing for the 800s to get a reprieve in 2012. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told Birt that 2012 regulations will allow two separate formulas to run side by side, as in the first year of the MotoGP four strokes in 2002. Having invested so heavily in their 800cc machines, the factories could continue to run the smaller capacity bikes against the 1000cc bikes, with the liter bikes restricted to a maximum bore of 81mm and four cylinders, as announced in Geneva at the end of last year.
Meetings of the Grand Prix Commission - MotoGP's rule-making body - were due to take place at Sepang this week to iron out the technical details of the new 1000cc MotoGP regulations for 2012. But according to MCN, those meetings also discussed allowing the 800s to remain, and a set of technical regulations aimed at achieving some kind of parity between the bore-limited 1000s and the unlimited 800s. Fuel allowances and weight limits were the main levellers, according to MCN.
With much of the paddock currently en route back to Europe, Japan, the US or Australia, more news on this development will be slow to come. But once the parties involved have returned home and are back in the office, updates are likely to come thick and fast.