Another Moto2 Chassis Defection: Karel Abraham Switches From RSV To FTR

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the wealth of chassis choices in Moto2 is a double-edged sword. With so many frames to choose from, and the field so incredibly tight, teams are looking for the reasons why their riders are not performing as they had hoped and expected, and putting the failure to perform down to their choice of chassis.

The Mapfre Aspar team were the first team to team to make the jump. The Aspar team, fielding 125cc World Champion and former 125cc champ Mike di Meglio, decided to drop the Italian RSV chassis they had been using since the start of the year, and switch to the Swiss Suter chassis, currently favored by the bulk of the Moto2 paddock. The steel trellis RSV chassis - though stunningly beautiful and one of the few departures from the standard aluminium beam chassis being used elsewhere - has had problems with weight, and Aspar had complained that the pace of development was not meeting the team's demands.

Aspar's dropping of the RSV chassis left just one rider using the Italian frame: Karel Abraham of the Czech Cardion AB team. But like the Aspar riders, Abraham had also been struggling with the setup of the chassis, as well as with aerodynamics, and like the Aspar team, Cardion AB have also decided to drop the Italian manufacturer's chassis.

Unlike Aspar, Cardion AB have decided to use the FTR chassis instead of the Suter. The choice was made because of the outstanding results that Alex Debon of the Aeroport de Castello team has already scored using the chassis built by the Buckingham-based engineering firm. Another significant factor is the level of support from FTR: Although the FTR chassis is more expensive than the Suter - though it is still one of the cheaper options in the Moto2 paddock - the FTR chassis comes with a fuller support package, as well as development support and updates throughout the year.

With competition so fierce in the Moto2 class, and so many options for altering a team's chances, this is unlikely to be the last switch we see in the paddock. There are still plenty of talented riders struggling mid-pack.

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Besides Moto2, where do most of the manufacturers of these chassis do business? Besides design,and manufacture, the article also mentions support. All of that has to be very expensive , utilising some very bright people. So how do these companies survive?

The RSV chassis is not a steel trellis, it's an aluminum trellis of round, oval and rectangular section tubing, with machined sections welded in. I can't see it being that much heavier than the other frames, but maybe it's something other than weight (geometry, location of components) that's the issue. See here :

It looks like Moto2 teams can't afford to even have an inkling of doubt about their chassis, so I see a lot more switching going on in the future. Could we see essentially a spec bike at some point due to one chassis being slightly superior to the others?

Thanks for that. As I typed it, I doubted my facts. Thanks for putting me straight. It really was a stunning chassis, though, shame it's being dropped from the series. 

If they're not doing anything with them, and have a few spare lying around, I'll take one!
Since they announced the Moto2 formula, I've always thought that this would be the ultimate trackday bike. I can see the chassis makers putting out kits or packages where you swap out parts from your CBR and have essentially a Moto2 bike in a weekend. I think that once the newness and rush to meet the team's needs is over then we'll see some of these coming to market.

I have to believe that the teething issues of the chassis is too early. Sponsorship pressure for results or press I guess cant. How can it be 25+ heavier then the other? Thats nuts...

The frame weight by itself cannot be more that 10-12 kgs, and probably less than that even, so the weight difference from the frame can not be more than 1 or 2 kgs. I think it's an excuse to switch, basically, for other reasons. The teams are using identical or almost identical :

And the only major varying factors are :
Aerodynamics (fairings, seat sections etc)

Therefore, with the racing being as close as it has been, teams must eliminate any potential real or imagined shortfall. They simply could not continue on and maintain the confidence of their sponsors and riders without being seen to be doing everything possible to win. I think some of these moves are more political than for any real shortcomings, but then the RSV for example could be a real dog, who knows? I'm looking forward to one of those end of season tests where a few fast journos compare the various Moto2 bikes and reveal which ones really are better.

I had a feeling Karel Abraham's team would consider a change from RSV as well once the Aspar Mapfre team switched to Suter. But yikes, I didn't expect it this soon...