FIM Accepting Entries For 2012 MotoGP Class - Entry Deadline Is Estoril Round

With all of the media interest that Valentino Rossi's switch to Ducati has generated, the biggest change to the MotoGP series since the introduction of the four-strokes in 2002 is going largely unnoticed. The switch back to 1000cc machines is proceeding quietly apace, however, with the factories working towards rolling out their 2012 MotoGP bikes over the next few weeks - Ducati is due to test their 2012 bike at Jerez some time this week - prior to the first official outing for the machines at Mugello on July 4th, the day after the Italian Grand Prix.

But factories building new versions of their MotoGP bikes hardly counts as revolutionary. The real revolution comes with the introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams, who will be allowed extra fuel, extra engines and be allowed to base those engines around motors taken from production machinery. (For more details on both the rules and the politics, see the first two parts of our ongoing series on the 2012 rules here: part 1, the rules, and part 2, WSBK vs MotoGP).

That project is picking up pace, as today, the FIM announced they will start accepting entries for the 2012 MotoGP season starting today. Application for the series is a three-stage process, starting with a statement of interest, which needs to be submitted to IRTA by Friday, April 29th, the first day of the Estoril Grand Prix. Those teams will then receive a prospectus containing detailed information on competing in the MotoGP class. Teams will then be required to submit a formal entry by Friday, May 13th, the first day of the Le Mans Grand Prix. Applications will be reviewed by the FIM, IRTA and Dorna, and the teams whose entries have been accepted will be informed and have to lodge a security deposit by Friday, June 3rd, after which an official entry list will be published.

If the process sounds vaguely familiar, that is because it is. This is almost identical to the procedure used for entry to the Moto2 class for the first time at the end of 2009. That process was stunningly successful: the initial list of Moto2 applications contained 47 teams and 91 riders, and the Moto2 class has had around 40 entries at every race in both 2010 and 2011.

Given the much higher costs involved in MotoGP participation (though still much lower than running as a satellite team), the chances of their being 40+ teams making an application is as good as zero, but there is every reason to believe that the class will be fairly well-populated. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has consistently spoken of a target of 24 bikes on the MotoGP grid, and given the level of interest, that seems a feasible target. Norton is known to be interested in participating in MotoGP, and BMW have also made no secret of their interest in the class, though their participation will be limited at first to that of an engine supplier, Suter using the S1000RR powerplant as the basis for their MotoGP bike. Other chassis manufacturers remain cagey on participation, but it is widely believed that both FTR and Kalex will be building chassis for CRT bikes, and Moriwaki are likely not to be far behind.

The most interesting part of the entire press release, however, are the parties involved. The statement says that the FIM (sanctioning body), IRTA (teams' association) and Dorna (commercial rights holder) have agreed the process, and all entries will be accepted through IRTA. The MSMA - the manufacturers' association - has been completely sidelined in this process, and the factories will play no part in either the selection or organization of the class. After having been in the driving seat for so long, the balance of power in MotoGP appears to be shifting away from the factories. 2012 could be a very interesting year in MotoGP indeed.

Here is the official press release from the FIM:

MotoGP Class Applications for 2012 season

Following changes to the regulations for the MotoGP class there has been considerable interest expressed by teams wishing to participate in 2012 and beyond.

FIM, Dorna and IRTA have agreed the following timetable for selection of teams for 2012.

By Friday 29 April 2011 (the first day of the Estoril round, Portugal) teams must register their interest in order to receive further information. Teams considered to be eligible for the class will then be sent a prospectus providing the further information and the conditions of participation.

By Friday, 13 May 2011 (the first day of the Le Mans round, France) teams who still wish to participate must submit a formal application which needs to be supported by detailed information requested in the prospectus.

Applications will be reviewed at Le Mans and teams will be notified of an acceptance, a rejection or pending status. A provisional list of teams will then be published.

By Friday, 3 June 2011 (the first day of the Catalunya round, Spain) accepted teams will be required to lodge a security deposit with IRTA. A final list of accepted teams will then be published.

Teams interested in applying for a MotoGP entry must contact IRTA:

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Sorry might be a silly question but do CRT teams need the permisson of the engine manufacturer to use their engines? Such as a team wanting to use an aprilla engine?

It's actually quite a good question! As far as I know, there is no requirement to get the permission of engine manufacturers. However, the Grand Prix Commission will examine every entry to see if it is really a factory bike, and if they think there is a factory connection (or rather, an unreasonably strong connection) then they may exclude those entries.

This selection process doesn't involve any rule changes so leave them on the sideline. We have seen in the past when the MSMA is involved, they do what's best for the them and not for the sport or the show.

would not be happy if a CRT used their RSV4 powerplant. Their concern of course being their reputation being at the mercy of a team outside of their control.

I still can't understand why they don't institute a cap. This would bring more teams in faster than anything else. Why would anyone race against the factory teams that have relatively unlimited spending? It is certain they will lose under the current rule structure and what team races to lose? Would you rather sell something that is automatically competitive and of completely known cost to a sponsor or a guaranteed loser of unknown cost like now? The way it is now money flows into very few purses just ask Yamaha.

As much as I agree this would level the playing field, it would be almost (if not entirely) impossible to implement and regulate.

Even if the 'capped' costs were limited only to bike design, production and maintenance, (ignoring RIDER salaries, marketing and transport costs) how would you monitor what was being spent where?

And how to you ascribe a value to R&D?

I respectfully disagree. I think it would be easier than how they are trying to control things now and more effective because it directly attaches straightforward limits. All the existing and future rules are just an indirect way of doing the same thing. Get to the heart of the matter. Directly control team expense (and cost to the sponsor) and you'll be turning away teams because the grid is full.

I've worked in R&D for 10 years and costs are controlled to the penny. No big deal. It's called project management. Normal everyday stuff. You buy stuff with numbered invoices and receive stuff with numbered packing slips and pay for stuff with numbered cheques. And the stuff is numbered. It's all tracked. Pay cheques...where is the mystery?

I think the underlying fear is that teams will hide costs and not report accurately and I'm not a fool I expect they will try. If you discover and prove the offence kick the team/factory whatever out for 5 years and their championships are stripped. Big 6 figure fine. That ought to do it. And don't forget the teams will police each other.

There are capped teams in the sports industry everywhere on the planet it's nothing new and they seem to be able to do it. What we have now is the alternative. Not so great if you ask me.

Technical sophistication is the problem, imo. Cost is not that big a deal. Suzuki only spend a small fraction of what Honda invest, yet they are relatively competitive in the grand scheme of things. Though Suzuki have the pace to qualify and run in the midpack, you probably remember that they had trouble developing an 800cc engine that could last 3 races.

The technological complications are even more daunting for companies who've not competed in MotoGP. The switch to 1000cc is helpful b/c it will chop about 4000rpm off the top end, but they will still need very advanced fuel injection systems, rider aids, and pneumatic valves if they want to be competitive as a factory team.

You could set the budget at $10M, but if the teams lack the technology and the connections to racing technology companies, they won't bother. BMW have pneumatic valve technology, and they have partnerships with Bosch who've been making world-class fuel-efficiency electronics since the Group C days. In my opinion, BMW are the only company who can compete in the 21L formula. Norton might be able to pull some strings with the F1 club in Britain, but I'm not sure that will be sufficient.

What about using an Aprilia motor with the gear driven cam that they used last year and is
now outlawed in World Superbikes? This would seem to be the best way to get a high
performance engine that is not even considered 'production' by World Superbikes. Maybe they
don't need the fancy pneumatic valves? :-)

So would a Ducati desmo RR be a prototype or a production engine?

Could you support a "privateer team" with full factory parts the way Ducati are doing in WSB now, but without anybody finding out?

Well, then that's Rossi's answer to the fuel limit slowing him down.

@david: Have you registered your team to get the prospectus yet? :)

... has an 86mm bore, so it would have to be sleeved and stroked to be eligible. There are better options than the Desmo RR.

Could Norton with financial help of course build a production race bike using their rotary engine and sell it to race teams? Back in the 60s and 70s a team could purchase a customer class Norton Manx or Yamaha TZ...

A rotary engine is a 4 stroke.... but spinning a crankcase around a stationary crank in a motorcycle chassis had problems in the past.

A Wankel engine is also a 4 stroke.

On a more serious note both the current & 2012 rules are so restrictive for engine design as to reduce the overall appeal of the class. I remember one of the main reasons for the MMSA (read Honda) pushing the original move to 990cc 4 strokes was that the 500cc 2 strokes lacked engineering diversity. What happend to that logic? Ditched for expediency? The original 990 rules gave us the Aprilia Cube, Honda V5, Suzuki Narrow angle V4, Ducati 90deg V4, Yamaha reverse crank IL4. What will surprise us this time... that all the tech interest turns to the Moto3 class?

You are correct, a Wankel or rotary engine is a four-stroke engine. However, the rules specify that "the normal section of each cylinder and piston in plan view must be circular," which rules Wankels out.

And engineering diversity has been ditched for the practical aspects of cost. Engineering diversity is great, but it's expensive, and eventually, everyone just copies each other anyway. We now have basically four V4s on the grid, with the Yamaha operating as a V4 housed in an I4 package. The only difference is packaging, the angle of the V and firing order. The same thing happened to the two-strokes; given enough time, everyone gravitates to the same solution. Rightly or wrongly.

Well... rotary engines have circular pistons in plan view even if Wankels do not.

And is it really cheaper to mandate 4 cylinders & a max bore size (with the factories spending large to gain advantage in detail design) than to simply restrict capacity & piston speed. I guess I am alone in wondering what the Aprilia Cube would be like with up to date electronics... or maybe not. Honda may well have computer modelled a 990cc triple, found it posed a real threat to their beloved V4 and even more importantly being a format linked with other companies road product killed it off on commercial grounds... nothing like a conspiriacy theory near midnight

I wish someone would give us a straight answer about CRT. I'm not even so much concerned with it's legality, I just want to know what they are trying to accomplish.

Is CRT what the FIM had in mind when they said GP needs "race-only production bikes" for GP competition? or is CRT just part of a complicated contingency plan that will allow MotoGP to continue if a few MSMA members withdraw?

The end game is for Dorna to get control of the rulebook I'm sure, and Dorna definitely have to raise profitability. I really want to know how CRT fits into the mess. The original vision was ostensibly to have 6-7 manufacturers who would all provide 4 bikes. Is there some reason why this plan needs to be supplemented with CRT?

I guess what I really want to know is why Dorna can't buy manufacturer allegiance with the new commercial contracts, rush through a vote on 24L, and then let the applications come rolling in. Are Dorna really so impotent that they can't get a horsepower cap at 1000cc during these lean times?

Is this the same BMW who in their third year of WSBK have in essence (if Haslam is to be believed) rebuilt their electronic platform from the ground up once more, and still don't have it anywhere near as refined as Aprilia or Yamaha? That doesn't bode well for any future factory GP effort, or even CRT for that matter.

An 80mm screamer engine has special needs. Aprilia and Yamaha both run big bang configuration in WSBK (same with Ducati), and everyone uses big bang (or at least uneven) firing orders in MotoGP.

When they talk about prototype engines in WSBK, they are talking about the BMW b/c it exceeds the 1.5:1 (78mm @ 1000cc) bore-stroke limitation that 4-cylinder manufacturers have observed since the beginning. BMW are developing an electronic system from scratch, and they are trying to tame the most potent engine in the WSBK paddock. It isn't an easy task.

Furthermore, BMW are designing and redesigning the electronics frantically b/c electronics and chassis development are basically the entire WSBK game. If we saw the true pace of the S1000RR, we'd be talking about BMW's dynasty not their inability to perfect traction control. Eskil Suter picked the S1000RR engine for a reason.

We are seeing the S1000RR's true pace. Its not like they are dominating the top speed charts but suffering on the corners. They can do a few fast laps but the bike just has a hard time making tires and riders last the entire race. They are not the first to be in this position but let's let them get a couple more podiums and maybe even a win before talking about dynasties! Suter said he chose the beemer engine because it was very similar in size and mounting to the cbr600, requiring minimal redesign of the moto2 frame.

I think the Aprilia engine would make a great basis for a motogp bike but that's like having 2 strikes against you as far as Dorna is concerned, even if you got the engine from a used ebay streetbike!


Given the difference in fuel limits between a factory team and a CRT effort (21L/ 24L), the Factory teams if they choose to run a 1000cc bike in 2012 appear to be at a serious disadvantage.

As it is currently, there are problems with fuel limits and the current bikes and the rider weight (Simoncelli etc) which has prompted calls to review the current minimum bike weight/rider combination.

Given this, will the "Factory" teams running 1000cc be allowed to run Direct Injection fuel systems? I remember reading somewhere (here?) that the fuel pressure has been limited and DI banned.

David, is this the case?

My understanding of the term "Engine" under the rules does NOT include the fuel delivery system, however, what if a CRT team sources and engine that has DI as standard? Will there be a distinction for each team type in relation for fuel delivery?

DI is itself not banned, but fuel pressure is limited (to 10 bar, if I recall correctly), which makes DI impossible to use. The fuel pressure limit was introduced at the behest of the factories themselves, who didn't want to get into a DI cost war - though plenty of people dispute the using DI would cost extra.

As for fuel systems and engines, the CRT rules need to be looked at from a different perspective. It is not so that CRT bikes must have a production engine, or that the engine must in any way conform to the engine as originally produced. The rules state that the Grand Prix Commission will decide whether an entry is a factory entry or a CRT entry. In theory, a team could build their own chassis, and lease an RC213V engine from Honda, and enter it as a CRT team (but only in theory, as Honda would never agree to leasing the engines), and if the GP Commission decided that Honda was not behind the effort, then they would be allowed the extra engines and extra fuel under the CRT regs. (In other words, the Team KR KR211V and the Moriwaki MD211VF would both be regarded as CRT bikes under the rules now. Apart from the engine being illegal in 2012 because it has 5 cylinders, that is).

However, if a team turned up with Gigi dall'Igna at its head and with Max Biaggi as the rider, and they were entering a bike based around the Aprilia RSV4, the GP Commission would immediately classify them as a factory entry, and they would have to follow the same rules as the Yamahas, Hondas and Ducatis. This would be true even if they turned up with a bog standard Aprilia RSV4, which still had the lights and mirrors on.

Basically, the MotoGP technical inspectors do not care what is inside an engine, or its provenance. What they care about is that it has a maximum of 4 cylinders, a maximum bore of 81mm, and that it complies with the other technical limitations. The GP Commission cares only who is behind the team and its intention.

I can't see Ilmor or Cosworth producing a brand new engine for such a small market. The economics don't stand up. As far as competing with the big boys, I was at Phillip island in 2003? (or was it 2005?) & the WCM was slow, painfully slow. Like the back half of the Moto2 field, they're just wasting their time. I don't mean to sound harsh but 6 seconds off pole at Jerez is hardly a good advertisement for a control motor class.
Now I shouldn't pan an idea without offering an alternative so I will repeat what I have said in the past. The 3 classes should remain prototype but use multiples of the same cylinder, ie 800 4cyl, 400 twin, 200 single. As stated elsewhere the small motorcycle manufacturers want & need a high technology 4-stroke to replace 2-strokes & therefore your KTM's, Aprillia's etc can enter the 200cc/400cc class with a bike/engine that is relevant to their market while the big manufacturers can enter in all 3 classes and spread the cost of manufacture over the 3 classes & we could have a return to "the good old days" with full grids in all classes.

Speaking of newcomers - I am looking forward to seeing some of the recent "converts" to joining the MotoGP grid in 2012 ; )

No.5isalive - I can't agree, setting a specific cylinder min/max for MotoGP is not in keeping with the spirit of a prototype series. Yes they are all 4 cylinder motors at this time but it was magic when we had three and two cylinder motors competing in the premier class, even if they didn't set the world on fire.

But I do admit that there is some merit in the cost-cutting aspects of your suggestion.

Thanks Phantom, it was either come here or throw my laptop out the window, what a wasteland of tedium crash is. I see some of the more intelligent commentors have escaped to here. (Myself not included by the way) ;-)

I just look to the 2-stroke era 500/4, 250/2, 125/1 and the same situation applies now. Make more bikes, spread the cost, expand your market.

Am I the only person who dislikes Moto2. I don't like the rules & I don't like the racing. It looks like 250 proddie racing at the club level. 40 bikes start, 30 bikes come out of turn 1, someone clears off into the distance & the rest squabble among themselves. It is not my idea of world championship motorcycling.

No.5isalive, i agree with what your saying re moto2. The rules would be right at home in a domestic series but not at a Grand Prix level. The new 1000cc rules are confusing,motogp will be a possibly 3 tier series next year. Factory prototype 21L fuel 6 engines per year vs Production based engine/protoype chassis 24L fuel 12 engines per year vs teams possibly running 800cc prototypes. As far as a CRT bikes are concerned how are engines manufactures going like there bikes finishing mid pack? How do police what is a factory effort? No matter what chassis they use Suter, Moriwaki etc people are going to recognize the bike by what engine its using so finishing mid pack or at the bottom of grid has got to be bad advertising.

It's pointless for someone like myself to tell MotoGP what they should be doing but what I do know is that change costs money, big money.

When Formula 1 wanted to downsize the engine capacity a few years ago they knew/were told/worked out that the most expensive part of making a new engine is the design & development of a different sized cylinder. So they reduced the number of cylinders but the individual cylinder did not change (3 ltr V10 to 2.4ltr V8).

MotoGP have tried to reduce engine costs by implementing the 6 engine rule but the teams only have to nominate 2 engines at a time so development carries on & I can't see how that is saving money. If the teams had to front up at race 1 with their 6 engines for the year that would save money but instead it is still he who spends the most wins.

I think people are missing the point of CRT (or is it me?).

I thought that CRT stood for Claiming Rule Team, and as such these teams were under an contractual obligation to sell their bike at a fixed cost at the end of a race if another team/rider made a bid for it and came up with the requesit amount of money, similar to the old AMA rules back in the early 70's.
As such it is a way of fixing costs for the smaller teams as nobody in their right mind will build a $10 million bike and then be forced to sell it for $2 million at the end of the race (except famously BSA of course).
So maybe the way to bring costs down therefore is to make EVERY team a CRT, including factory teams. Some of the big boys maybe able to build expensive bikes and sell them at a loss for a while, but not for long.
It would also be an opportunity to release some ex factory bikes onto the grid for 'privateers' to run reasonably competitively (although as BSA found out it was relatively easy to get around this by simply paying off the prospective buyer with something less than he originally bought).
Another way to bolster grids would be to run privateer teams supplied (at cost of course) with last years factory/semi factory bikes. Not as now where Tech3/Gresini etc just get lower spec versions of this years machine, but the actual bikes used in the previous season. These tend to sit in factory museums or in riders houses now, so could be used to good effect to bolster sagging grids. This of course would require the FIM/DORNA/etc to keep the rules the same for more than two years though, which may prove the biggest stumbling block!

The point of the CRT teams is to make racing cheaper. The obligation to sell the engine is one of the methods the rulemakers are hoping will ensure that engine costs don't spiral out of control, but there is good reason to believe that the claiming regulation itself could be dropped from the final rules.

As it is the factories who draw up the technical regulations (at least until the end of this year) they would never agree to selling their engines under a claiming rule. For this reason, they would also never agree to selling or leasing last year's engines. Dorna, the FIM and IRTA have all tried to pressure the MSMA into leasing last year's bikes, but the factories refused. Which is why we now have the CRT teams.

Which effective means that any attempt by Dorna/FIm to keep the MSMA out of the new rule making will be scuppered at the first hurdle when the manufacturers refuse to sell 'CRT' engines/bikes.
Maybe the only real answer to getting big grids is to have a Moto1 series with a spec engine and free chassis choice. It has certainly worked in Moto2 (certainly regarding getting grid sizes up and competition closer) and looks like it will do the same in Moto3, so why not? Maybe then we would start to see some real chassis innovation rather than the relative conservatism we have now in motgp chassis terms.
I know that Moto2 has so far been very conservative in the approach taken to chassis design, but as time goes on I think teams will start to get more adventurous in the chassis department in the hope of extracting more performance. Vyrus have their interesting 'funny front end' bike in Italina competiton this year and I would hope someone runs it or similar innovation in Moto2 in 2012.

They are a crime against racing ! If sanity prevails ( no comments...) and the claiming rule is indeed canned, that will eliminate the fear of any team who successfully develop a competitive engine package losing their advantage. Then the grid will expand.

Re chassis innovation, that would be a real welcome change and add a new dimension of interest .

The engine won't matter without the electronics to back it up and I would be concerned that any privateer team would be able to match the factory teams in that area.. Perhaps they should allow claiming of electronics the engineers behind them..:-)

The reason the CRT teams have 24 liters of fuel is to cut back some of the need for electronics. The expensive and tricky electronics are all needed on corner entry, and burning extra fuel here can help.