2012 MotoGP Entries: 11 Teams, 16 Riders, But Names Only At Catalunya

There are many reasons to look forward to the 2012 MotoGP season, not least because of the influx of new entries expected because of the new rules. And we are drawing tantalizingly close to finding out the names of the teams involved, but at the moment, their names are still a carefully guarded secret. Hence the general sense of frustration when the FIM today issued a press release that is pregnant with possibility, yet almost entirely devoid of content: After announcing at Estoril that 13 teams and 21 riders had entered, at Le Mans, Dorna and IRTA reviewed the list of entries and whittled it down to 11 teams and 16 riders, and the FIM issued the press release shown below: No names, no hints, no information.

So what do we know about the 2012 entries? One thing that we do know is that Norton have submitted an entry for two slots on the grid. However, the iconic British brand will not be accepted as a CRT team, instead, Norton will have to compete on the same footing as Suzuki, with just 21 liters of fuel and 9 engines - with manufacturers who have not won a MotoGP race in recent years being given an extra engine allocation. Beyond Norton, there are very few factories believed to be interested. There remain whispers of KTM reviving its old V4 project, but a direct entry is thought to be unlikely. 

The bulk of the new entries will be as CRT Teams, the majority of whom will be entering from Moto2. Marc VDS Racing, Blusens, Kiefer, SAG, Ioda and Pons are all believed to have an interest in the class, with Marc VDS playing the most prominent role, partnering with Suter to develop the Swiss CRT machine, based around a BMW S1000RR engine. Whether any or all of the above names are actually entered - or accepted - is due to be announced after the next round of MotoGP at Barcelona. Then we shall finally have something to sink our teeth into.

Below is the full text of the rather uniformative press release from the FIM:

MotoGP Class Applications for 2012 Season

On 30 April 2011, the FIM announced that 13 teams containing 21 riders, not currently participating in the MotoGP class, had been provided with terms and conditions for participation in 2012. Those teams were invited to confirm their interest and submit comprehensive details of their plans for participation to IRTA. The deadline was Saturday, 14 May.

During the Le Mans event the applications were reviewed by IRTA and Dorna. Eleven teams comprising 16 riders have now been invited to participate in the next stage of selection. These teams have until Friday 3 June, to lodge a security deposit with IRTA.

At the Catalunya Grand Prix Dorna and IRTA will decide which teams will then be offered a contract of participation for 2012. Teams applying to participate in the CRT category will also need to have their application approved by the Grand Prix Commission members.

Following the Catalunya Grand Prix a list of accepted teams will be published.

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The way I read it, I think they have no choice but to enter as a factory since, well... that's what they are?
(Note the article mentioned their entry as a CRT will not be accepted... not that they chose not to.)

How's Casey going to cope? He currently has enough trouble avoiding the other 16 MotoGP prototypes but from 2012 he's got to watch out for an extra 16 riders? Some or most of whom will likely be on slower machines?

He's going to need to visit the opticians or must learn to share a bit better.

When you're leading as he invariably does. Besides which he seems to be slowly educating those which share his track, one by one, on how to behave in his inimitable style.

I like Stoner, think he's a fantastic rider and even a nice guy once you get through all the PR gaffes he's forced, but even I had to chuckle at the last few comments here and agree. But he's certainly not the only rider who does this. Lorenzo at Le Mans during FP3 gestured at Hayden, Rossi's done it plenty, all of the top riders have shaken their fist at some point or another to people on their line or people following them too closely.

Someone on here sagely suggested that MotoGP should adopt elimination-round style qualifying sort of like how WSBK does it.

With the possibility that CRT bikes may be considerably slower, it could end up as a split session if not an elimination. I think Qatar 2012 will be the site of an emergency rules committee meeting.

Seems that there was one 3-bike team eliminated.

May have been the only one, or there may be one left.

1x3+6x2+6x1 -> 0x3+5x2+6x1


2x3+4x2+7x1 -> 1x3+3x2+7x1

There may be other combinations to get the 13/21 and 11/16, but my quick study didn't find them.

I'd be shocked at a *new* 3-bike team in this sponsorship environment.

I had the same trouble trying to figure out the combinations.

The only people that I thought would try for 3 would be Aspar, Ten Kate or Moriwaki. Ten Kate being the most likely. Any of those would be interesting. Maybe Yoshimura? How about Seven Star or other Suzuka teams using multiple, non-full time riders.

It's great to hear an iconic name such as Norton to return to GP Racing, especially as a top class team. Wonder though, whether they have (or maybe on the verge of having) a big sponsorship backing? MotoGP is an ultra competitive cutthroat world, surely they will have a decent team sponsor, would'nt they? You can't really compare with Suzuki, a big manufacturer by comparison.
Most people would also think at some point, BMW are contemplating a MotoGP entry, the resources is there only problem is, BMW has yet to achieve the first goal in motorcycle racing, that is winning the WSBK championship. Aprilia has already achieved that, but can they return to the traumatic world of MotoGP? (Remember their last MotoGP campaign was simply disastrous and almost brought down the company to its knee, although that could be due to the ill fated choice of using Cosworth 3 cylinder engine). Time has passed, and with the success in WSBK, Aprilia could have better capability if they want to enter MotoGP. Kawasaki? Maybe but also could be unlikely.
CRT? I don't know man, this rule doesn't sound really good to me. The engine should be supplied by the manufacturers, and must strictly be prototype engines, not something from a road bike..

ahh i remmeber the cube, the wild eyes of laconi and anyone else stupid enough to get on it. its propensity to burst into flames if the gas cap wasnt put on just so.
i remember reports that when it was the first motogp bike to go over 200mph the technicians said the telemetry read that the rear wheel was spinning. crazy

No BMW factory? No Aprillia factory? Too bad. I don't see why Norton would even bother. Why not Triumph?

This info is all good.

As a fan, I'm encouraged to see new participants joining the sport even if they have no chance of winning races. Adding companies like Norton, Triumph, KTM, BMW, Aprilia, and MV Agusta gives Dorna the factory names they need to draw big crowds and big TV contracts. With those factories in place, Dorna can regain control of the technical regulations. I don't know whether or not Ezpeleta actually has the balls to pull it off properly, but I guess we will find out in the future. Can you imagine the effect of adding manufacturers from Britain, Germany/Austria, Italy, and perhaps even the US?

No joke. If MotoGP had an 81mm 4-cylinder 1000cc formula with 24L of fuel, I think MotoGP would probably have at least 8 manufacturers and about 30-40 bikes on the grid--kinda like WSBK. MotoGP would be a full prototype version of WSBK, but manufacturers wouldn't have to worry about mass production, dealership networks, international sales legislation, etc etc. The interest in MotoGP would be overwhelming, and I suspect the overflow would effect classes like Moto2 and Moto3.

Honda and Yamaha have got to be shown the door, but that can't happen until new manufacturers are in place. When Honda and Yamaha are shown the door, they will not leave b/c a healthy MotoGP series with European manufacturers would be the end of the Japanese motorcycle cartel.

If history is anything to go by, Dorna will convince themselves (as all commercial rights holders do) that 5 or 6 manufacturers is sufficient and cost-effective. They will acquiesce to manufacturer demands regarding control of the rulebook, and the viscous cycle will start all over again. But I'm going to hope that Dorna actually gets it right for a change. Dorna imagined the 990s, and those weren't to shabby.

Here's to the future.

I think this CRT system is a way for Dorna to move in their girlfriend before even asking the wife for a divorce. They can't show anyone the door without an alternative (who wants to go without 'affections'?). When the CRT formula develops, an alternative exists. I don't think the MSMA looks down on it. Prototypes can be tested at Motegi and they'll save a ton of money while being able to directly link their RnD to production without the pressures of racing driving a bigger gap between production and competition machines. They could pay for their RnD by selling slots at engine building seminars to teams from GPs and around the world.

Superbikeplanet.com has a recent article with Jeremy Burgess here's a snipit...

"I know in talking with Yamaha last year," Burgess said, "that they'd like to build a V4 engine but while regulations are continually changing they don't have the manpower to allow for that to happen."

Beattie asked Burgess for his opinion about the addition of the "claiming rule bikes" to the 2012 MotoGP world championship and if he thought they'll "be anywhere near competitive".

Burgess didn't even try to stifle his laughter, saying amidst more laughs, "No, not at all. It's sort of a harebrained scheme to try and put more bikes on the grid. I can't see anyone wanting to spend anywhere near that sort of money to finish sixteenth."

He also said that he would fix the Ducati in 80s...
No one really knows how far will the CRT bikes be at the beginning of the season, most likely pretty far...but no one knows neither how far they will be at the end of the first season.
Wait and see, maybe they'll end up like Ilmor, maybe they'll end up competitive for top10 in front of some satellite bikes.

>>I can't see anyone wanting to spend anywhere near that sort of
>>money to finish sixteenth.

How much are LCR spending to have Elias come in last? I think a CRT bike would be much cheaper and give the same result so maybe Burgess' experience at the front of the pack doesn't give him that much understanding of a satellite team's expectations.


Would be great to have other iconic names in GP to return - Matchless, MV Agusta, Jawa, Aermacchi, Benelli, Gilera, Moto Guzzi . :)

If Honda & Yamaha are to be shown the door & taking into consideration JB's thoughts on the CRT's anticipated lack of competitiveness, won't their embarrassing performance diminish the MotoGP brand for the future?

I think JB is just dismissing them out of hand, one need only look at how close WSBK times are to MotoGP's. I believe Checca's recent test at Misano would have qualified him 8th at the 2010 MotoGP race. Add carbon brakes, prototype chassis, 10-20kg. weight reduction & Bridgestones..how far off will they be?

What hasn't been mentioned & no doubt the biggest problem to CRT's competitiveness, is WHO will be riding them? If they are going to be piloted by Karel Abrahams..the experiment will be a disaster. But, if a team is able to secure a budding alien or even an Edwards/Hayden level talent & make reasonable progress the series won't need Honda & Yamaha.

the bikes will be slower than WSB. NO ONE will build a competitive motor that can be stolen, oops, " claimed ", by the MSMA/Dorna cartel for E 20,000.

I hope the teams have the smarts to play hardball with the idiots that perpetrated this farce and no one fronts up the deposit, then Dorna have a 16 bike field when Suzuki walk.............

CRT teams don't need a truckload of engine parts to make power. A set of racing cams, fuel remapping, and some work to the top end should be sufficient to boost HP well above SBK; however, CRT will lack factory electronics and they will probably struggle with reliability.

there is a commercial opportunity awaiting you as an engine supplier..............WSB engines are already above what you mentioned.

Seriously, what about rods, cranks, valves / springs, piston/ring packages, etc to give a life of , maybe 800 miles, between overhauls. WSB has, AFIK, no engine life rules.

No one will build a competitive engine that can be stolen.

"If they are going to be piloted by Karel Abrahams..the experiment will be a disaster." In looking at results and the chatter in the paddock it seems everyone is pretty pleased and or impressed with Abraham's rookie season. I admit I didn't hold much expectation to his rookie season, but he has done pretty well, better than most expected. So why would he be a disaster?

People love to slag on riders not at the front. But when a rider doesn't get a shot, they don't like that either. We love winners and the downtrodden but hate losers. Yet as a continuum from first to last, the spaces must be filled by someone or we'll be unable to determine the difference between success and failure. Increasing the grid size will effectively increase the resolution.

It's pathetic how six months apart the cries in support for Elias are mirrored by claims he's wasting the seat. And now there will be 16 more seats? 16 more great chances to shine that will be derided for their lack of a winning pace.

"If Honda & Yamaha are to be shown the door & taking into consideration JB's thoughts on the CRT's anticipated lack of competitiveness, won't their embarrassing performance diminish the MotoGP brand for the future?"

How is that any worse than the current situation? We can let Honda and Yamaha lead us down the road to perdition or we can kick them to the curb and endure a temporary hit to our vanity.

BTW, I'm not suggesting the CRT as a suitable replacement. There are at least a half dozen manufacturers and private racing teams who would be perfectly happy to carve up Japanese market share. The return of British, Italian, and German/Austrian manufacturers would be a big boost to the sport even if the competition was a bit clumsy at first. I doubt the Japanese would leave anyway.

including JB really know how the 2012 season is going to play out, especially with the CRTs.

While the inaugural season will no doubt be fraught with many difficulties, as you (phoenix1) have accurately pointed out, the current direction is indeed misguided. The reality is that CRTs ARE the next step whether we like it or not. If they are regularly lapped, when/if Honda & Yamaha leave, then MotoGP will forever be branded as a joke.

I feel that JB may be (unpleasantly) surprised (if VR is beaten..heavens) by one of the better financed/developed teams; but it will be the RIDERS who will be a more important factor in the success of the formula.

I use Abraham as my whipping boy in large part for his lucky sperm status. He is irrelevant & will soon be off to Polo, bull fighting or becoming Paris Hilton's boy-toy when he loses interest (like his "pro" sking career). My larger point is, even the best machines cannot be competitive in the wrong hands.