Aprilia Admits Interest From CRT Teams In RSV4 Engine For MotoGP

With the names of the teams admitted to the next stage of the entry process for the 2012 MotoGP season, attention is turning to who will be supplying the future teams with bikes. It is an open secret that Norton have submitted a request for two grid slots for next season, entering as a factory team - therefore limited to 9 engines for a season and 21 liters of fuel. But the more interesting prospect is who will be riding what as a CRT team, with a range of possibilities open.

As far as chassis are concerned, Suter, FTR, Kalex and Moriwaki are all either building or believed to be building a CRT frame. But what engine to hang in that frame is a rather different question. The rules state that the engines may have a maximum of four cylinders and a maximum bore of 81mm, and outside of custom-built MotoGP engines (rumors abound of KTM putting their old V4 MotoGP engine back into service), the two production engines being pointed to as a starting point for a MotoGP CRT machine are the BMW S1000RR lump and Aprilia's RSV4 unit. Both engines are close to the 81mm bore limit, and both have proven they are easily capable of producing the horsepower. That the BMW engine will be used is beyond question, as Suter are already testing the lump in their CRT machine.

Now, Aprilia have revealed that they have received several requests about using their RSV4 Superbike engine from CRT teams. Speaking to Italian website GPOne.com, the head of Aprilia's World Superbike program, Gigi Dall'Igna confirmed that several teams had expressed an interest in the engine. The Italian was careful to avoid any hint of factory involvement with the CRT teams, though. "If someone decides to buy an RSV4 to racing in MotoGP with a CRT bike, I would not be able to stop them. Obviously they would receive no assistance from us. It's just business." So, GPOne.com asked, if a team wanted to compete as a CRT team in 2012, they could buy an Aprilia RSV-4, and modify it and lighten it to their own ends? "That's exactly the case," Dall'Igna responded. 

There are a number of benefits to using an RSV4 engine as the starting point for a CRT powerplant. Not least because the original cylinders are already machined to allow the use of gear-driven cams, a modification which the factory World Superbike squad employed last season, until a rule change made the sets illegal. Given that there will be no limits to engine modification for the CRT bikes (other than the stated limitations of 1000cc and a maximum bore of 81mm), fitting gear-driven cams will be one of the first things a team will want to do, to allow for more precise valve timing.

The major difference between the World Superbike rules and MotoGP is of course the engine allocation limit. In World Superbikes, teams are free to use as many engines during the season as they see fit, but in 2012, the MotoGP CRT teams will have just 12 engines to last an entire season. That should not be a problem, Dall'Igna avowed. When asked how many races a WSBK-spec engine could run inbetween being stripped down for revision, Dall'Igna said "Easily two before revision."

Given that at a recent private test, Max Biaggi was comfortably matching the top speed of the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 MotoGP machine along Mugello's searingly fast front straight, there is no doubt that the Aprilia RSV4 produces sufficient horsepower to make it competitive. The only question remains just how well the privateer CRT teams will be able to master the electronics that racing in MotoGP demands, even with an extra 3 liters of fuel over the factory bikes.

Back to top


I thknk the bigest challenge facing a CRT team is going to be getting their bike to work with the Bridgestione tyres.
A good development rider will be key to getting the CRTs to work. I suspect that as we get closer to plans being finalised for 2012, Colin Edwards' phone will be very busy indeed.

I can't imagine asking Colin Edwards to straddle another Aprilia motor after his previous conflagratory experience with the Cube.

Singe me once, shame on you, singe me twice...

Aprilia is owned by Piaggio now. The people who set Colin alight in 2003, have proper funding these days.

Thanks for making me laugh out loud. David, we need a comment rating system: this one is a classic.

I've actually wished for this many times. You don't even have to have a "negative" aspect for people who disagree to a comment or find a comment ridiculous, just have a Thumbs-Up button that keeps a counter for people that like the comment.

I understand that horsepower is fairly similar now between the 800cc GP and 1000cc superbike motors. But if you look at the highest trap speed at Silverstone (not the highest speed track) in 2010 for both series, the GP bikes are 30 kph faster (WSBK 287-292kph; MotoGP 315-323 kph.) The actual lap times see WSBK only a few seconds slower.

With GP bikes going to 1000cc and the potential for speeds in the straights to increase (depending on how the fuel is managed), it seems there will be a significant big speed difference between the CRT and factory bikes.

What am I missing here?

I suspect it has something to do with the run onto the straight, and possibly with track conditions. Looking at Phillip Island (a fast track) top speed there is pretty close, 321 for Biaggi's Aprilia, 326 for Dovizioso's Honda.

Superbikes and GP bikes do not produce similar horsepower figures. GP bikes have got superbikes covered by about 30hp.

Top speeds will probably not increase appreciably in the 1000cc era b/c the bikes are bore-limited. The peak power potential of the 1000s will be roughly the same as the current 800s.

If the speeds go up appreciably, it will be related to engine braking, imo. According to Neil Spalding, Honda have apparently stolen a march on the rest of the field by using the new gearbox, clutch, and electronics to reduce the amount of fuel they use for engine braking during corner entry. The 1000s have a lower rev ceiling, and they may not require as much engine braking.

The weight difference between the WSBK's and the GP bikes. The RSVR can already match the top speeds, but it will be all about how quickly and smoothly it can get there..........

Put the engine into a MotoGP Chassis package and it all be about the electronics from there on........

The RSV has the gear driven cam drive in place and available,but what of valve actuation. I don't see Aprilia stepping up to pneumatic valve actuation to keep those bits in place. Mind you,with a lower rev ceiling and bigger capacity they may be okay without it.
Whether any CRT outfit will be in the mix next year with the RSV lump remains to be seen,but it surely is a better option than the S1000RR lump,by virtue of its own layout being more GP focused than its 'cast in stone',transverse four layout opponent.
Interesting comments from Jeremy Burgess regarding 2012. In a nutshell, he debunked the whole move to 1000 and gave a few succinct reasons why.
Most of which I concur with.
You want to keep people in the game,stop shifting the goalposts.
CRT will be a class within the premier class at best.
Perhaps we will see an opening 2012 with 27 bikes on the grid, but all will know that only 12 at best will be competitive for win in and podium out all season long. Much like a 990/2-stroke inception year.
As for Gigi...strictly business and why not ?

The CRT engines will bear little or no resemblance to the engines they are based on. No doubt someone will try running pneumatic valves in a CRT bike, there's no rules prohibiting it, they just have to produce the parts themselves.

But the point of the 81mm max bore is to limit revs. It will be very difficult and very expensive to rev a 1000cc engine with an 81mm bore much beyond 16,500 RPM, and that's the point where steel springs are (just) still viable.

30 bhp more maybe in the 990 days, but I believe that the WSBK hp figures are at the bare minimum of >215bhp(Honda Racing.com) to a max of 230bhp(Yamaha Racing.com). Moto GP hp figures are roughly the same. 215bhp-220bhp, 230bhp maybe. I could be off on those numbers, but thats what I recall. I do believe that this will be a class within a class for the privateers (EVO class in BSB) Also on a side note/rant: CRT TEAMS?! (Claiming Rules Teams...Teams) Sorry just a little peeve I guess.

WSBK manufacturers state performance under theoretical conditions, not race trim. MotoGP manufacturers on the other hand, tend to understate power output to avoid tipping off about the bikes real performance potential. If you wind an R1 to its absolute popping point, it WILL make around 230hp. A Fireblade will make right around 220hp. Neither bike races at that level of trim, they race around 210bhp.

There are a couple of things you have to know. First, WSBK machines all make roughly the same horsepower by design. This is why Max Biaggi said at Monza this year that no superbike racer has ever won a race on the straights. SBK races are won by getting off of the corners which involves balls, chassis development, and electronics development. Second, Rossi let it slip a few months ago that the manufacturers have rev-limited MotoGP bikes to 19,000rpm (consistent with Dorna's onscreen graphics actually). Probably only affects Honda, but regardless, Rossi says 19,000rpm is a believable number for a MotoGP bike in race trim with 21L of fuel. 19,000rpm gives MotoGP bikes a max power output of around 240-245bhp which is about 30hp more than an SBK in race trim. During the 990 era, the difference was probably more like 50hp in race trim b/c SBKs made less and GPs made more, but a 990 qualifying grenade could probably have eclipsed an SBK by over 80bhp depending (The GP6 was 86mm ~290hp).

You could just write "CR Teams" or "CRT's", both of which would be shorter and less retarde...err...redundant than the absurdist TLA acronym "CRT Teams".

Although grammatically, I agree 100%, the problem is that you either have to write Claiming Rule Teams in full, or CRTs, and nobody knows what CRTs are. Knowing just how bone idle we journalists are, I predict a long, hard year for the language purists.

David, if you are correct that "nobody knows what CRTs are", then how is it justifiable to instead write "CRT teams"?? I know what CRT means, you know what CRT means, and so does everyone else who visits this site. We've mustered the capacity to learn all kinds of TLAs, to walk and chew gum (simultaneously!). Some of us also can even discern proper grammar and cogent writing, which is why this site is so popular and the level of discourse (generally) so high. FTLOG God please stop with the CRT team nonsense...it's like nails on a chalk board.

The Aprilia has a 65 degree Vee. No one has been able to make a competitive racing engine with a Vee that narrow in a long time. Not Suzuki, not Roberts, not in F1. In WSBK Aprilia is racing against production engines with limited modifications. In MotoGP they will be going up against pure racing enigines. The narrow Vee limits the space for the intake runners and restricts the breathing. The Honda MotoGP engine and all the F1 engines are between 72 and 75 degrees.

The real knife in the heart for the CRT's will be the 24 liter fuel limit. At that limit they also will have to be employing fuel economy strategies. If I remember correctly, the original 990's had 26 or 27 liters and after a couple of years was reduced to 24.

Two weeks ago Daryle Beattie asked Jeremy Burgess what he thought of the CRT bikes for next year and JB laughed and said "who would want to spend all that money to finish below 16th?"

Hmmm ...that's not a good sign.

I can't see how a competitive (with the factory bikes) CRT bike can be done.

If you go with a modified BMW RR engine or R1 motor, overbore it to 81mm and de-stroke it to lower the piston speed, you will get a maximum of about 16,000 to 16,500rpm. You might get 245 HP but this would be borderline "grenade" using valve springs and you'd be struggling to finish a race with 24 litres of fuel.

You could overbore it to 81mm and severely de-stroke it to ..say 930cc. This would give you a 17,500rpm rev limit, and good horsepower BUT you would have to have pneumatic or desmo valve actuation, gear driven cam shafts and some serious fuel saving systems .....not exactly cheap

Any other thoughts on this?

It's about slowly introducing a model of decreased cost as an alternative to a factory arms race. It needs to be done without a starting from scratch and banning factories over night. I believe all parties are in favor of this. Race organizers will ensure that even the teams at the back make money. By the end of the careers of 3 of the 4 aliens, the champions will be running bikes under a similar model. All the MSMA conspiracy theorists will be satisfied as to the groups diminished sway. Though they may be a bit sad as to the loss of a big bad wolf at which to aim.

What do you mean " the champions will be running bikes under a similar model"?

What model? ...do you mean the factories will be entering the experimental racing class that is MotoGP with Fireblade engines in racing frames? ..why would they bother? ...there would be no discernible difference to the viewing public between WSB and MotoGP.

By model, I meant the racing rules structure, not specific model of machine. (as in a 'business model').

I think that the CRTs will make it possible for the current way factories are involved to change without throwing the series into doubt of existence. These bikes might just have something based on production castings and mounting points, but other than that they'll be very different than production. As it is, there is little discernible difference to the non-fanatic viewing public between WSBK and GPs.

because there still will be bikes to race when all the factories drop out, didn't it happen in SBK the first year of the one tire rule?

JB got a lot of flack for that one. All in all,he's right with this one. The game has not got the financial capacity to sustain the sport at the same level as F1. Therefore, the rules have to be 'cast in stone' for at least 10 years (not likely as a result of technological accelleration) Suzuki,Kawasaki,Michelin,Dunlop,Bridgestone have all tasted the bittersweet of short term failure over the years.
I have less of an idea than any pundit out there as to what Suzuki will do next year,if anything. My 'gut feel' is that they will go the route of Kawasaki, bail out and who could blame them ?
Ducati are riding a quickly descending 'crest of a knave' sleeve in GP and SBK.
CRT is as exciting inasmuch as playing any lotto ticket.
A liitle too late. The GPC would have been smart to keep the rule book 'stet' as it was with 800cc's inception.
An eventfull and exciting era nears closure.
Exciting it was and certainly still is.
Sadly,2011 may prove for 800 to be the cliffhanger 2006 was for 990.
2 years down the road,a whole bunch may be screaming....'Bring back the 800's...Those were the days'.

No way, the 990's had great races for all the years they ran. If for some reason the 800's have great races for the rest of the season, it will still be only one year of great races.