Aspar Confirms CRT Entry With De Puniet And Expargaro As Riders And Aprilia Engines

Another piece of the MotoGP puzzle fell into place yesterday, and another boost for the CRT rules aimed at getting more bikes on the grid. The Aspar team announced officially that they will be racing as a Claiming Rule Team in 2012, fielding riders Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro. The team is to use Aprilia engines in their MotoGP machines, though the press release makes no mention of which chassis they will use.

The announcement had been expected for some time. Aspar boss Jorge Martinez had made it clear he would be racing as a CRT entry at Phillip Island, the Spaniard calculating that he could race two CRT machine for the price of a satellite Ducati. The rider line up took longer to complete, but once the team added Toni Elias to the already-signed Moto2 duo of Nico Terol and Aleix Espargaro, it became evident that Espargaro was destined to move up to MotoGP on the CRT machine. Randy de Puniet's name was linked with the Aspar CRT ride after the Frenchman tested the Aprilia RSV4 on Bridgestone tires at Valencia and then later at Jerez. De Puniet set a lap of 1'41.5 on the Bridgestone-shod RSV4 at Jerez, 1.8 seconds slower than the time he set aboard the Pramac Ducati at Jerez back in April. That time may have convinced him that he had a chance of competing with some of the satellite riders as the 2012 season progresses.

Though the press release only mentions Aspar using Aprilia engines, it seems likely that the team will lease complete bikes from the Noale factory. The outings at Valencia and Jerez were aimed at obtaining data with the Bridgestone tires and carbon brakes to help with designing a chassis that Aprilia could race in MotoGP. The chassis tested at Jerez looked stock, but was covered with duct tape. What the tape was hiding is a mystery, but the place where modifications would be needed for a MotoGP chassis is the headstock, to deal with the greater braking forces from the carbon brakes. We will get a better idea of what Aspar will actually be racing when the MotoGP paddock rolls up at Sepang for the first MotoGP test on January 31st.

The announcement from Aspar brings the total number of confirmed entries up to 18, 12 factory prototypes (4 Hondas, 4 Yamahas and 4 Ducatis) and and 6 CRT entries - including 5 Aprilia-based entries. Though there has been no formal announcement yet, the BQR team are expected to contest 2 machines next year, the FTR Kawasaki ridden by Ivan Silva and Yonny Hernandez, and the Gresini team has also announced that they will be fielding a CRT bike built by FTR around a Honda CBR1000 engine, bringing the total number of bikes up to 21. With the Spanish Laglisse team also expected to enter two Suter BMWs, the grid so far is set to feature a total of 23 bikes. You can find the latest list of confirmed and unconfirmed MotoGP entries here.

Below is the official press release announcing the the Aspar team's plans for 2012:


Valencian team to line up Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró on Aprilia-powered machinery

With the dust having only settled on the 2011 campaign just three weeks ago the teams and riders have been hard at work with post-season testing at Valencia, immediately following the final Grand Prix of the season, and at Jerez earlier this week. Much of development has been aimed at changes to MotoGP next season, when 1000cc machines return to the grid to replace the 800s and new CRT prototypes join the factory machinery in a move to make the championship more competitive and open it up to new challengers. The goal is to improve the spectacle on track, with the sensational Moto2 series as the blueprint.

The Aspar Team remains faithful to its ideals of developing, expanding and embracing new technologies, which is why they will be moving with the times next season and embarking on a new adventure for MotoGP as a Claiming Rules Team (CRT). Not only that but the team will be expanding from one rider, as they have had for the past two seasons, to two with Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet providing a combination of youth and experience. Both have previous experience with the team, the Spaniard in 2009 and the Frenchman in 2005, and just as they did in the 250cc class class they will be powered next season by Aprilia. The Spanish team has enjoyed a relationship with the Italian factory since 1996 and together they have won four world titles as well as finishing runners-up no fewer than seven times. The Noale-based manufacturer will provide engines for the new CRT project, which is already underway with De Puniet having begun testing duties.

Jorge Martínez 'Aspar': "We are really happy because we find ourselves with a brand new challenge ahead of us and we have full faith that CRT is the future of MotoGP, which is why we are amongst the first to join this initiative. As a team we continue to grow and after having a single rider for our first two seasons in MotoGP we will now have two in Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró. I am pleased to welcome Randy back to the team; he was already with us back in 2005 and we have good memories. Aleix was also with us in 2009 although it was only for two races. We are sure that this will be a successful project with the riders we have but also with the engine supplier, which will be Aprilia. We always wanted to stick with them for this project because of the fabulous relationship we have with them and their pedigree in the smaller classes. Our objective this season is to be the best CRT team and to prepare for another step forward in 2013".

Randy de Puniet: "I am very happy to return to the Aspar Team, having already raced with them in 2005 during my 250cc career. I have very fond memories of that time and now we are taking on a new challenge together in the shape of CRT. I know that this is a very competitive team and they will be fighting to have the best material available. We have already tested and gathered a lot of good feedback. CRT is the future of MotoGP and even though we have a lot of work ahead of us it will be enjoyable. The objective for next season will be to adapt as soon as possible to this new prototype and gradually close the gap to the factory bikes. Testing at Jerez was very productive, we had good weather and managed to gather a lot of good data. The lap times were interesting even though we are obviously a long way off the motorcycle we will start the season with so I am very pleased with how everything is coming together."

Aleix Espargaró: "First of all I am very excited to join the Aspar Team and especially to be returning to MotoGP, which is a huge source of motivation for me. In 2010 I had a pretty positive season and I would have liked to continue for another year. I think that with my height and weight I should be more suited to the category and I am sure we'll have a good year and get some great results for the Aspar Team. CRT is a totally new concept and we will have a lot of work to do at the start but I have joined the Aspar Team because they comes with certain guarantees and I know they won't take this challenge lightly. They are very professional and I am sure they will develop a great motorcycle. I am delighted to be involved with this new project."

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Are Aprilla leasing or selling CRT bikes? I would think that the difference would be important, as it would really show the Noale factory's intentions...

Leasing engines only--which I dislike. The system of leasing puts all power in factory hands. It is what caused spiraling costs, and constant rules changes.

Engine leasing is annoying b/c it undermines the purpose of CRT, and it makes the privateers look like they are too lazy to develop their own parts. However, engine leasing is the only way the CRTs will get their hands on WSBK engine parts. The manufacturers don't sell critical performance parts in WSBK, which is part of the reason WSBK is going downhill, so CRT teams will have to lease the parts just like WSBK satellite teams.

Engine leasing will allow the CRTs to be competitive more quickly, if they are going to be competitive at all. The titanium reciprocating internals and gear-driven cams are probably the only way to meet the engine life requirements as well.

I hope de Puniet can be some kind of dark horse next season.
Probably not front-row style as in '10 with the "third-tier RCV", but still, private GP12 butt-kicking or so.

The Aprilia engine may only have a 78mm bore, 24 liters of fuel & factory SBK electronics may pose a threat at some point.
And we don't know yet the exact specification of the engine Aprilia will be cooking over the winter.

With Aprilia potentially fielding more bikes than any other constructor on the grid, it will be interesting to see if the MSMA will make some drama on the subject of a disguised factory effort, and Dorna's reaction.

Also, guys it feels good not to be talking about Rossi-Ducati all the time. May CRT give us plenty food for thought, and something real to cheer about.

I don't really like the fact half the CRT's are going to be basically just beefed up RSV4's. Like phoenix1 said, Aprilia should just sell the engines to the teams in stead of leasing them.

So, if Aprilia is leasing complete bikes, meaning chassis and engine, what makes that a CRT entry and not a factory one? It sounds kind of like a type of backdoor factory entry. Am I wrong?

They do not create greater braking force.

Braking force is limited by the point at which the rear wheel lifts off the ground. At very low speed it's about 0.8g, ar 300km/h it's about double that due to aerodynamics. Both superbikes and MotoGP bikes can easily lift the rear, as can any decent sports road bike. Of those 3, the MGP will be the lightest and so will actually apply least load to the steering head.

So there is no need to make the steering head stronger.

So why are they used?

Nearly two kg less unsprung weight, no fading and no change in performance at the end of the race.

Yeah, yeah, you've stood at the side of the track and it's obvious they stop so much harder.
Newton says you're wrong, sorry.

If otoh, we combine the massively stronger braking of carbon brakes and the much greater cornering load of the bridgestone tyres, and the undeniably higher top speeds and greater power... All the MGP and CRT bikes should be far and away faster than either WSBK or Moto2... funny then that the advantage is only a couple of % and only one CRT has lapped faster than a Moto2...

At Valencia, Josh Hayes expressed his surprise at how low the Yamaha M1 was, and how little weight transfer there was. The fundamentally different weight distribution of a MotoGP bike alters the amount of braking force that can be applied before the rear wheel lifts. "Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it ..."

Aprilia will need to first move the CoG down and/or back, non?

This theory would also seem strangely at odds with the one in which the Ducati is poor on corner entry because the weight is too far back or too low... compared with the Yamaha whose compact engine is mounted far forward to load the front wheel. Apparently.

Or the fact that when Rossi was having trouble getting the Bridgestones to work on the Yamaha, the team lifted the bike nearly 25mm on its suspension. Last time I looked, the M1 was still running extension caps on the front forks, to help it sit higher.

Hayes' perception may come from a peculiar American habit of setting up bikes with soft rear suspension and very high ride height, to allow the bikes to cope with rough surfaces while not collapsing at the rear under drive.

from those riding a MotoGP machine for the first time was along the lines of 'wow, those brakes are powerful' which given the awesome performance of modern road going brakes let alone the spec available in steel at WSBK level would indicate the carbon option on these machines is truly eye popping. The GP boys use them quick and they use them HARD!

I mean look at the difference in laptimes between a MotoGP and a Moto2.

On one hand we have a lightly prepped CBR600RR engine, 125-130 cv, steel brakes, Dunlops, prototype frame, 1 million $ bike (?), on the other hand absolute prototypes, 230-240 cv, carbon brakes, Bridgestones, 4-6 million $ bikes.

Yet during the race the fastest Moto2 riders can lap around 2-2"5 off the mid pack (10-12th rider) MotoGP race pace.

Barely 2 seconds in spite of the huge differences between Moto2 and MotoGP bikes.

So when you compare MotoGP bikes with WSBK bikes with power outputs in a similar range (the 4 cylinder superbikes still slightly outpowered) you are obviously looking at minimal differences.
Also considering that with all due respect riders racing for the world superbike title are not "alien" material and maybe not be midpack MotoGP material anymore...

It would be good to see some real data on MotoGP braking performance, not just theories. Riders who have moved up to the MotoGP class have consistently commented on the much higher breaking and cornering performance of the MotoGP bike compared to superbikes and others. We know fairly accurately how well an F1 car performs (e.g. 5.5 G braking and maybe even higher under certain high downforce conditions), so surely data should be available for MotoGP bikes (and for the lower classes).

go take a look on, they have Brembo media releases where they give you the speed before and after braking, the length and the deceleration force for each turn (couldn't find Laguna Seca?).

For example at Sepang MotoGP riders spend 26% of their time on the brakes and in the end of the straight they brake from 315 to 85 km/h in 6.5 seconds, 292 meters which gives a deceleration of 1.6g.

Le Mans:
Phillip Island:

And here they state that the latest braker at Misano was Stoner and that braking from 285 km/h to 90 km/h in approximately 5.8 seconds, they cover 270 meters and apply 5.0 Kg of pressure on the brake lever. As this is happening, their brake discs can reach temperatures as high as 650° Celsius.

About the whole steel/carbon brakes question you have Brembo engineers who allegedly keep saying that steel brakes are at the very limit in WSBK...and that is during races which are typically 20-25% shorter than MotoGP races.

For average deceleration, (315-85)/6.5=35.4km/h/s.
Divide by 3.6 to convert to m/s² and you get... 9.8. That would be 1g. That's a bit crap actually, I used to do as well according to my data logger, I suspect CS was actually doing a bit more than that.

However you are correct that at the point where the lever is first squeezed, the braking force is probably 1.6g... it would be almost 0.5g just by sitting up.

The temperatures are high because that is how carbon-carbon discs work: they have little thermal mass, but by using higher temps they can dump more energy into the air (Newton's law of cooling, dT/t =k(T-T_air)

The force on the lever is whatever you decide it to be via the relative size of master cylinder and caliper pistons.

As for steel brakes being at their limit in WSBK... yes, but that's an issue of longevity, not braking force. Do you happen to have the same braking data for WSBK?

I just checked times for Silverstone. Lap record is held by Lorenzo, 2'03.526" from 2010.
Highest top speed by Stoner in qualifying 2011 was 308km/h.

For WSBK 2011, fastest race lap was 2'05.5" and speed 299km/h, both by Biaggi (on one of those Aprilia things with a road-based frame). Difference in lap-time: 1.6%, in top speed, 3%.

The top speed advantage must explain some of the lap time difference (certainly relative to Checa, whose Vmax was 6% lower than Stoner's, lap time almost the same as Biaggi's). And The MGP bikes are 10% lighter, so they should transition faster into corners

So if the brakes and the tyres are even 5% better, it doesn't show in the lap-times. And if they are 5% stronger, they still carry 5% less load because of the 10% lower mass.

So, it's likely Aprilia could save some weight by making it a bit weaker, actually :-D
Damn, not good for the glamour of those 5 million € Hondas though...

1g _average_ deceleration rate sounds pretty damn good to me. Even my data logging showed 1g peak braking forces but the average was much lower. From max speed to min speed also includes rolling off the throttle and starting to brake so may include 'reaction' time making the 1g average rate even more impressive.

Cornering forces follow a velocity squared rule so the super grippy BS tires give a lot more grip which translates into a little more corner speed. Also, all aspects of bike racing obey the law of diminishing returns. Getting to 90% is simple. 95% a little harder. You have to work to get to 98%. 99% is reserved for the pros and 100% for the rich, smart pros. Its the same in every sport, the last gap to the leader is the hardest to close.

Also, all of the above does not take into account the fact that GP bikes are strongly fuel limited while WSB bikes are not. GP bikes would be turning faster individual lap times and lower overall race times with more fuel. And if they had tires tuned for performance instead of durability GP lap times would drop even more.


I wasn't saying that the MGP bikes aren't quicker... only that the differences are small.
In particular, that the forces applied to the chassis due to braking and cornering are almost certainly smaller on a MGP than a WSBK.

Yes, I allowed for the square law in cornering: 1% more corner speed=> 2% more centripetal acceleration
multiplied by 90% of the weight => 92% of the load on the chassis.

All the guff about "phenomenal grip of the Bridgestone tyres" is sounding like npthing but marketing when stacked against the (admittedly thin) data. The drip may be phenomenal, but no more so than the Pirellis. Almost certainly it is maintained better over race distance... but that's not relevant to the chassis design.

And let's not forget that the WSBK chassis have to contend with qualifying tyres too.

As for the fuel limits, that only explains the difference between qualifying and race lap times.

When it comes down to it: the MGP's are faster because they have more power and they're lighter.

Interesting. The maximum braking performance of a MotoGP bike is surprisingly low. Road going sports cars on road tires are not far short of these levels of braking performance. Race cars are much better again, even touring cars achieving 2 g or better. It partly helps explain why F1 cars are typically about 30 seconds a lap faster than a MotoGP bike on a typical GP circuit, a massive difference, even though the acceleration and top speed of a MotoGP bike and an F1 car are similar.

Incidentally, Brembo points out that one of the big advantages of carbon fiber brakes on bikes is that the bike turns into corners more easily due to the lower inertia of the much lighter carbon fiber.

CoG in a F1 car is way, way lower... they are never going to lift the rear. Plus they have the aero's squashing the thing into the track. That partly allows them to have the CoG low, no need to get weight to transfer to the front to prevent understeer... wonder why Ducati stuck those wings on :-)

Oh, I think a F1 car will slow at better than 1g just by lifting off the throttle at top speed because of the air drag.

And yep, taking 2kg off the front wheel is enormous... I think 250 lap times went up for a bit when they were banned from using carbon brakes.

I'll say that the biggest difference when it comes with Formula 1 and MotoGP braking characteristics must come from the contact area of both vehicles with the track.

For MotoGP, when the bike is upright that's got to be somewhere around 100 cm² (roughly the surface area of one credit card for each tire), under braking the contact patch of the front tire will increase while decreasing for the rear tire due to mass transfer.

Couldn't find any real numbers for F1 but considering the they have 4 tires with 660 mm diameter and width between 305-355 mm for the fronts and 365-380 for the rears, the surface area in contact with the track has got to be orders of magnitude larger than on a MotoGP bike, my wild guess would be in the range of 1500 cm².
Actually I've only found data for wet weather tires which should not have a contact area exceeding 280 cm² when fitted to the front of the car and 440 cm² for the rear, which makes a maximum of 1440 cm² for the 4 wheels. I guess the contact area would be larger for slicks and maybe in the same range for threaded dry tires so 1500 cm² should not be too far off.

In the end the tire contact surface could be 10 to 15 times larger for a Formula 1 than for a MotoGP. Let's jsut say it's at least one order of magnitude larger.
Obviously with this incomparable advantage in contact area your braking is gonna be much more efficient.

I know it is far more complex than that (difference in weight, which can be good and bad for braking, 4 tires braking VS 2 tires (mainly 1) braking, different disks and calipers, completely different aerodynamics and so on...) but just the factor of tire contact area in itself makes a tremendous difference.

About Formula 1 VS road racing cars, a quick search on Wikipedia shows values about "1.0 g to 1.5 g (10 to 15 m/s2) for the best sports cars (the Bugatti Veyron is claimed to be able to brake at 1.3 g)".
So a MotoGP bike with this tiny contact patch would still brake harder than a Bugatti Veyron!

As for Formula 1:
"The deceleration force under braking is usually 4 g (39 m/s2), and can be as high as 5–6 g when braking from extreme speeds [...] Here the aerodynamic drag actually helps, and can contribute as much as 1.0 g of braking force, which is the equivalent of the brakes on most road sports cars. In other words, if the throttle is let go, the F1 car will slow down under drag at the same rate as most sports cars do with braking, at least at speeds above 150 km/h (93 mph)."

The Bugatti Veyron is a big heavy sports car on treaded road tires, the MotoGP is a small purpose built race machine on slick race tires, a huge difference. It is not just about the absolute size contact patch: the MotoGP bike is a hell of lot smaller and lighter than a Bugatti Veyron, or an F1 car for that matter. I am just surprised that a MotoGP bike doesn't stop better than it does. So it is interesting to understand why that is.

By far the biggest difference between F1 and MotoGP is aerodynamic downforce, not contact patch. As you said, an F1 car will slow at more than 1 g from high speeds on a trailing throttle. A touring car with limited aerodynamic downforce is a more relevant comparison. Touring cars stop and corner a bit better than a MotoGP bike, but of course the MotoGP bike accelerates much faster and has a higher top speed. The MotoGP bike has a better lap time than a V8 touring car around Phillip Island, although not by a huge amount, about 4 seconds. But anyway, not sure why anyone wants to object to an interesting discussion, even if the same discussion was had in 1982.

then the difference would be explained by contact patch... but it's not, at least not while the bike is upright. Not even in the rain, unless there is standing water. When was the last time you saw someone lock the front on a race bike?

Don't know if he locked up the front, but Tony lost the front end incredibly fast and seemingly without any feedback when starting to brake I think at Qatar this year.
It looked like the sort of inexplicable crash that must have destroyed any confidence that came from his Moto 2 title.

"When was the last time you saw someone lock the front on a race bike?"

I agree with the rear wheel being the limiting factor in braking, but it still seems possible to lock the front.

Laverty in Race 1 in Portimao:
"Laverty blamed a breaking error on his part for his failure to score any points in race one."
(It happens on the crest of a hill, but still...)

Daytona 200:
You clearly can see the smoke from the front tire when the wheel locks.

I think the reason we barely see this at all is because the riders are so damn good!

There is a scene in the Fastest Trailer, where the same thing as in the Daytona 200 race happens, and the bike flips over:

So while a racing bike is probably more prone to flipping over, it seems it's still perfectly possible to lock the front wheel when the circumstances are right.

Don't forget in the last few races (Japan) going towards the turn under the bridge, Casey Stoner's front brake failed to respond after he went over some massive bumps, and I remember seeing him pump pretty hard and finally the front brake responded and the rear wheel went quite a ways up. It caused him to miss the corner, obviously, and go into the gravel.

So yeah, the front definitely locked up (more due to mechanical issues and not under normal usage) and I attribute it to his skill more than anything that he recovered and stayed on the bike and nothing worse happened.

was coming over a crest, which would have unweighted the front.
Yes, if you want to you can lock the front: snap it on very fast so there is no time for the load to move to the front. Or have someone bash into it. Or grab the lever while the front is in the air, if you want to be extreme.

But these are exceptions to the rule. On a modern sports bike on clean track, you brake until the rear lifts. Watch riders in any serious braking area and they are all flirting with lifting the rear, sometimes carrying it for long distances. What you do not regularly see is puffs of smoke as a rider squeezes a little too hard.

This is the way it has been for at least 30 years.

When it comes to engines, it may actually be cheaper to lease an engine from Aprila or BMW, then to buy it and develop the engine on your own. There is nothing that says Priller Or BMW must sell you the special sauce parts that they have developed for WSBK racing.

So by the time you spend €5-7000 for a stock engine, another €25,000 for the over the counter race kit, then €35,000 for the electronics (starting with no baseline info) then go into playing with cylinder head porting, cam timing, titanium con rods, custom lightweight pistons, taking weight off the crank, etc etc, plus all the man hours and dyno time you are talking well over €125,000 for an engine package, and that's if you cut corners and pinch pennys.

In the AMA Yosh at one time, and still may offer a lease engine package that is in the $60K USD range for the year. It's per engine, and it allows you to have it rebuilt every three races. It is built to the same specs as the Yosh teams bikes. When you do the math it comes out to be less money, and that may be the case with the Aprilia's and the BMW's.

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rehash the old "F1 brake distances are much shorter than Moto GP because of the larger contact patch"? i thought we already established this back in 1982?

as for the smaller steering head on the Moto GP bikes because of the supposed less braking force, what about during cornering? isn't the head-stock/fork is a huge pivot under huge loads when leaned over in a corner, no?