FIM Confirms Dropping Of Claiming Rule, Reduces Cost Of Moto2 Engine Swaps

As we reported at Mugello, the claiming rule is to be dropped from the MotoGP rulebook. Introduced to prevent factories entering MotoGP under the guise of private teams, the claiming rule allowed any factory to claim the engine of a bike entered by a CRT team. But after the Grand Prix Commission agreed to the introduction of a spec ECU, the decision to run the spec software proved to be an alternative and more effective way was found of separating full factory efforts from privateer teams. The claiming rule was never actually used, the factories having said when the claiming rule was introduced that they had no intention of ever claiming an engine. It was kept there as the ultimate threat, Teddy Roosevelt's 'big stick' to prevent other factories from even considering such a ruse.

The new distinction between factory and private teams is now the spec ECU, and so the claiming rule has been dropped with immediate effect for all teams (Forward Racing, Avintia Blusens, PBM's Michael Laverty, CAME Ioda Racing) currently using the spec software. From 2014, all teams will have to use the spec hardware, and so the claiming rule will be dropped completely for the 2014 season.

Changes were also announced to the Moto2 engine rules. All Moto2 teams can ask to replace one of their spec engines if they believe the engine has lower than standard performance due to whatever reason (manufacturing tolerances, assembly differences, etc). They currently pay a deposit of 20,000 euros when they submit such a request, money they would lose if it turned out that the engine they asked to have replaced was performing up to spec. However, despite a number of engines being replaced - last year, Marc Marquez' team asked for his engine to be replaced at least once - no deposit was every forfeited.

It was felt that that system was unfair on the poorer teams in the paddock. They could not risk losing the 20,000 euros deposit, and so rarely asked for a new engine. The richer teams could risk losing the money, and knew that they stood little risk of actually losing that money. Dorna and IRTA officials were loath to impose the penalty, given the size of the sum involved.

The new system will be imposed for strictly, but with lower amounts demanded for deposits. Moto2 teams will now pay a 7,500 euro deposit, but IRTA are now more likely to actually keep the deposit if the engine is performing within the specified parameters. The 7,500 euro deposit will be increased to 10,000 euros for the second engine a team asks to be swapped, discouraging teams from swapping engines looking for a stronger motor.

Below is the official FIM press release:

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix

Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 28 June 2013 in Assen (NED), made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class - Effective Immediately

The engine claiming rule is cancelled for any CRT entry using the official Magneti Marelli hardware and software.

MotoGP Class - Effective 2014

The engine claiming rule is cancelled completely.

Moto2 Class – Effective Immediately

Teams are currently permitted to request a change of official engine even if the Technical Director has decided that, in his opinion, there is no justification for a change. In the current regulations such requests risked forfeiting a deposit of €20,000 if subsequent examination of the engine showed that it was performing within the normal parameters. In practice this penalty has never been applied and the teams have simply been charged the costs involved for engine stripping and testing.

The deposit which is subject to forfeit has now been reduced to €7,500 with a supplement of €2,500 for any subsequent changes by the same team/rider in the same season. This deposit/penalty requirement will henceforth be applied without exception.

The object of the rule change is to discourage teams from requesting engine changes for frivolous reasons or in the hope of being randomly allocated an engine that might have better performance.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed on:

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>>The new distinction between factory and private teams is now the spec ECU

Isn't it the software? I thought everyone was using the same spec ECU hardware but non-MSMA get spec software too.

>>Dorna and IRTA officials were loath to impose the penalty, given the size of the sum involved.

Its not like they actually set the penalty amount.........


So, if the difference between an MSMA bike and non MSMA bike will only be who is running bespoke software on spec MM hardware and who is running the provided MM software then won't that leave a lot open for better than CRT spec bikes?

What would stop a factory from fielding a full prototype and get 12 engines, 4 extra liters of fuel, and different tire choices? (Looking at you Ducati).

If the answers to those two questions are Yes and Nothing then would that maybe leave an interesting opening for other factories. What about Aprilia slotting in something with a little more oomph than what's currently in the ART bikes?

This could all get interesting in a good way. Fingers crossed.

The answer to the second question is not "nothing". Perhaps we could reluctantly accept "nothing" if the MSMA had only dropped the claiming rule after examining the weakness of CRT competition. However, the MSMA have dropped the claiming rule AND they've reduced factory fuel capacity by 1 liter. The MSMA know "something" will be keeping the 24L teams in check.

Imo, "something" is a rev limit embedded in the spec software.

Since the claiming rule has been abandoned with immediate effect for teams using the spec software, I'm more interested to see if manufacturers start supplying the CRT racers before the end of the season. That would be a nice teaser.

good points. Aren't there some mechanical limitations to achieving the revs of the factories? There was talk of the customer RC213V being rev limited naturally by sprung valves instead of the factory pneumatics. I suppose without a rev limiter a smart factory or constructor could make parallel development path that is a thirstier, higher strung (if possible) prototype. Sounds like a possibly easier way to competitiveness than also fighting the fuel economy and durability war as well. I'm sure there are reams of code and money in squeezing out usable performance with the MSMA limitations. It would look rather strange if a bike not playing that game but only built to win races started doing so. I don't think Honda would like to explain losing a championship saying "well they used 6 more engines than us and 72 more liters over the season."

Spring valves may pose mechanical limits. Back in the 990cc days, the spring valve engines could reach similar revs to the current 1000cc bikes; however, during the 990cc era, the engine count was not strictly limited. Ducati do not use spring valves so they will not face the same potential limitations. Honda and Yamaha both understood that an advanced desmodromic engine could be sold to CRTs. They've almost certainly put something in place to stop them, and I'm sure Ducati were probably not opposed.

Great - so can we now go back to calling the bikes/teams "factory" or "private" and not "CRT"?!

...and hopefully we can get rid of the dumb "1st CRT" in Parc Ferme. You either make the box or you don't.

Not returning next year. Wonder though if they might provide bike(s) to another team following the Aprillia model? Wasn't their reluctance to come back next year put down to the need to run on vapours?