Marc VDS, LCR Considering MotoGP Expansion For 2015, But No More Production Hondas Available

The 2015 MotoGP grid is shaping up to look even stronger than this season. There are increasing signs that the weaker teams on the grid are set to disappear, with the strongest teams in Moto2 moving up to take their place. In addition, there is a chance that some of the stronger existing MotoGP teams could expand their participation as well.

It is an open secret that the Marc VDS Racing team is weighing up a switch to MotoGP. Team boss Michael Bartholemy has had initial talks with the team owner Marc van der Straten about adding a MotoGP entry to their line up, but they are still a long way from making a decision. Bartholemy told that a decision on their participation would come at Assen at the earliest, but admitted that it was still a very serious option.

The end of June would be too late for Kalex to get a chassis ready in time for 2015 to accept a leased Yamaha engine, but Bartholemy explained that that need not be a problem. Kalex have got permission from Yamaha to start work on a frame already, and have the specifications they need to get started, Bartholemy said.

That did not necessarily mean that Marc VDS will be running a Kalex Yamaha if they do decide to make the switch. 'We will look to see which manufacturer offers us the best package,' Bartholemy said. Marc VDS is likely to receive some help from the factories, due to the clear strength of the team. 'If you were a factory, which Moto2 team would you choose to help?' The Marc VDS team asked rhetorically.

The LCR Honda team is also considering expansion, to run a two-bike team along the lines of Gresini Honda, with one factory RC213V and one RCV1000R production racer. Lucio Cecchinello confirmed that he was close to signing a new sponsorship deal for 2015 which should bring in enough cash to add a second bike. But Cecchinello was cautious, saying his plans were far from fixed for next year. 'It's too early to say about next year,' Cecchinello said. 'At Assen, we will know more.'

The problem for both Cecchinello and Marc VDS is that the production Honda may not be an option. Asked whether there were any plans to expand Honda's current line up of four RCV1000Rs, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto said there was not. 'We have two-year contracts with the teams. Next year, we will supply the same teams,' he told

Honda's reluctance to supply more bikes came down simply to cost. 'The production racer is very expensive, similar cost to satellite bike,' Nakamoto said. HRC are shouldering the difference, to acquiesce with Dorna's demands to supply cheaper bikes. Honda would only be willing to supply more production racers if the new teams were willing to bear the full cost.

For 2015, that may not be such a bad deal. Honda will be bringing performance upgrades for the RCV1000R, rumored to involve the addition of pneumatic valves. Nakamoto confirmed that the bikes would have more horsepower and acceleration, but refused to be drawn on exactly how that extra power would be produced. 'Next year, more power,' was all that he would reveal.

Back to top


I wonder if Marc VDS would entertain the idea of leasing a suzuki?

I find it interesting that Kalex would begin work on a new frame without having a commitment from Marc VDS. I wonder if Kalex knows of other teams that want to lease Yammie engines.

David, you said in the opening paragraph, "There are increasing signs that the weaker teams on the grid are set to disappear," but then didn't elaborate on which one(s).

David, is there any truth to HRC supplying a soon-to-be selected Honda Rider with an already upgraded RCV1000r in the upcoming months (Japan Race)? The bike is slated to have all the upgrades to increase the horspower and acceleration. Supo will probably chose Hayden or Redding to pilot it.

Not a rumor - Honda will supply an upgraded bike near the end of the year for whichever RCV1000R mounted rider has the most points by then. If Nicky misses another race or two that will likely be Redding by default.

Zip chances of satellite Suzukis for the short to mid term. A continuation of their current set up w a Yamaha engine is a logical smooth move. LCR is committed to Honda but this is a strange time we have entered.

For next yr the Ducati oen bike may be a compelling option for teams coming up as it is a turnkey package that is the same price range the Yamaha ENGINE or the (deeply subsidized anomoly) Prod Honda. The electronics on the Ducati are a big deal right now relative to the rest of the Open/Prod bikes. This year's Factory Ducati is shaping up, and Crazy Joe is a better benchmark than Hernandez for teams to watch, as is Melandri. When the turning in F end feel has reached a satisfactory level, this looks a good pick for some teams for the short term.

Longer term is sure an interesting thing to consider now. David you seem to be having a hoot in your work with the flourish of interesting developments! Are you surprised at a comparison say of the bikes of Aleix and Pol? I am! And I think it is mainly due to electronics if I had to point out one factor. Also very curious to hear what the factory involvement is with the Prod Yamaha now. Very little I assume, and that Yamaha is focusing on their Factory bike effort obviously. Also, Tech 3 IS Yamaha's go to satellite team of course and plans must be there for the next different step in developing an Open bike wouldn't you say folks? Forward doesn't seem positioned to offer a lot to work with relatively. Aleix is going to get a good offer to step up into another team and will be elsewhere. So how about this then: will Yamaha and Tech 3 continue as they are w Factory bikes, or will Tech 3 become the Prod test bed/development? Will Yamaha work privately on developing their 2016 machine w Open rules? As time wears on Tech 3 going Open becomes less likely in my mind for 2015. Aleix/Forward/Open rules are far from a juggernaut of performance for the satellite teams to envy as may have been expected. Aleix is ahead of the Q1 Cup, the old CRT teams are where expected, as is the blob of Prod Hondas. The surprise for me, and a pleasant one, is Pol and Smith shaping up. I really did expect Aleix to he solidly ahead of them, and his bike making lots more power than it is. Yamaha can do more w their engine to make good use of more fuel. And critically, the championship electronics package remains a big question - is it doing just what it should and Aleix's performance relative to Pol is writing on the wall for what Factory bikes can expect w it? Will it take a significant development shift next yr w all the factories at the table contributing (this is my guess)?

Honda is done w that Prod racer after they stick a new top end on it. It is an unwanted step child as things stand. What is exciting to see is the strong teams from Moto2 moving up and 'grid fillers' matriculating out. Honda has been a very large tree casting a big shadow and limiting the growth under its canopy. The Open rules trimmed and thinned Honda's foliage so light comes through, and amended the soil beneath.

The Suzuki and Aprillia bikes will likely be on pace w the front of Q1 now which will be a welcome addition. And here comes the Michelin Man!

Exciting times.

The Rookie Rule. Just a question. Is this idiotic rule confined to the scrap heap? May a factory team (whatever it is these days) draft an ex M3 racer straight into a GP1 slot on a factory bike in 2016? I for one would really like to know the low down on this one.
Back to MVDS and GP1. I reckon they should not bother about 2015 and rather focus on 2016. With Michelin,spec ECU etc,and hopefully,spec rubber and rules for all they should give 2015 a miss.
2015 will hopefully be the death of 'Animal Farm' that has been the state of the sport since the death of the 2-stroke era.
You know the line.
Some animals are created more equal than others.
2015 should in no manner cloud judgement. It will be the same old M1/HRC 4 bike war of attrition and we will watch.
But I really hope 2016 will be the renaiscance that elevates the rider above the machine.
In light of that, MVDS should wait in the wings in the interim.

So let me see if I understood...the (slow) Honda prodie is even more expensive than actually sold and if someone wants a shot at one of them it will be even pricier than the (slow) ones already racing?

Any team would have to be daft and desperate to trust Honda's projections for the RCV1000R. David is spot on in his statement that the proddie Honda is a political concession to Dorna. Honda marketing needs to have factory Hondas winning and that is their sole focus.

This article is the first time I have read it suggested that the production Honda was subsidized as costs very close to the satellite machines, circa €4million.

How? I accept the accounting of almost anything can show whatever a company wants but what on earth makes the production racer x10 cost of, say, the ART?

Yes it is not production based, despite the name, but even so, I struggle to understand how a machine with little truly high tech or cutting edge ingredients can be said to cost so much.

With thought to the rumoured V4 roadbike, 'based' on the production racer rumoured to cost anything upto €100k, what exactly will they remove or change to be able to sell this for a profit (assuming that is the wish and expectation).

Take a production racer and remove €3.9million worth to make the road bike. What could be left... OK, so I am being a mite facetious but the query remains at the core of the issue.

Good question. I suspect that it's the difference between an engineer saying 'just give me a block of alloy and that CNC m/c for a bit and I can make a new head for 1M Yen, and the accountant saying ' ah yes, but we charge that machine out at 1M Yen, and we also have to charge the design studio at X; the dyno room at Y; and the test team at Z - actually make that 10Z as we hired Casey....; then you have to add the HRC team overhead at 200% of the base cost '. The engineer reasons that those assets were sat there not doing much; the accountant argues that they have to be paid for at the set rates/ratios. The Excel spreadsheet will be scary.
With that approach you can make the cost pretty much anything you like. The 1M Euro cost is probably fair, given the support etc. that they give, engine re-builds etc. Nakamoto also probably wishes to argue that the higher cost should be taken off his factory team accounts - that's another $10M for the fight if he can win that one. With new tyres and electronic rules, weight changes etc. coming up he needs every $1M he can lay hands on.
Being in full cynical mode I'll also say that the V4 road bike was an R&D ploy to shift costs from Nakamoto San's team to Honda Corp. 'Sorry Honda fans the costs just couldn't be brought below $500k so we had to can it.'

I just find it unbelievable that Shuhei Nakamoto says that the cost of the production racer is the same as that of a satellite machine. So here is the conundrum. Are the satellite machine users paying more money to Honda to get a rough equivalent of a production racer? or Honda has made a machine that is nearly a couple of seconds slower than the prototype by putting in the same expenditure for manufacturing a production racer motorcycle? I have seen and hear of Honda doing strange things but this I suppose tops them all.

Also why are Dorna not actively wooing Kawasaki to comeback to racing with Marc VDS? Bartholemy was the head of Kawasaki's GP effort and should know a thing or two to entice Kawasaki back into GP as an open category machine. I do not like the idea of having only one or two choices. It is this limited choice that makes Honda play the stupid games that it does with costs.

Economy of scale. Honda made (x) of them, w a very expensive project of (y). Per unit this project on its own is silly exoensive, and as we know, not worth beans to HRC.

They ate a turd on that one.

What would be the benefit for Kawi to race GP? Pay more than they do in World Superbike to be a member, Spend more than they do in World Superbike for R&D, pay more than they do for a top MotoGp rider than they do in World Superbike. All so they can be midpack and the prestige of saying they race MotoGP? They save way more money and get just as good marketing exposure racing World Superbike