CRT FAQ: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Claiming Rule Teams, But Were Afraid To Ask

The introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams has caused a massive wave of confusion among MotoGP fans, and left then with a host of questions. Below, we attempt to answer most of the questions that race fans have about this new category of bikes, as well as addressing how it came to be created in the first place.

What on earth is a CRT?

CRT stands for Claiming Rule Team, and is a new category of entry in the MotoGP class. They will run alongside the normal factory and satellite MotoGP bikes (now officially classified as "factory prototypes" regardless of whether they are being run in a factory team or a satellite team), and be subject to slightly different rules.

What are the rule differences between the CRTs and the factory prototypes?

The CRT entries will be allowed more fuel and more engines: while factory prototypes will have 21 liters of fuel and be allowed to use 6 engines in 2012 (just as in 2011), the CRT entries will be given 24 liters of fuel to last a race, and have 12 engines for the 2012 season. Because of these advantages, existing manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha or Ducati) will be allowed to claim engines from CRT entries.

What does "claiming an engine" mean and how does it work?

If a manufacturer wants to get hold an engine from a CRT entry, they can pay 20,000 euros (engine + gearbox, or 15,000 for an engine without a gearbox) to have the bike rolled into the MotoGP technical inspection garage after a race, where the CRT entry's mechanics will strip the engine from the bike and hand it over to the factory. To avoid engines being claimed too often, each manufacturer may only claim 1 engine from Claiming Rule Team, and no more than 4 engines may be claimed from each Claiming Rule Team during the season. A Claiming Rule Team who have forfeited an engine to a claim will be given an extra engine on their allowance of 12 for the season.

There are still a few details under discussion about the claiming rule. The teams are unhappy that they may be forced to hand over an engine which may have cost them over 100,000 euros for a fraction of the price, but the season will start with the rules as they stand.

In reality, it is vanishingly unlikely that a factory will claim an engine. The loss of face and prestige involved for the Japanese factories especially means they will never claim an engine. It would mean that they were afraid of being beaten by a bike costing a fraction of their own. The rule has been put in place merely as an ultimate threat, to deter other factories from fielding fully factory-backed engines under the guise of a CRT entry.

Who decides which teams are CRT entries and which teams are running factory prototypes?

The teams have to apply to enter as a Claiming Rule Team to IRTA, who evaluate entries to the Grand Prix grid in all classes on their experience and suitability. An application as a CRT has to be judged by the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body which consists of the MSMA (representing the manufacturers), IRTA (representing the teams), Dorna (representing the series organizer) and the FIM (representing the sanctioning body and international federation). All four members of the GPC have to agree unanimously to accept a team as a CRT entry, with no dissent.

How does the GPC decide whether an entry is a CRT or not?

This is probably both the hardest and the easiest question to answer. The answer is probably best summed up by US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, when called upon to judge whether the French film "Les Amants" was pornography or not. Hard-core pornography was impossible to define, Stewart said, "but I know it when I see it."

Thus it is with Claiming Rule Teams. The GPC will assess whether they believe a team has backing from a factory, and will be racing on machinery developed, managed and supplied by a manufacturer, rather than machinery managed by the private team itself. The decision will be based not so much on the bikes being raced, as the support and financing of the bikes.

The decision-making process is best illustrated by examples. The Aspar team has been accepted as a CRT entry, and looks likely to field race bikes based on the Aprilia RSV4 it will lease from Aprilia. Aspar is still a CRT entry, because he will be managing the bikes independently, only returning engines to Aprilia when it is time for maintenance. A satellite team, on the other hand, can do nothing to the bikes other than strip and prepare them for racing. Each bike comes with two factory engineers who run the engines and the electronics. The teams are forbidden to manage their own electronics, but have to do so through the factory engineers.

However, if a new team run by Aprilia technical director Gigi Dall'Igna is entered to race the same bikes, funded by Aprilia and racing in Aprilia colors, they will not be accepted as a CRT entry, but as a factory prototype. The presence of Dall'Igna on the team is sufficient to prove that such a team is being run by Aprilia, not a private team.

On the other hand, if a private team were to purchase a Honda RC213V from HRC - an impossibility, as the bikes are not for sale to anyone, but still - and could prove that it intended to run the RC213Vs with no interference or involvement from Honda, then they could be accepted as a CRT.

The simple matter is that status as a Claiming Rule Team has nothing to do with the equipment, and everything to do with the team and its intentions. It is the team that is being evaluated, and it is on the basis of the team's personnel and background that CRT status will be awarded.

Do CRT machines have to use production engines?

There is nothing in the rules about what kind of engines have to be used by the Claiming Rule Teams. Indeed, there is no nothing in the rules explicitly differentiating a CRT racing motorcycle from a factory prototype, other than the larger fuel allowance of 24 liters rather than 21. The rules merely state that MotoGP machines must be "prototypes".

But if the rules say that MotoGP bikes have to be prototypes, doesn't that mean that using production engines is illegal?

Aye, there's the rub. Here is the exact wording in the MotoGP rules:

Four stroke motorcycles participating in the MotoGP class must be prototypes.

The problem is, that nowhere in the rules is the word "prototype" defined. The nearest the rules get is in listing the requirements for a Moto2 chassis:

In the Moto2 class, the chassis must be a prototype, the design and construction of which is free within the constraints of the FIM Grand Prix Technical Regulations. The main frame, swingarm, fuel tank, seat and fairing/bodywork from a non-prototype (ie. series production road-homologated) motorcycle may not be used.

The failure to define what constitutes a prototype is a gaping hole in the rules. Basically, it leaves the term open to interpretation, and the way the sentence defining MotoGP machines is currently being interpreted is with emphasis on the word "motorcycle" rather than "prototype". It is the motorcycle as a whole that will be judged, rather than the parts that it is composed of. After all, the wheels, suspension and brakes (or at least, the steel brakes used in the rain) are all off-the-shelf items. They may be expensive and exclusive off-the-shelf items, but they are produced by a third party and offered for sale to anyone prepared to pay.

Engines will be judged in a similar way. The Kawasaki engine used in the BQR machine, the BMW engine used on the Suters, and the Aprilia engines currently being offered to the Claiming Rule Teams all have their roots in production engines, but the motorcycle consists of more than just the engine alone.

The chassis is the only exception here. The rules state explicitly that the chassis must be a prototype, though again, what constitutes a prototype is open to interpretation. Any team turning up with an Aprilia RSV4 engine in an Aprilia RSV4 chassis will be turned away, but a team running the RSV4 engine in a prototype chassis built by Aprilia is likely to be accepted.

In reality, the use of production chassis is almost certainly a moot point, though. A chassis designed either for use on public roads, or for use with the softer Pirelli tires used by World Superbike will not work with the higher loads generated and required by the rock-solid Bridgestone spec tires used in MotoGP. Such a chassis just won't work sufficiently, and a different design will be needed.

What engine modifications are allowed for the CRT bikes?

As we said before, there is nothing in the rulebook about the engines, other than that they can have a maximum of 4 cylinders and a maximum bore of 81mm. There are a few stipulations about the materials which may be used in any MotoGP engine, but what it basically comes down to is that there are no limits on what can be done to the engines. It is perfectly legal to take, say, a Yamaha YZF-R1 engine, modify the bore and stroke to be 81mm x 48.5mm, remove the chain cam drive and fit a gear cam drive and replace the steel spring valves with pneumatic valves or desmodromic valves (they may be a core Ducati technology, but Bologna does not own the technology). It is legal to change valve diameters, and use different valve materials. It is legal to change the throttle bodies, the fuel pumps, and add variable inlet tracts. Claiming Rule Teams are free to do whatever they like to their engines.

Would WCM qualify as a Claiming Rule Team with their bike based on the Yamaha R1? Would Team KR qualify as a Claiming Rule Team with their KR211V and KR212V?

Peter Clifford is now widely regarded as both a visionary and the godfather of the Claiming Rule Teams - a label he himself strongly rejects. The WCM was in effect a CRT bike before the term had even been invented, and no doubt inspired and directed at least some of the thinking that brought us the CRT rules. The WCM was a custom chassis, built by Harris, containing an engine based very loosely on a Yamaha R1. The internals were completely modified - in an interview, Clifford told that the only parts that remained of the original engine were the holes for the engine mounting bolts - and only the dimensions of the engine were used as a basis for Harris to build a frame. There is no doubt at all that the WCM, if it were to be entered for 2012, would be accepted as a CRT machine.

The KR bike is a little more complicated. Setting to one side the fact that a V5 is illegal for MotoGP from 2012, ruling out the KR211V on the basis of its engine, the KR212V - the bike produced by Team KR in 2007, using the Honda 800cc V4 engine - would qualify for submission, but whether it would be accepted as a CRT entry is open for debate. Kenny Roberts and his team leased the RC212V engine from Honda, and the engine was managed and maintained by HRC personnel. Team KR were merely given the dimensions of the engine to build a chassis around, as well as some pointers to help make the chassis more competitive. Clearly, the intent of the team was to run independently of Honda, to race a bike built and developed themselves. However, leasing a factory prototype engine, complete with HRC engineer - a condition imposed by Honda for the lease of the engine - seems to point more in the direction of factory involvement than privateer development. Until such time as it happens, it will be hard to judge.

Won't the organizers of World Superbikes complain about the CRT rules, and try to prevent any CRT bikes from making it onto the grid?

Will Infront Motor Sports, the commercial rights holders and organizers of the World Superbike series, complain about the CRT rules? They already have. They have even hinted at taking action against the FIM over the perceived breach of contract awarding them a monopoly on racing production motorcycles.

But their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. This is in part because the contract between the FIM and Infront grants Infront a monopoly, not on racing production motorcycles, but on racing the production motorcycles homologated for that purpose by the FIM. If someone turns up with a WSBK-spec Yamaha YZF-R1 or a Honda CBR1000RR, then they cannot be be allowed to race in MotoGP. But if someone takes the WSBK-spec engine from a Yamaha R1 and stuffs it into a prototype frame, that bike is no longer homologated for racing in WSBK, and is therefore eligible again in MotoGP.

Even if Infront wanted to take the FIM to court to try to get the CRT project stopped, their hands are now tied, however. Earlier this year, Bridgepoint Capital acquired all of the shares in Infront Sports and Media, the parent company that owns Infront Motor Sports. Bridgepoint also owns Dorna, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP, and the last thing that the venture capital fund will allow is legal action between two of its subsidiaries. Bridgepoint should be aware of exactly what is in the contracts for both Dorna and Infront, and know whether the CRT concept is a clear breach of Infront's contract or not. Any disagreement between the two organizations would be ironed out as quickly and cheaply as possible; taking the case to the courts will not be an acceptable course of action.

A number of people have pointed to the fact that Bridgepoint owns the rights to both MotoGP and WSBK through its subsidiaries, and have suggested that the company might be looking to exert influence over the two series. This is to grossly overestimate the importance of motorcycle racing, of Dorna and Infront to Bridgepoint, and of the involvement that firms like Bridgepoint have in their investments. The only thing that Bridgepoint cares about is the bottom line: the combined investment in Dorna and Infront represents just a small percentage of the total capital Bridgepoint has invested. As long as both companies are making money, they don't really care what is happening. What they want is a return on the money they put into the purchases.

Will the CRT bikes ever be competitive against the factory prototypes?

There is a short answer and a long answer to this question. The short answer is that yes, at some point towards the end of this year, once the bikes have some development under their belt, the CRT machines should be capable of running with the slower satellite bikes, especially when the CRT bikes are in the hands of someone like Colin Edwards or Randy de Puniet. The factories are extremely concerned about the three extra liters of fuel with the CRT bikes have, which should allow the bikes to make more manageable power without such massively expensive electronics packages.

This does not mean that Casey Stoner need fear for his #1 plate from a CRT rider any time soon. The real factory bikes - the Repsol Hondas, the factory Yamahas and the Marlboro Ducatis - will always be out of reach for the CRT machines. Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are all worth several tenths of a second a lap, and can outrace riders on faster bikes than them. Only the factories can afford the astronomical salaries that the four Aliens can command, and as a consequence, only the factory teams will ever stand a chance of winning a MotoGP world championship, whatever the rules.

But that is not the point of the CRT rules. The Claiming Rule Teams are meant to replace the satellite teams, and make it more affordable for teams to race in the MotoGP series. With CRT bikes expected to cost around 1 million euros per season, a Claiming Rule Team could field two bikes for the price of a single Yamaha, even if they could persuade Yamaha to lease them a bike, a privilege currently bestowed only on Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal. For the price of a factory-spec Honda RC213V - in the region of 4.5 million euros - a Claiming Rule Team could campaign two CRT machines and pay for riders, mechanics and a major chunk of their annual budget.

For this reason, Carmelo Ezpeleta has decided he will not subsidize any teams choosing to run satellite machinery in 2013, effectively forcing the private teams to switch to CRT status. Though there have been complaints at such heavy-handed tactics, Ezpeleta is not preventing the teams from leasing bikes from the factories. As organizer, he has funds to support teams at his own discretion, and as has become increasingly obvious during the 800cc era, the money which the series has generated in income has largely disappeared into the coffers of the factories. And as the cost of leasing factory prototypes has increased, so the grid has shrunk, meaning Ezpeleta has spent more money providing less and less value to his paying customers: the fans, both at the track and sitting at home watching on TV. He is free to stop funding teams which choose to run satellite bikes, just as the those teams are free to try to go out and raise the necessary sponsorship to pay for the full cost of leasing factory prototypes from the manufacturers.

Aren't the CRT rules a betrayal of the spirit of Grand Prix racing?

This is frankly the most bizarre objection, and one which has been raised by many people with a long history in the sport who you would have thought would have known better. Grand Prix racing started out with riders competing on specially prepared versions of bikes derived from road machines, and has a very long and varied history of both production race bikes and race bikes based on production machines. Though Yamaha's TZ series were true race bikes built in production quantities, privateers entered both Suzukis and Kawasakis based on production engines in the mid-1970s. The Manx Norton was a production racer which Norton had based on the Norton International, a machine which was available in both racing and roadgoing versions. Both Suzuki and Yamaha produced roadgoing replicas of their 500cc two-stroke fours, with much success. It is both impossible and pointless to separate the history of roadgoing motorcycles from that of thoroughbred racing machines.

As the CRT machines debuted at the post-race tests at Valencia demonstrated, these bikes are still very special and highly specialized racing machines. Though the engines being used may be based on production engines, the entire package - prototype chassis, top-flight suspension, carbon brakes, Bridgestone tires, carbon fiber bodywork designed from scratch with the aid of CFD modeling - is something very special indeed. A CRT bike is built for one thing, and one thing only: to go as fast as possible around a race track, with no concessions made to anything but speed. They may not cost as much as the factory prototypes, and they may not have the many years of development which the factory prototypes have already had, but they are just as much pure race machines as the Hondas, Yamahas and Ducatis on the track. Show 99.9% of race fans a CRT bike in plain carbon fiber and a factory prototype in plain carbon fiber, and they would be hard-pressed to tell which was which.

Why did we need the CRT rules in the first place?

The cost of racing factory prototypes has become unsustainable. The cost of leasing a satellite machine has risen explosively over the past few years, and the manufacturers have resisted all other attempts at cutting costs. Requests from Dorna, the FIM and IRTA to lease engines on their own met with resistance, and then were offered at a cost that was not a viable option, around 70% of the lease of a full bike.

And it is not just satellite teams which have been affected. The massive cost of racing 800cc prototypes with just 21 liters of fuel forced first Kawasaki and then Suzuki to pull out, leaving just three manufacturers in the series. Grids have been shrinking for years, and MotoGP could have ended up with just 12 bikes on the grid in 2012.

Will the CRT rules work?

That is the million dollar question, but all the signs are that they will. After years of a grid of less 20 riders, and 18 or less since 2008, the 2012 season already looks like having 23 entries for MotoGP, 12 factory prototypes and another 11 CRT entries. The Aspar team has doubled their entry, from a single Ducati Desmosedici to two Aprilia CRT machines; top Moto2 teams such as Forward, Speed Master and BQR have made the move up to MotoGP; and the very experienced former BSB and WSBK squad PBM have entered as a CRT.

The quality of some of the riders being brought in to race the bikes is a slight concern, but it also reflects the fear of the unknown and innate conservatism that is prevalent throughout the MotoGP paddock. Top-flight riders have preferred to take the known quantity of a satellite MotoGP or privateer World Superbike seat, rather than risk taking a CRT ride. Such caution is understandable: when the MotoGP grid assembles for the first time at Qatar, the CRT machines are going to be massively outclassed, in part because Qatar is one of the big horsepower tracks that will favor the factory prototypes, but even more importantly because they will still have just a few months of development under their wheels. The gap should close rapidly as the season progresses, with gaps bigger at tracks like Mugello, and much closer at a place like the Sachsenring, Laguna Seca, even Assen. By the time the bikes fly down under to race at Phillip Island, the gap should be cut significantly, and at a track which is all about getting a bike to carry speed and hold a line, the CRT machines should be able to worry the satellite bikes.

Once the CRT bikes start taking the fight to the satellite bikes, then they may be judged a success. If it turns out to be possible to take a 1 million euro race bike and give a bike costing over four times as much a hard time, then the CRT rules will be vindicated. The next step is to allow the CRT machines to race at the national level, grow the base of riders and teams who have experience of the bikes, and starting to see regular wild card entries at each of the MotoGP rounds once again.

In 2013, the rules will change again, with Dorna only supporting CRT teams financially, and a spec ECU and a rev limit likely to be introduced. With the playing field much more level, and the most costly part of the factory bikes' advantage taken out of the equation, the CRT machines will look both much more competitive and like a very smart move. The introduction of the Moto2 machines was met with massive complaints and objections, saying that it would dumb down the sport. Two years later, the Moto2 race is one of the most eagerly awaited of the weekend, and nobody doubts the caliber of Stefan Bradl, Marc Marquez, and Andrea Iannone. It will take time, but CRT is here to stay.

Last question: Claiming Rule Teams is a really stupid name. Can't we call it something else?

Yes we can, and by the time the bikes start racing in Qatar, there is a very good chance that the name will have changed. Current hot favorite is Constructor Racing Teams, as it expresses much more clearly what the point of the rules is supposed to be while retaining the TLA (Three-Letter Acronym) which is used throughout all of the material published by the FIM, Dorna and IRTA on the subject.

But Dorna and IRTA are open to suggestions, and proposals have also been made to call them "Privateer" entries. The name is pretty awful, but the concept is sound, and by this time next year, everyone will be asking what all the fuss was about.

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I would expect that for the 2013 season Honda will follow Aprilias lead and produce a number of engine and engine chassis setups for 'privateer' teams.
Both manufacturers have a history in this respect and recognise a revenue stream when they see it.

Geo Technology would be well placed to handle the refreshing as they do now with the moto2 engines

or its intoduction, that Dorna should pass out to anyone and everyone who watches a GP or comes a thousand miles from any bike race in 2012.

Very, very well written. I feel priviledged somehow.

Let them merge under CRT rules in 2015!

That the fear of change is the only constant in the arguments that this was a bad idea. CRT's are not only a good idea, but they are a saving grace to a sport that is trying to justify the validity of its very existence. Times change, and if we don't give MotoGP the chance to exist in a more affordable manner, it might soon not exist at all. That's a cold, hard fact.

I'm glad we've opened up this glorious sport to the little guys who would never have been able to participate under the old rules because of sheer financial constraints. It's amazing to see the types of teams and machines that show up, for example, to the Suzuka 8hrs race. True mom and pops operations being given a chance on the world stage. It's inspiring.

Could we possibly see a Yoshimura CRT Team? A Moriwaki Team? It sounds mouthwatering when you really think about it...

In the end of the day though, these new rules mean opportunities that didn't exist before for:

-Third-Party Manufactures
-Anybody Else Involved In Our Sport

THESE are the real people who make this sport happen, not just the factories.

Some might laugh, but I foresee a new "Golden Age" for our sport in the near future with these new ideas, and it's all very exciting!

Can't wait for Qatar next year.

Line them up and LETS RACE!!!!

The name Claiming Rule Team is very misleading, but i do like the idea of calling them Constructor racing teams, but perhaps Privateer Racing Teams would be a more accurate description.

I like chaos, but it is a bit unusual that Dorna would allow chaos to reign supreme in MotoGP. It would seem that chaos is the friend of CRT teams who have less racing experience to draw from, but 2013 could be cruel if the rules are changed.

Ezpeleta has expressed a desire for a unified formula. It is unlikely Ezpeleta will move CRTs to 21L. If he wants a unified rule structure without ambiguous claiming regulations, he will have to move the factory bikes to 24L. A factory bike with 24L will make a CRT look like it is standing still (at first anyway). The purpose of the 24L and 16,000rpm is to establish a horsepower cap which will bring more manufacturers and improve the racing (where could they have gotten that idea from?). If MotoGP goes to 24L next season, doesn't CRT look like a franchise land-grab? In other words, Dorna only allows 24 entries, the CRTs scramble to cobble something together and earn an entry. If the 24L rule and horsepower cap draw new manufacturers in 2013-2014, the CRTs must be bought out. Nice racket, eh? Ezpeleta will surely make sure that some of that money flows back to Bridgepoint.

In the grand scheme, I don't see how this could possibly be cheaper than staying at 800cc with a rev limit and 24L of fuel. The 800s are not as fun as the tire-smoking 1000s, but feverish development of CRT engines or even full-prototype CRT engines (purportedly like the InMotec entry) will cost big bucks. Suzuki would still be here right now if MotoGP had stayed with 800cc, and quite a few teams have viable 800cc prototypes in a holding pattern. Kawasaki most of all.

at horsepower tracks? I think that getting a chassis that can handle well will be a harder task than getting a reasonable output from the engine, especially since they have 3L more of fuel.

Also, why doesn't Yamaha want to lease their bikes to anyone else but Tech 3?

This was a very clear view of the new era of GP racing. I fully understand the situation and even agree. I'll hold my nose and take the medicine. That said, one major issue I still have is the leasing of engines or even complete bikes. If I had a vote this would be a clear no-no. Leasing bikes is what brought on the entire mess. Engines and bikes must be sold and fully owned by the teams for this transfer of power to be complete.

how the new chassis manufacturers are going to get on with Bridgestone? I still reckon a tyre war would have improved 800 racing.


What is the purpose of a Factory wanting to claim an engine? Why would a factory want to claim an engine? I understand when you're protesting that something on the engine/motorcycle is illegal and you want an inspection. You pay for the inspection and break down of the engine/bike but the team also gets engine/bike back after the inspection. Please explain the purpose of "Claiming an engine". Thank you.

The purpose of the rule is to stop Aprilia or BMW (or anyone other factory) trying to enter MotoGP by the back door via a CRT team. You arent going to design and build a prototype engine if Honda/Yamaha/Ducati can buy the engine/gearbox and get your technology for a bargain basement price.
The claiming rule is a threat rather than something that will actually get used.

Great article as always David. I'm particularly pleased that you pointed out that the premier FIM motorcycle class has always been based on modified production bikes in one form or another from the Nortons and BSAs of the 50s through to the early 2-stroke experiments on the late 60s and early 70s. The current structure was unsustainable and I for one am pleased that Ezpeleta is refusing to fund the satellite bikes. I could never understand why anyone would pay that amount of money for a bike that couldn't win, unless it was a wet race. How would you explain to a sponsor we'd like you to give us €1 million to appear on TV at the start of the race or if the rider crashes?!?!

One point though, those road-going RZ500s and RG500s were pretty far removed from the racing versions. Likely 2 or 3 seasons' development at least. The TZR/RZ/RD 350/250 series as well as the Suzuki Gamma equivalents were probably closer to the racebikes than anything else, especially the Japanese/European versions that us North Americans rarely saw, except as the odd grey import!

I still hope they remove the fuel limits completely on the CRT bikes. They're racebikes now, not development vehicles for the factories. And remove the cylinder count limit as well. Bring back the v5s!!!

Or the Laverda V6.
Or the Guzzi V8.
OK< maybe I am getting a little nostalgic, so I'll take a step back to reality.

I'd like to see Dorna remove the cylinder limit for CRT bikes and see what wild and crazy places that takes us. Who knows where the next factory-slayer might come from.
V12 1000cc bikes with tiny pistons running at 20,000 + rpm. I'd pay to hear something like that screaming around turn 3 at the Island.

The classes where cylinder number restrictions were introduced were those dominated by the factories. Their reaction of the factories to a bike that wasn't winning was to make another with even more cylinders (and gears in the small bikes) and hang the expense.
A cylinder number race is not an area where any non factory teams can compete.

Rick, my point is to allow only CRT bikes to be >4 cylinders. 2 destroked 600 Yamaha R6 engines mated to a custom block to give a V8 of 1000cc. Why couldn't that be competitive, and exciting for the fans?
A formula where everything ends up 4 cylinders is completely at odds with the notion of prototypes.
Fark the factories - they can race their 4 cyl bikes and win the championships, but let's look at the iconic status of the Laverda V6 endurance racer and the Guzzi V8 500c GP bike (for example). Both iconic not because they slayed the opposition, but because they bucked the trend.
Let's get some real interest back in GP racing by bringing in the offbeat and the quirky.

Or we can disappear up our own fundamental orifices sticking to a formula that might drive down costs, but drives down excitement as well.

The only reason you'd want more cylinders is to get more power. There will be no shortage of power available from a 4 cylinder 1000, which will be hobbled down to a fraction of its potential most of the time to make it ridable.

Otoh, more cylinders would increase weight, decrease mass centralisation, decrease efficiency and increase cooling difficulties.

Sounds like a winner to me.

Fewer cylinders, otoh, would be interesting, but since the current rules provide no compensating weight advantage, they are effectively blocked.

The MV Agusta triple was also iconic, no?

A mixture of 130kg twins, 140kg triples and 150kg fours might just allow the sort of mixture of weak and strong points that would provide some interesting racing as the advantage shifted from track to track and from corners to straights.

I like the concept of the CRT bikes, but the spec ECU and rev limit I think is a bit heavy handed, but we shall see what transpires.

I wonder if the Aprilia Cube would be rideable now with modern electronics? that thing was berserk

The other thing they could have done is ban tc and rider aids and up the fuel limit to 24-25 liters. Kawasaki would be back, Suzuki, Aprilia, and perhaps BMW. These fuel rules, engine rules, and all the rider aids have driven up the cost of the bikes and running a team. Why not just rid the grid of these things? Because Honda and the MSMA won't let that happen.

How much of the cost of running a team is NOT down to the bike? How much is spent on hopitality, team wages (not the factory engineers), travel and accomodation?

Just wondering...

I think it's actually an Initialism.

I believe that an Acronym needs to be pronounceable as a word... which CRT is definitely not.

No one mentions the complex clutch and engine braking of the modern Moto GP bike.
I'm always amazed when a rider grabs the front brake and quickly makes all his down shifts for the next corner, and then lets the slipper clutch and electronics figure the optimum amount of engine braking to slow the bike down. I believe this is tailored for each corner on the track.
I've only seen one video (with audio) of a CRT bike and the bike didn't have the flatulence of a factory prototype under braking, but sounded more like a street bike, with distinctive
down shifts and throttle blips.
This is one area where the CRT bikes will have hard time catching up.

It's available. Look up Thorsten Durbahn's site... he implemented his own bypass-valve based auto-blip system around a Motec M800 and home-made wheel sensors. If a (very competent) guy in a shed can do it, it shouldn't be out of the reach of teams buying Magneto-Marelli electronics. If it is, they're not worthy to be racing at that level.

Where it gets tricky is doing while wasting the absolute minimum amount of fuel... which is why the extra fuel for CRT's is so important.

@david or anyone who can help me. is there a restriction on the exhaust system of the moto2 bikes? all the bikes pretty much have the same exhaust setup.. its kind of spilling over to the CRTs. on the contrary the factory teams have some really really intricate exhaust work.. the RC213v has a very weird shaped exhaust, and the ducati too.. the yamaha's is the simplest.. but still i find all the moto2 bikes have similar exhausts.. and most of the bikes look very similar except in the paint and stickers... thats something i definitely i dont want to see in CRT.

If you look in the rules, you'll find that Honda have thoughtfully provided a suggested exhaust layout, with all the tube lengths and diameters specified to the nearest 0.1mm.

A team could choose to do its own R&D to come up with something else, but I don't know if they even have access to the exact specs (cam timing etc) of the Geotech motor in order to do the development.

Yes, production-based motorcycles have been used in the past as Mr. Emmett and some of you wrote above. To add to that, I don't know if anybody raced Tritons, Tribsas or Norvins in international competition (Isle of Man TT?) but that would have been a CRT there!
Moriwaki ran their own MotoGP "prototype" called the MD211VF, in some of the races from 2003 to 2005 with little success (total of 9 races, 3 of them points scoring, with a best finish of 11th by Olivier Jacque at Motegi in 2004). It had a Moriwaki-built frame and the RC211V engine leased from HRC, in different configurations/specs. (You can read more about their MotoGP project here:
Also the inaugural Moto2 championship was won using a Moriwaki-framed "prototype" as is the last Moto2 race (Valencia 2011). Can you see a developmental connection here?
So I believe the most important question here is "What is a prototype?" I think a "prototype" is any machine (or component) which is used as a basis for developmental research. This is also one of the reasons that the factories race. Without GP racing I don't think Honda would have put in production a bike with a dual-clutch transmission (the VFR1200F, first production bike with that technology), or Yamaha would have produced the 2009- YZF-R1 with a cross-plane crankshaft, and we wouldn't have seen all the other bikes in production today with throttle-by-wire systems.
Or maybe we would have had to wait a little longer for all these technologies to appear on production bikes if they weren't first tried and tested on "prototypes". Look at the World Superbike Championship; Ten Kate Racing (the Dutch team "representing" HRC) had used WP suspension systems on their CBR1000RR (until 2010) and CBR600RR machines. And think about WP: an Austrian firm producing suspension systems and winning World Championships (Supersport, 8 in total), isn't this also an example of developmental research which ended in production (BMW, Husaberg, KTM, Sherco and Triumph)?
Also, if you want to have an idea of the "beauty" of the Suzuka 8-hours please have a look at Asahina Racing's website's front page ( and see their XF1-class 2005 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R-based "T-Z One" racer, that in my opinion is also a "prototype" albeit a very "funky-looking" one! Can you imagine something like that ridden in MotoGP by Noriyuki Haga at Assen? So much for a fantasy :)
To wrap it up, I think the same as Kropotkin - CRT bikes are prototypes too! I loved the CRT idea right from the start, and I appreciate what Carmelo Ezpelata and more significantly Colin Edwards II did in these past months. I want to see more people having a go at building "racing-specials" :)
And I believe that the MotoGP Championship will be called Moto1 from 2013, that's obviously the only logical name.
Can't wait for the racing to get started...

They should name it SPWC. (Semi Prototype World Championship)
Yes this WC will have a future as the factories eventually will stop spending their money for building prototypes that can earn them some tenths as mr Ezpeleta with his team will change the rules every year to equalize CRTs and prototypes.
But i think he already said that. It will be no factories prototypes in the near future.
So what will be the point of motogp wc?
Till now it was about research and development in every part of the bike.
From now on what kind of develop will have? In which part? the chassis?
Experts maintain that the 800cc prototypes came only because factories wanted them.
That means that Dorna did nothing to prevent it.
If at that time they stayed in 1000cc with more engines, less electronics and a common ecu with rev limiter the total cost would be a lot less and everybody would be happier.
The point is that the new category is wrong. That is not a prototype WC
The CRT category that Ezpeleta dreamed of exists for a long time with very few differences. They call it WSBK, its always fan to watch, almost as fast as motogp, cheaper and it based on production bikes so we can earn a lot from it.

Very well written David. Thanks for the information.

"From now on what kind of develop will have? In which part? the chassis?"

There are plenty of manufacturers out there who develop new bikes without racing them in MotoGP - Aprilia didn't need to be in MotoGP to come up with the V4 in the RSV4. Ducati built some pretty serious bikes prior to 2003. Kawasaki did too, prior to their 2003-2008 participation in MotoGP, and they managed to make the monocoque frame that appeared in the 2000 ZX-12R work pretty well (as a roadbike) without having tested it in battle - at all.

The simple fact is that factory prototypes are a dying species. Ducati are finding how difficult it is to build something competitive even though they are throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at their project. Suzuki and Kawasaki, gone. Aprilia, gone. BMW haven't bothered despite knowing how to build some of the world's most impressive performance vehicles, and having some serious financial clout at their disposal.

It's all good and well complaining about integrity and heritage and unfettered spending on gaining a tenth here and there, but at the end of the day it's not our money that's being thrown into a big hole... and then there's the sorry financial state of the world economy in general, which is about to discover that the good times simply don't last forever.

Do we go down with the ship, or do we survive and build a new ship?

Do we go down with the ship, or do we survive and build a new ship?
Nice thought but the real question for them was: Will we build a new ship, or we'll tern to pirates and steel the other ship to survive?
That's what they did.
Just look at Davids today article with the combined times.
It says Randy de Puniet - Aprilia - SBK Bridgestone
What's that have to do with prototypes and motogp?
And the questions on twitter are about if that's legal. If this is the CRT they was talking about.
No they will change the frame a little bit and it will become one.
Prototypes could have been saved but they didn't do the right moves when they should. Now its late.
This kind of prototype wc is unnecessary, not fun to watch and we still pay for it in many ways. Don't think those trillions $ that factories are spending do not rise the prices of the bikes that we are buying.
(sorry for my poor English)

This Aprilia leasing option is troublesome to me. This is just a step away from the current way of dealing with leasing factory bikes in MotoGP.

If CRT is going to be a succes, they should stick to have the teams outright owning the bike. Not be depended again on a factory.

I love the article. Well done and informative.

I love the whole idea of CRT machines. A step in the right direction.

I still hate fuel limits. I fully expect that they will eventually go the way of the typewriter and TV rabbit ears.

Can't wait for the 2012 green flag!

With this ongoing circle of motorcycle development, it's only a matter of time before the factories have additional engines and chassis for CRT groups as 'Race Only' options with different specs to separate them from WSB machines. If the Dreams of Ezpeleta do pan out in the coming years, we may see racing motorcycles closer to production bikes than ever before! The time-span for technology transfer could be a lot shorter than previous years! Imagine if the engines were created with 1 basic platform with different upgrades pending where they are used: Moto1, WSB, or average production bikes. Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday could finally be accurate for MotoGP/Moto1. We the consumers already have access to a lot of the parts being used to race in other series: suspension, wheels, tires, and other miscellaneous parts for example. Could we see a Repsol Honda RCV for the public that's not just a CBR1000rr with Repsol livery?

Thank you so much, I know now that I didn't know nothing....

Like you said, 23 bikes in these crisis times is already a success

Why do we want to watch this second class steal camera time from the best bikes and riders in the world?

At best why don't they run in their own races so we can focus on them as the unique things they are.

The rules are not elegant at all. I would argue that if you just remove all these rules then it would open it up to competition.

Development should be a product of racing. Not racing being a product of development.

Right now you have to beat the factories at their own game.

- sealed motors with a reliable life time. This requires that you have data already in the bag to produce something reliable and predictable that will run at the top level. It means you have to play it safe with what you introduce to the lock down. I don't understand why you can't open the motor. The money saving logic is false.

- limited fuel. Yes CRT gets more, but it's still limited. Fuel has a natural balance of weight to energy. It's a NATURAL thing of racing to try to get more power from less weight. There is no need for this rule.

- claiming of the motors. This is such a silly circle of rules biting themselves on the ass. This is not elegant in anyway. It's purpose is to keep factories from being a back door team. What does that even mean? We want to keep aprilia and bmw out? Unless they agree to use 21 liters and 6 engines under this second set of rules? It's nuts.

- spec tires. Seriously? In a 'prototype' series? When did tires becomes too expensive for a million dollar bike? The current superstones would never have been developed if michelin were a spec tire a few years ago. Why freeze tire tech here? Who is saving this money?

- 4 cylinders. Why? Is this a money saving rule? Honda made legendary 3,5 and 6 cylinder bikes. What if they had this cost saving rule then cutting of the head of inovation? Because fuel sipping 4 cylinder 4 strokes are what the factories want to develop? It's backwards.

Let ideas be tried on the field of open combat in what should be the top class of motorcycle racing. Let's see real innovation like we have in years gone past instead of this sloppy jam with restrictions that require charts and tutorials to even understand.

The lifting of the testing ban has been been one of their best steps in years, and this was a reversal for them. Let's see more reversals please. :)

As always it's just my opinion. I don't have the ability to race or run a team myself. I just know how to type.

Quite frankly, I'm happy for the CRT bikes. The MSMA has been changing the rules to the point that no one, other then the mega-buck factorys, can field a bike! They tweak the rules for ONE reason---to give them the best oppurtunity to win! PEROID! As I've posted before, this whole 'we race to test stuff for the street' is BS! The change in GP has happened slowly and its almost like we're the 'frog in the pot' . . . the frog doesn't realize he screwed until its too late! If they allow the MSMA to continue, we'll have a couple of Honda's, 2-3 Yamaha's and a couple of Duc's . . . . maybe 10-12 bike grids. If the costs aren't lowered, GP will be dead!

My simple mind says its pretty simple: get rid of the electronics and fuel limits; give 'em a cc and cylinder limit and let 'em race.

In truth, 2012 will be an awkward transition year, with 2 distinctive races on track at the same time. CRTs at the latest Jerez test are lapping 1 second slower than the quickest moto2 bike, and certainly slower than Superbikes using the same engine (at least for now). I am a believer in the CRT concept - but this is poorly executed. Teams should be able to claim a whole bike from each other, and it should go both ways - ie 500k euros for any machine on the grid by any team, from a factory rc213 down to any CRT bike. That will limit spending and even out the grid right quick imo. Or, do like moto3, whereby each manufacturer has to guarantee a supply of bikes, and cap the costs.

Drop motoGP, allow Moto2 a free choice of engines, a spec ECU without TC, a decent slipper clutch and we're done. Allow in 600cc twins at 120kg for a bit of variety...

Ezpeleta is being widely quoted recently as not enjoying the MotoGP class at the moment because the Honda's are too fast, with Yamaha a little off the pace and the rest even slower. Am I taking crazy pills? Did 2009/10 not happen? The Yamaha has been the best bike since 2007. It was only Casey riding the Ducati at the very limit that made it a battle between 2 manufacturers for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Otherwise Yamaha was clearly the best bike by far. Without question in 09' and 10'. I didn't hear any complaints from Ezpeleta when Vale was adding another 2 championships to his tally, or when Lorenzo won in 10'. But Honda wins one out of the five 800cc years and suddenly Honda are too dominant? That's crap.