Norton and Scott Redding’s Marc VDS Racing squad will find out whether they will form part of the new 1000cc MotoGP world championship in 2012 in early June.
The current 800cc format will be scrapped at the end of the season and the premier class will switch to a 1000cc format as Dorna seeks to bolster a decline in grid numbers.
Not only are the new rules designed to entice the likes of BMW and Aprilia to compete in MotoGP, but it is hoped that non-factory teams will be attracted by the option of running more affordable heavily modified and tuned production engines in the new class.
Just exactly who intends to compete in the 2012 world championship will become much clearer in the next few weeks.
By Friday 29 April 2011 (the first day of the Estoril round, Portugal) teams must register their interest in order to receive further information about entry for 2012 and beyond. Teams considered to be eligible for the class will then be sent a prospectus providing the further information and the conditions of participation.
By Friday, 13 May 2011 (the first day of the Le Mans round, France) teams who still wish to participate must submit a formal application, which needs to be supported by detailed information requested in the prospectus.
Applications will be reviewed at Le Mans and teams will be notified of an acceptance, a rejection or pending status. A provisional list of teams will then be published.
By Friday, 3 June 2011 (the first day of the Catalunya round, Spain) accepted teams will be required to lodge a security deposit with the International Race Teams Association. A final list of accepted teams will then be published.
Legendary British factory Norton has repeatedly expressed a desire to race in MotoGP next year and boss Stuart Garner has held several discussions with Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta.
Meanwhile, Redding’s Marc VDS Racing Moto2 team is also seeking a 2012 entry. The Belgian squad is currently testing a tweaked BMW S1000RR engine in a chassis built by Eskil Suter with a view to racing next season.
The bike will tested again immediately after the Estoril MotoGP race in Portugal early next month.
The current MotoGP grid is only made up of 17 bikes but Dorna hope the new class will attract a field of 22 to 24.
Tech 3 and LCR are already two existing teams to confirm they will not build their own projects and they intend to continue leasing bikes from Yamaha and Honda respectively. BMW recently dropped its biggest hint to date that it was seriously pondering a MotoGP switch.
Hendrik von Kuenheim, CEO of the BMW Motorcycle Division, was a surprise visitor to the opening race of 2011 in Qatar last month and he held talks with Ezpeleta about the German factory’s future strategy.
British rider Leon Haslam recently told MCN at the Donington Park WSB round that BMW was eyeing MotoGP.
He said: “BMW have obviously got an interest to be there but I think a lot of it comes down to the bike because they’re not going to go there with what they’ve got now. I don’t know when it will happen but the fact that they are speaking about it is good from my point of view."