Yamaha has confirmed it is in the final stages of negotiations with Dorna to offer to supply YZR-M1 engines for a maximum of four riders in the 2014 MotoGP world championship.
Although MCN understands the deal has already been agreed, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said official confirmation of the engine lease deal was imminent.
Yamaha is proposing to lease a YZR-M1 engine package for around £700,000 per season next year in a bid to flood the grid with more competitive machinery.
Honda is also planning to sell a maximum of five production RC213V machines for next season and with the Yamaha engine lease package, it is hoped that non-factory teams can invest money in competitive factory developed machinery as an alternative to the current CRT format.
CRT, which allows teams to race production-based engines in prototype chassis, has been a success in swelling grid numbers but there has been concern expressed about the gap in performance between the factory prototypes.
Jarvis told MCN in Jerez last weekend that Yamaha was poised to finalise its YZR-M1 engine lease plans, but he also confirmed that the Japanese factory had not been engaged in discussions with any parties about a possible tie-up.
Jarvis said: “We are progressing well with the discussions with Dorna and we expect that in the very near future we will be able to conclude the negotiations and be ready to go ahead for 2014. We have not had any in-depth discussions with teams at all. Of course we have heard rumours that some teams could be interested and the whole project depends on teams being seriously interested in our option and there will be a price to pay for the leasing.
Once we have concluded negotiations with Dorna then the discussions will begin. We have no idea honestly who are going to be the candidates. We will not be making any profit on this programme so for us it is important to have a minimum of two riders out there and a maximum of four, as well as our commitment to a two-rider full factory team and a two-rider project with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 satellite team.”
Jarvis said it was too early to confirm precisely what spec the engine it plans to lease would be. It is more than likely that the motor leased will be the same spec as the one the Tech 3 duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith will finish this season on, rather than the factory version to be campaigned by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Speaking about the engine spec, Jarvis added: “It has not yet been decided. When we go into the engine leasing it is a further variant that we have to think of because we are going to be supporting a two-rider factory team, two riders in Tech 3 and then the customer engines. But it will be different because those engines will be placed in chassis made by third parties. So it is quite a different process.
To be honest we haven’t yet got detailed plans and not decided yet what the spec will be but the whole target is to try and get the maximum performance and the maximum number of competitive bikes on the MotoGP grid. So it will be very close at least to the Tech 3 spec.”