Sepang test: Credit crunch biting hard in MotoGP

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The impact of the global economic crisis is starting to become more widespread in MotoGP, with Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki all forced into making some crucial but unpopular decisions to help cut costs.

Following the withdrawal of Kawasaki earlier this year, the remaining teams and factories have all started to implement cost-cutting measures.

With some teams revealing they have been forced to make drastic cuts having had budgets slashed by 20 per cent, it emerged in Sepang that most team personnel had been instructed to fly in economy class only.

Even Valentino Rossi’s crew including legendary Aussie crew chief Jerry Burgess has been forced to take seats at the back of the plane. Fiat Yamaha, Repsol Honda and Suzuki’s factory teams have all implemented a new flight policy to save money.

Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa told MCN: “We have to look at all ways to save costs in this very difficult time. One thing we have introduced is our staff flying in economy class. I have to say that this is a significant saving.” Furusawa confirmed that Yamaha’s 2009 MotoGP budget had been cut by 20 per cent.  

Some HRC management have been forced to take pay cuts, while HRC had also been forced to make redundancies as it streamlined its operations to cope with the credit crunch.

Suzuki’s team staff got told on the eve of the Sepang test that their return journey from the Far East would be their last in business class for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the BBC will also have to fly economy as its bosses have insisted on budget cuts.

Earlier today, MCN learned that Friday morning’s free practice will be scrapped and all other sessions cut to 45 minutes. And as from the Indianapolis race at the end of August, engines have got to last for two races. The engine life rule will then be extended to three races in 2010, and a one bike per rider rule will also be enforced next year.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt