MotoGP grid numbers unlikely to increase in 2010

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Plans to introduce a one bike per ride rule next year in MotoGP to help bolster dwindling grid numbers in 2010 appear to be seriously flawed before the approval stage.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta wants to impose the one bike per ride rule for next season to get manufacturers to lease more bikes to independent teams.

For example, Yamaha currently supplies four bikes to its factory team for Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and four to the satellite Tech 3 squad that runs James Toseland and Colin Edwards.

Under Ezpeleta’s plan, at least two YZR-M1s would be free for an independent team to lead.

The Spaniard is desperate to swell grid numbers back close to the 20-rider mark as he contemplates a 2009 field with a paltry entry list of just 17 bikes following the recent withdrawal of Kawasaki.

The plan though seems to have one serious flaw in that none of the manufacturers are willing to make more bikes available. Rather than use the one bike rule to supply additional teams, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda would rather use the rule to help save costs.

Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa said: “We are keeping the number of bikes always at four. I always answer four and that won’t change. I would like to keep four riders and no more.”

Ezpeleta’s plan was also given the cold shoulder by Honda and Suzuki.

HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto added: “I doubt we would do that (increase our involvement).

And Shinichi Sahara said Suzuki’s involvement would not be expanded beyond its current factory team that fields Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

“I prefer to have more Suzuki’s on the grid but in this economic situation, to be honest it is difficult to have more bikes. We have no plans to increase the number of bikes for next year, “said Sahara.

The one bike rule will be further debated at next month’s Qatar night test.


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt