MotoGP bosses reveal 2012 rule plan

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MotoGP fans could be watching the world’s elite riders racing on three different machines in 2012, as was exclusively revealed by MCN earlier this month.

A mixed grid of 800cc prototypes, 1000cc prototypes and highly tuned production derived 1000cc engines could all compete in a revamped premier class in two years.

That’s the scenario after MotoGP bosses unveiled new rules to be implemented in 2012 after a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in Barcelona yesterday.

When plans were approved prior to Christmas for MotoGP to implement a 1000cc four-cylinder rule with a maximum cylinder bore measurement of 81mm in 2012, the assumption was that it would signal the end of the 800cc four-stroke era.

But MSMA members, made up of Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki, recently expressed concerns at the extortionate costs of developing a new prototype 1000cc motor in time for 2012.

The compromise is a new set of rules designed to allow 800cc prototypes and 1000cc engines to compete against each other.

The factories also want the option of continuing to race 800s having invested heavily in the smaller capacity format since the 990cc capacity was abolished at the end of 2006.

Weight limits and fuel tank capacity will vary to ensure there is parity in the performance of the bikes to make the racing close and exciting for fans.

Bikes up to 800cc will have a minimum weight limit of 150kg, with anything over that capacity running 153kg.

Fuel tank capacity will remain at 21 litres for prototype 800cc and 1000cc machines and a rider will be limited to just six engines for the season, as per the current regulation.

Rules vary though for independent teams in MotoGP, now referred to as Claiming Rule Teams (CRT’s).

Further details on the system for CRT’s will work will be unveiled in May, but the likes of Tech 3 Yamaha and LCR Honda will be able to use 50 per cent more engines than a factory squad.

And it will be able to run a 24-litre fuel tank, opening the door for the independent teams to design and develop their own bike, much like the existing Moto2 format.

Rules for the 2012 MotoGP class

Capacity: up to 1,000cc
Number of maximum cylinders: 4
Maximum bore: 81mm
Minimum weight: 150 kg (up to 800cc) and 153 kg (over 800cc)
Maximum number of engines available for use by each rider: 6
Fuel tank capacity: 21 litres

Exception for Claiming Rule Teams (CRT’s) approved by the Grand Prix Commission.

The definition will be published by the end of May.
Maximum number of engines available for use by each rider: 12
Fuel tank capacity: 24 litres

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt