21 bikes on 2012 MotoGP grid

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At least 21 bikes, including nine 1000cc machines featuring tuned production-based engines with prototype chassis, will contest the 2012 MotoGP world championship.

Next year’s grid will be made up of 12 prototype machines entered by Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, while the rest of the line-up will be completed by CRT machinery, including the Suter/BMW to be ridden by Colin Edwards for Forward Racing.

Applications for nine CRT bikes were approved during a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in Madrid on Wednesday, which also includes the Aspar entries for Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro, the Speed Master effort featuring Anthony West and the Gresini FTR-Honda squad that will field Michele Pirro.

British team boss Paul Bird will also be on the inaugural 1000cc MotoGP grid with James Ellison. Bird plans to use Aprilia’s RSV4 motor but has not yet confirmed his chassis plans for the campaign, which gets underway in Qatar on April 8.

A short statement regarding next year’s grid was released by the FIM today and read: “A list of MotoGP class entries for 2012 was considered by the Commission. The list contained nine entries plus one reserve entry using CRT machinery of various types.

“Participation of all CRT entries was approved by the Commission on the understanding that the granting of CRT Status was subject to review by the Grand Prix Commission at any time.”

With 21 bikes on the grid, that is four more than started the 2011 season when the entire field was made up of full prototypes.

Only three factories though remain involved in MotoGP following the decision of Suzuki to suspend its premier class racing activities until 2014.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt