Rossi and Hayden keen to check CRT performance

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Factory Ducati duo Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden are both keen to gauge the performance potential of the new production-based 1000cc MotoGP machines (CRT) in 2012.

Nine of the 21 bikes that will start the new season in Qatar on April 8 will be privately developed projects like the Suter/BMW and FTR-Kawasaki.

The new CRT rules allow an independent team to tune a production-based engine like the BMW S1000R.

Concerns though have been raised that the new machinery will be woefully uncompetitve against the expensively developed factory prototypes like Honda’s RC213V.

In testing so far, the quickest CRT bikes have been around four seconds off the pace of the factory 1000cc bikes.

And some doubts have already been raised about the calibre of riders selected to ride the CRT machinery.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta is desperate for high profile duo Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet to show the potential of the CRT concept.

The pair are easily the fastest and most experienced to sign up to ride a CRT bike, but Rossi said he was eager to see how fast the new bikes are.

The Italian, who will debut the new Ducati GP12 in Malaysia on January 31, said: “It is an important season to understand the potential of CRT and I hope that the difference in lap times is not too big and especially during the coming season it becomes less for the future. 

"In a perfect world we want 24 factory MotoGP bikes but unfortunately now without CRT we are just 12. So it is not possible to make a MotoGP race with just 12 bikes.  We need some CRT bikes for the grid and I hope that the difference in lap time is not so big."

American Hayden said he too was curious to understand the performance potential of the CRT projects, which will include machines powered by BMW, Honda, Kawasaki and Aprilia engines.

The 2006 world champion said: “It is difficult to say too much because we don't how the CRT bikes will stack up, but I'm in favour of CRT. It means more bikes and teams on the grid and that is better for the sport.

"I would love it for everyone to be on factory bikes but now with the world economy that's not possible, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out with the new rules.

"In Moto2 the situation has been great, the racing is awesome with a lot of teams and I'm optimistic. I will hold my judgment until I see and obviously I hope the gap is not so big and hopefully there will be good riders who take a chance to do CRT.

"To understand the level of those bikes they need top world class riders and they have a few now.  It will be good for the fans and it could be something that works."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt