Dorna not at war with factories over radical rule changes

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MotoGP rights owners Dorna is not at war with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati over a range of cost-cutting rule changes under discussion to ensure the long-term future of the premier class world championship.

Tech 3 Yamaha boss and International Race Teams Association President Herve Poncharal says there is common ground between Dorna and the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association over the need to approve a series of radical rule changes for 2013 onwards.

Several meetings were held between Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and the MSMA during last weekend’s final pre-season test in Jerez, with major progress made on the approval of new rules aimed at cutting costs and closing the performance gap between the factory prototypes and new CRT 1000cc machines.

MotoGP will certainly switch to a one-bike rule next year and discussions are on-going about a rev limit of 14,500 to 15,000rpm. A cap of 1m Euro (£835,000) will be put on the price Honda, Yamaha and Ducati can charge its existing customer teams for the lease of prototype machinery.

And the current engine allocation will be reduced from six to five engines per rider for the season for factory and satellite team riders only. The engine restriction won’t be enforced for new CRT teams.

Poncharal told MCN: “It looks like there is a consensus on the one-bike rule. The main aim is to reduce the costs and the MSMA has pointed out that this is one proposal, so it looks certainly like we will have only one bike next year.

“Carmelo is very strong on this point and he has asked all of us (independent teams) not to enter negotiations with any of the factories to lease a bike that costs more than one million Euros.

“He has also been very clear that if we go to one million Euros for a bike, the factories have to accept that and they can’t say no and then go and approach somebody else and sell the bike for two million Euros.

“Carmelo wants to finalise the ideas by the end of May and to make them official by the end of June. His target is to bring in rules gradually with the aim in 2015 of having everybody on a similar level.

“But let’s be clear about one thing. Carmelo is not at war with anybody. He is not at war with the MSMA and he is very aware of what Yamaha, Honda and Ducati have bought to the championship and he is very aware that it would be a huge loss if they were to go.

“Never in his mind is his attitude that he doesn’t need the factories but he has made it clear that we have reached a point where we can’t carry on like this. I think it also clear that the MSMA has understood the message and they are keen to work on solutions.

“Clearly it is vital to find some solutions to carry on. We have been postponing the moment where we have to make some radical decisions but we can’t live anymore within the current economic conditions.”

Asked how thought the rules will evolve in the future to cut the performance gap between Casey Stoner’s domination prototype Honda RC213V and the BQR CRT project using a Kawasaki ZX-10R motor and FTR frame, Poncharal added: “There will be some gradual decisions but we know the weight is going to be increased to 160kg next year.

“And there will be some other measures but the target is to have the gap closer in 2013 than 2012, closer in 2014 than 2013 and then in 2015, everybody should be on the same equipment and there shouldn’t be two classes.

“There is going to be a lot of discussions about how this is going to happen, but you can see the world is changing fast.”

Also currently under discussion for 2013 is a 750,000 Euro (£625,000) cap on the cost to purchase a CRT machine.

International Race Teams Association boss Mike Trimby told MCN: “It would be nonsense to have a leased factory bike being less expensive than a CRT, even though the CRT bike belongs to the team.

“If a factory can do it for a cheaper price then so can CRT and the more people that do it then the price might come down.

“If this is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing and we had a grid full of factory machines either operated by them or leased at an affordable price, that’s the ideal situation.

“But in the current economic climate nothing is sure. BMW may come and Suzuki might come back but that is still only eight to ten factory entries and we think a more realistic model is something based on CRT rather than factory.

“There will be another Grand Prix Commission meeting in Qatar and the proposals will evolve from there. From what I understand the MSMA are getting closer to finalising their proposals and they understand the problems we have.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt