Tech 3 halt work on new CRT machine

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Cal Crutchlow’s Tech 3 squad has suspended work on a proposed new CRT 1000cc MotoGP project.

The French-based squad planned to have a new prototype chassis ready for track testing by the middle of 2012, with a view to entering a new project in the MotoGP world championship in 2013 or ’14.

But with on-going discussions about sweeping rule changes in the premier class for 2013, which includes a maximum lease price for prototype machinery of 1m Euros (£835,000), Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal said work on the CRT project had not gone further than early designs of the chassis.

Tech 3 currently leases YZR-M1 machines off Yamaha and with the price of lease machinery set to be capped to save costs, Poncharal said the difficult and expensive task of developing a new CRT project from scratch was not the most viable option.

Poncharal told MCN: “I was very enthusiastic about CRT because I thought the only way to go racing in the future was to build your own bike. But now everything has been put on hold and I would like to see the final rules before deciding.

“If we can have a factory prototype for around one million Euros, you have to think twice and for me it is much more affordable and better from a performance point of view to lease a bike. 

“That doesn’t mean it is the end of CRT but if I have the chance to lease a YZR-M1 for one million Euros then I have no interest to build a CRT. A CRT could cost maybe more and for sure the performance on track would be less.”

Poncharal is also adamant that the technical specification of the YZR-M1 he plans to lease in the future will not be greatly reduced because of the lower fixed lease cost.

Ducati expressed concerns about leasing its current GP12 in its current spec for 1m Euros.

But Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis recently told MCN that the Japanese factory could still supply the current level of technology made available to British rider Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, regardless of a reduction in lease price.

And Poncharal added: “Yamaha has always been the best factory in terms of how much they support their independent team and what level of specification they give with the bike.

“We always felt we were part of the factory team and the crucial point is cost. On the financial side Yamaha has always been good and competitive and they don’t make any money out of leasing.

“Our deal is really competitive and my only goal at the moment is to ensure it carries on for as much as possible.”

Speaking specifically about the proposal to limit the price of a lease machine to 1m Euros, Poncharal said it would represent a huge saving and he added: “For me the limit is a very good idea. Talk to all the independent team managers and I think all of us agree that this is a very reasonable price.

“We know the Honda figures are very high and when you hear that amount then you understand that switching to CRT could give you a big saving. CRT was a must and this is working because it is helping us have a decent grid in 2012.

“Now there have been a lot of talks and Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna CEO) has set June as a final deadline to have the rules to go to 2013.”

See the April 4 issue of MCN for a 16-page preview to the 2012 MotoGP season, which kicks off in Qatar on April 8.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt