No more CRT in MotoGP by 2014?

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A grid of full-blown prototypes could contest the 2014 MotoGP world championship, ending the headache of how to slash the gulf in performance between factory bikes and production-derived CRT machinery.

With only 12 factory bikes on the grid for 2012, the new CRT category allowed teams to tune production motors like Honda’s CBR1000RR and BMW’s S1000RR and run them in prototype chassis.

CRT entries swelled the grid to 21 bikes this year and with only 12 factory bikes entered for next season, Dorna will rely heavily again on CRT equipment to maintain a healthy grid of 22 or 24 bikes.

The issue with the CRT class has been the disparity in performance, with a big gap in lap times between the prototypes ridden by the likes of Casey Stoner and new world champion Jorge Lorenzo and the production-based bikes campaigned by Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet.

CRT though could be abolished for 2014, with MCN understanding that Yamaha has committed to leasing an engine and electronics deal for up to four bikes.

Yamaha will not copy Honda and make a production version of its 1000cc YZR-M1 machine available to sell for the 2014 MotoGP world championship.

But the Japanese factory is exploring the option of leasing prototype spec YZR-M1 engines in the future to help boost grid numbers and steer MotoGP from becoming too reliant on highly tuned production machinery.

Honda plans to sell a production replica of its RC213V to non-factory teams for a maximum target price of £800,000, but that is not an avenue Yamaha will pursue.

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told MCN: “We have been studying internally what we might do and the biggest thing is leasing an engine and electronics package to teams and chassis suppliers. If we decided now we could probably do it for 2014 but we need to know what the regulations are.

Selling an M1 will never happen and we are happy with the four-bike strategy. That’s the maximum our engineers and resources can handle. If we allocated some resources we could lease more engines because it is the same as the other spec and it is relatively easy for us to follow that and provide good performance. Our chassis will be different to what a CRT entry could produce but it is the engine that is the biggest difference in MotoGP today.”

The engine would be a version of the current YZR-M1 prototype used by Lorenzo and not a super-tuned R1 production motor.

Jarvis added: “It would be M1 based if we do it. An R1 engine would take a lot of effort and engineering to upgrade it.”

With Yamaha willing to supply an engine and electronics package for four entries, Suzuki planning a return with a two-rider factory effort, and Honda geared up to meet any demand for its production RC213V, it seems that Dorna could have a grid of over 20 factory-supported entries in 2014.

A clearer indication of the future rules will become apparent this weekend when new technical regulations will be unveiled during the final race in Valencia.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt