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GP Week : Issue 22
>>Moto GPInsight ations close that they have no interest in continuing after 250 two-strokes are dropped after 2010; both have pledged future allegiance to World Superbikes. So too has BMW – a blow to Dorna, which has courted the prestigious German company hard for more than five years. Honda has long been suspected of angling for a one-make Honda Cup class, but this was denied by Yasutake. “We want all the factories to compete,”he insisted. A single engine supplier would give Dorna a tighter control of costs, a major aim. “It would also facilitate control electronics, which could be more problematic with different engines,”explained a former team computer expert. It might be the rival Japanese companies are playing a close hand, and that more applications will be on the table. This would not be the first time Japanese factories have kept race departments in the dark. In the 1980s, then FIM competitions chief Jo Zegwaard visited Japan, and on his return claimed widespread factory support for his own uncannily similar proposal: to replace the premier 500cc class with 600cc production-based four-strokes. Zegwaard claimed to have seen GP-prepped engines running on the test bench. In the GP paddock he was disbelieved and ridiculed, and the proposal came to nothing, but the current identical proposal puts his staunchly defended claims in a new and more plausible light. The general paddock mood remains hostile to the proposed class, but Dorna has a surprise supporter in fellow-Spaniard Jorge Martinez, whose 125 and 250 ‘Aspar’ teams combine as the biggest and one of the most professional teams in any class. “The change to 600 will be good, and will lower costs,”he said. “There are seven factory bikes Aprilias leased for 1.15-million Euros for the year, and quite a few production Aprilias sold for 500,000 Euros, plus three factory KTMs also at high prices. Much of these costs could be saved. “When the rules are published and everyone sees it will be limited to engines with the same electronics, the same rev limits and a claiming rule, then more manufacturers will be interested,”he said. “I intend to have three or four of these bikes running next year in the Spanish championship, to prepare for 2011,”he said. 43