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GP Week : Issue 63
AN all-new MotoGP entry emerged from the Italian shadows last week, with a glamorous Ferrari connection, and bright hopes that the screaming three-cylinder machine might even make it out to boost the grid for the final GP of the season. There is another F1- connection, via BMW -- for the engine is an 800cc development of a 990cc motor developed for that company's proposed entry into MotoGP. The machine was extensively track- tested (below left) before BMW pulled the plug and switched to World Superbikes instead. The surprise news came via exclusive revelations by an Italian web-site, Motoblog. These included photographs, specifications and a rather over-blown description of its provenance. The BMW connection was not mentioned, and the engine was wrongly described as the first in MotoGP using F1 technology. Both the Aprilia three-cylinder 'Cube', designed by Cosworth, and the ill-starred Ilmor were F1-derived. The engine is from the Italian specialists the Oral Engineering Group, co-founded by Mauro Forghieri -- former Ferrari F1 engineering chief, and later designer of the admired but unsuccessful V12 Lamborghini F1 engine. The ultra-short-stroke (90 X 41.8mm) in-line triple has the usual pneumatic valve operation system -- the number of valves is not specified, but four is a safe bet. It also has variable- length intake trumpets in F1-style. The specifications are coy about horsepower, merely claiming "more than 150kW at 18,000rpm". This is extremely modest, compared with the 225- plus PS that the V4 Honda is thought to offer its riders, but the figure is deliberately vague. A triple will inevitably be proportionately less powerful than a four, but the gap may be numerically smaller with next year's less powerful long-life engines. The three-cylinder configuration, however, offers a significant 7.5- kg weight advantage compared with a four, with a minimum of 140.5 kg against 148. The FB Corse team, a well-respected name in Italian national and World Superbike circles, will be running the bike in 2010, with a possible entry for Valencia this year pencilled in. No rider's name has been put forward, but IRTA chief Mike Trimby confirmed that the team had been speaking at Dorna: "If they have a machine ready to race, they will get a wild card entry," he said. Surprise new MotoGP bike for Valencia? Ferrari and BMW F1 connections for FB Corse machine Moto GP news >> 13