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GP Week : Issue 63
Moto GP news >> THE concept of a two-tier premier MotoGP class, with private teams running appropriately restricted production-based 1000cc engines against the 800cc full prototypes, is still very much alive, in spite of a counter-proposal from the manufacturers to lease engines to private teams. It had been thought that the proposal, nicknamed 'Moto-1' in the paddock, had been intended mainly to spur the manufacturers' association, the MSMA, into action to reduce costs for private teams, and help build up grid numbers. This aim appeared to have succeeded, but the idea still has strong support within influential circles. And the MSMA's current proposal may not be enough to win support. Mike Trimby, general secretary of teams' association IRTA, sounded a note of caution: "Any solution from the manufacturers needs to be cost-effective, and more than a short-term one-year answer." The 'Moto-1' proposal had been "a catalyst to do something about the problem," he agreed. But it was still a serious proposal, and remained on the table for consideration alongside that of the MSMA. Trimby spoke strongly in support of having some sort of freely available competitive engine for independent racing manufacturers, recalling the F1 days when most of the grid used the same Cosworth V8 engine. "We need a Cosworth engine situation. That is why we suggested the 1000cc solution," he said. The MSMA offered to lease prototype engines, so that private teams could provide their own chassis and running gear. But there were no details on price or potential numbers of engines. Last week, MSMA spokesman Takenao Tsubouchi told GPWeek that at least two manufacturers were interested in supplying engines, but that details would only be worked out next year, after development of the long-life 2010 engines had been completed. Paddock whispers put the potential engine lease cost at 700,000 Euros, against a 1.2- million Euro cost to lease a motorcycle. This schedule may be too slow for racing management, and with cost rumoured to be some 700,000 Euros against 1.2-million for a complete bike, the price may be too high. Moto-1 Production racers still on the table -- lease engines may be too expensive ... 15