by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 83
SATELLITE teams in the MotoGP class have been warned to stand by for the possibility of running one-litre bikes under the proposed new MotoGP rules one year early, unless the factories can offer significantly reduced lease prices for motorcycles. "It would be a case of force majeure, but it's possible that the new bikes might be out on the tracks next season," confirmed IRTA general secretary Mike Trimby. "It depends on what price the factories put on lease bikes for next year, and on whether the teams feel they will be able to find the backing required," he continued. Factory lease prices should be set during July, and the decision would be made soon afterwards, said Trimby. Litre bikes with a rev-limiting maximum bore size of 81mm are currently still only at the proposal stage, and scheduled for 2012. With production-based engines and components permitted, it would significantly cut the cost of motors, and help to rebuild grid numbers from the current minimal 17. Opening the class to the new bikes one year early would mirror the early introduction of the 250-replacing Moto2 class. "It all depends on the economic situation in MotoGP, on whether the independent teams can find the money they need to pay lease fees for factory bikes," said Trimby. "If some of them can't afford the costs we might have to look at something else." Although current proposals will allow 800cc prototypes to continue to race beyond the end of 2012, Trimby did not believe there would be any takers: "I don't think we'll see any 800s after 2011. Our understanding is that all manufacturers are working on 1000cc prototypes." SPECULATION about the movements of the top four riders for 2010 intensified at Le Mans. And while all concerned brushed aside any questions, some insiders believe that the first major move has already been made. "As far as Casey going to Honda next year -- I think it's a done deal," one Marlboro Ducati team insider told GPWEEK. The highly placed source, who cannot be named, continued: "I don't have any hard information and I don't want to go on the record. But it's just a gut feeling. I think he has already decided to go." The move would be understandable. Stoner has no problems at Ducati, but the chance to be the man to bring Honda back to championship success for the first time since 2006 must be tempting, explained our informant. The timing would be good, after a major effort by Honda to upgrade personnel and machinery in the factory team. More importantly, it would give the Australian the chance to join racing's elite, winning premier-class World Championships on different makes of machine. Only three riders have achieved this: Geoff Duke, Eddie Lawson and Valentino Rossi. This still leaves Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa in limbo. Yamaha might be obliged to dispense with (or simply lose) one of its big stars: the dilemma being whether to retain Rossi as the end of his career approaches, or to invest in the future with Lorenzo. Whichever one departs is likely to find a warm welcome at Ducati, to fill the giant slot left vacant by Stoner. At the same time, Honda's newly aggressive recruiting policy might see HRC making a powerful bid. There is no confirmation from the riders. Like the rest, Stoner brushed aside questions as being "too early. Usually we only have to answer these questions halfway through the season, not at the third race!" But Rossi did allow: "It is very early ... but the situation is unusual this year." He has said he will start to decide in June. Private teams on standby for 2011 one-litre switch Has Stoner signed for Honda? Moto GP news >> 15