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GP Week : Issue 130
30 The forthcoming 1000cc rules draw nearer, with still only one example of the production-based CRT machines having been seen in public. It’s the same one that was seen before: the Suter-BMW, and with the same rider on board ... Mika Kallio. But this time, at the Brno post-race tests, the picture was a little more encouraging than it had been in the same circumstances at Mugello. At the Italian track, Kallio had been a woeful six seconds off the pace At Brno the gap had now shrunk significantly – to four seconds. Still way off, but a major improvement all the same. This early in the bike’s development, more still can be expected. Faith in the whole second-tier CRT concept –the latest scheme to build up grid premier-class numbers – was severely shaken by that first showing, where rider Mika Kallio had circulated the same track the day before less than a second slower on his humble 600cc Moto2 bike. Of the teams already accepted, Bradl’s Viessmann Kiefer squad are now seeking a lease works Honda instead; while the Marc VdS team – the ones actually developing the bike in tandem with chassis manufacturer Suter – is also having serious doubts. Thus the slightly more fruitful run at Brno was welcomed by those who see the success of CRT bikes as key to the immediate future of a premier racing class that otherwise threatens to wither on the factory vine. A refresher course: CRT stands for Claiming Rule Teams, due to a quirky framing of the rules, which give only the factory teams the right to claim an engine for a fixed cost (as if any major motorcycle company would demean itself to such a degree). Aimed at revitalising the specialist chassis constructors, production-based engines are permitted. Engine allocation is double that for genuine prototypes: 12 instead of six; and they get almost ten percent more fuel, with 23 rather than 21 litres. One supporter is soon-to-retire Race Director Paul Butler, who dismisses the slow Mugello time with a wave of the hand. “Definitely not representative – and early shot.” Butler prefers the term “Constructor Teams” to the CRT tag, thinking the claiming rule irrelevant because of the unlikelihood of it actually happening. As one of the GP Commission team who put the proposal together, and then managed to shove it past the reluctant manufacturers, his expressions of confidence in the new class are not surprising. Butler believes that “with 1000cc, the performance levels of street-derived engines means: they’re putting out plenty of power. If you look at lap times, in terms of chassis efficiency,