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GP Week : Issue 139
Factory team prices are "crazy” DORNA chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta, the man who runs MotoGP, has hit out at “crazy” factories who have priced racing out of reasonable reach, in an explosive interview in his native Spain. Speaking to the influential Spanish sports daily As, Ezpeleta (right) pledged Dorna’s support (traditionally available under the counter to struggling teams) only to those in the lower-cost CRT category. He would no longer back teams to lease over-priced factory machines. “ To me, I do not like anything about MotoGP bikes now,” he said. “ We have a category in which Honda are crazy.” In the current economic climate, the model of factory-bike leasing was not worth it. He singled out spending 650,000 Euros on a gearbox (Honda’s seamless- shift model). “Moreover, as there will be no money to rent those bikes next year, in the end there will be only two of those Hondas in 2013.” One trigger to the outburst had been Team Aspar’s decision to abandon the now unaffordable lease of a satellite Ducati next year, planning to run two CRT machines instead. The price of rental bikes was becoming too high, and it was not only Aspar. “It is ridiculous that a rider like (Stefan) Bradl has two-and-a-half million Euros in Viessmann sponsorship, but cannot go to MotoGP because it takes five million,” he said. He would not, as governments had done, just shrug, he said. “I will take measures now. “ This is basically entertainment, not a technology race,” he added. If the factories wanted to continue with just six top-level bikes, said Ezpeleta, “perfect. They are the world champions. And I will focus on the other 16 that will complete the grid.” Asked what the factories had said to his “declaration of war”, he replied: “I do not care what they say, but I do not declare war.” The factories themselves would be feeling the pinch, he thought. “It is an exercise of responsibility.” A CRT bike would cost one million Euros to run for a season against the three million to lease a factory bike, and at the end of the year the team would not have to give the bike back, he said. Dorna’s battle with the factories has been brewing for a few years, after they failed to respond to requests to lease engines at a lower cost, but this is the first time Ezpeleta has been so openly hostile. Dorna chief Ezpeleta slams factories, but stops short of declaring war HOPES that Moto2 might drop the control engine and open the 600cc production-based class to other manufacturers went on hold at Sepang, after a top-level meeting decided to prolong the arrangement for at least two more years, until 2014. The current agreement, with race- prepared CB600 engines supplied by Swiss-based Geo Engineering, expires at the end of 2012. The meeting between all interested parties including next year’s teams agreed to continue until at least 2014. It is possible that a different supplier might be sought, but the units will remain the same. According to IRTA president and Tech 3 team owner Hervé Poncharal, the decision had the blessing of Dorna, IRTA and all the teams. Asked if they wanted to go multi- brand, to a different manufacturer or to remain with Honda, the vote to stay had been unanimous. “For 2013-14 we will keep exactly as we are, Honda CBR600 engine, and that was the main decision. The rest is now being discussed,” said Poncharal. “ The only other thing decided yesterday was (minimum) weight. Now it is 125 kg, next year it goes up to 140,” he said. This will be a small relief to heavier riders, who had been canvassing for a combined bike/ rider minimum weight limit, although that has been ruled out separately by Dorna’s Ezpeleta. Control Honda engines to stay in Moto2 IRTA president and Tech 3 team owner Hervé Poncharal says the decision had the blessing of Dorna, IRTA and all the teams