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GP Week : Issue 174
One year after Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta set an end-of-May this year deadline for new MotoGP regulations, and almost six months since that deadline has passed, the same Valencia venue will this weekend host a crucial GP Commission meeting to decide the matter. This represents the latest and supposedly final deadline set by Ezpeleta for the manufacturers to offer “a realistic alternative” to his plans for control electronics, a rev limit and – if the factories withdraw – a full CRT World Championship. It is the last chance for factories fighting for their future in GP racing. The Dorna chief first issued this threat before last year’s Valencia GP, demanding rule changes for 2013 and technical rules by May 2012. Ezpeleta told GPWEEK: “MotoGP is a technological battle which is going nowhere. For me an ideal championship would be all the engines with more or less the same possibility, and it is the chassis, the set-up, the visibility that make the difference.” Since then, the manufacturers and especially Honda have battled against the plans, so that the new rules had to be postponed to 2014. Honda has promised an alternative: with plans to produce replicas of the RC213V 1000cc MotoGP bikes ridden by Stoner and Pedrosa for sale at a price cap of one-million Euros. Vice–president Shuhei Nakamoto is expected to propose this solution, with possible support from not only Yamaha but also Suzuki, which has a successful history of making title-winning production GP machines. Will it be enough to divert Ezpeleta from his course? The difference now is that he controls not only MotoGP but also World Superbikes, considerably strengthening his negotiating position. According to factory-team sources, decision on the new rules is more than merely urgent. Lead times to design and develop MotoGP machines to conform to changes in the rules have already become uncomfortably compressed. FUTURE-SHOCK SCHEDULED FOR VALENCIA Honda’s last chance to block Dorna’s dumb-down MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTO3 WINGS TO BE CLIPPED Factory support to be limited as costs soar The new-this-year Moto3 class has been resoundingly successful in all but one area ... controlling costs for beginner riders and teams. Costs of engines, spare parts and rebuilds are strictly capped – a first in motorcycle GP racing. But in spite of the restrictions factory support for teams including the victorious Red Bull KTM squad had resulted in what race director Mike Webb called “an ongoing arms race” , most especially in chassis but also engine developments during the season. While over-the-counter Hondas and KTMs were available, the front runners were supplied with chassis and engine upgrades, while the most successful Honda users and a number of KTM teams fitted chassis from outside suppliers. In most cases there were several significant chassis upgrades during the year, as development continued. According to Webb: “We and the manufacturers are horrified at the cost increases, so there is going to be some further cost capping and limiting development in Moto3.” This would be another major topic at a busy GP Commission meeting, he said. “I knew from the beginning replacing a two-stroke class with a four-stroke class was never going to be cheaper. But we have to do what we can to keep it under control,” he said. Proposals to limit chassis and engine costs and put a limit on development during the season would be tabled. “Chassis have never been limited before. What we want to stop is an ongoing arms race ... where new versions of chassis are brought in three or four times a year by everybody, and the cost goes up because of development. “We want to try and keep the status quo, but prevent wholesale development during the year driving the prices up.” Webb’s ideal was modelled on past two-stroke racing, where contenders could have a good chance on privately fettled over- the-counter production racers “like the Honda RS125 or the TZ Yamahas” . Footnote: The move will be bad news for would-be independent manufacturers, personified by the Mahindra team. After a dire first season with the slow and troublesome Oral engine, the only Indian racing manufacturer returns next year with a new engine and chassis built by Suter. If development is frozen the project seems doomed from the start. titanrace.com High performance engine oil providing optimum protection. LUBRICATION 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: