The objective of keeping costs at reasonable levels for the CRT entries has been underlined again today, when news emerged that a series of separate tests is to be organized for the teams in Europe. While the factory and satellite teams head to Sepang for the official MotoGP tests, the CRT bikes will be circulating in Spain, GPOne.com reports, with the two groups facing each other on the track at the end of March in Jerez.
The FIM today released the provisional entry lists for all three Grand Prix classes, and the grids are looking remarkably healthy. Some 21 riders will line up in the MotoGP class, the Moto2 grid has been shrunk to a more manageable 33 entries, and 32 riders will be at the start for the inaugural season of racing in the Moto3 class, the grid the same size as it was for last year's 125cc class, which Moto3 replaces.
MotoGP rider entry list for the 2012 MotoGP season
With the signing of Stefan Bradl to LCR Honda, the total number of confirmed riders in MotoGP has now grown to 16, including 12 on factory prototype machines (traditional MotoGP machines from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati) and 4 CRT entries (cheaper entries, mainly based on production engines). With official confirmation of Suzuki's withdrawal still awaiting, though zero chance of them continuing, it looks like 12 is the maximum number of bikes that the factories are willing to supply, with Honda, Ducati and Yamaha all provding 4 each, 2 factory bikes and 2 satellite bikes.
After the initial leak by Ant West on his Facebook page on Monday, today, the Speed Master team confirmed that the Australian will be racing for the team in MotoGP in 2012. West will be racing as a CRT entry, and using an Aprilia RSV4-powered machine in the class. It is as yet unclear whether this bike will use an FTR chassis, or the chassis which Aprilia is believed to be developing for CRT machinery, based on the RSV4 road bike design. Aprilia will not be allowed to provide a chassis as used by the World Superbike teams, but the rules do allow that chassis to be used as a basis for a new or similar design. As long as the chassis is not as homologated for World Superbikes, the MotoGP stewards will rule it legal.
Ant West is to make a return to MotoGP in 2012, racing with the Speed Master team, which has entered the class under the new CRT rules. West made the announcement on his Facebook page - a small irony, as the last time he switched to MotoGP (with Kawasaki in 2007) he also announced the move using Social Media ahead of an official press release, at that time on his MySpace page.
Full details of the deal are yet to be ironed out, but it appears that West will be riding an FTR chassis with either a Honda or an Aprilia powerplant. MotoMatters.com understands that the deal is for one year only, but by signing a deal to ride a CRT machine, West hopes to gain important experience for 2013 and beyond.
Press releases from the 125cc and Moto2 teams after the race at Le Mans:
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