Moto2

Official: Honda To Be Moto2 Supplier, Practice Back To One Hour

The Grand Prix Commission met today at Jerez, to discuss a number of rule changes. Below is the press release issued by the GP Commission, more reaction to follow:

The Permanent Bureau composed of Messrs. Vito Ippolito (FIM President) and Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna CEO) in a meeting held on May 2 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), unanimously decided to introduce the following amendment to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

Application 2010

Moto2 class:

Amongst various offers received, it has been decided that the single engine supplier will be Honda who offers high level performance engine. The horse power will be over 150.

Next year only this category will also be open to the current 250cc motorcycles.

___________________________________________________________

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Messrs Vito Ippolito (FIM President), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Sport Director), Javier Alonso (Dorna) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on May 2 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), decided to introduce the following amendments to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

Application from May 15, Le Mans Grand Prix.

1.13.1

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Honda To Be Awarded Moto2 Contract?

The Moto2 saga is edging to a conclusion, and the well-connected Italian site GPOne.com is reporting the preliminary results. GPOne.com sums the series up in Jeopardy! style: Honda, free, Ten Kate, open, today or tomorrow. Which are the one-word answers to the most important questions surrounding the class.

Put less briefly, the class will look as follows: Honda will be awarded the engine contract for the Moto2 series, and will make the engines available to Dorna. Dorna will make the engines available to the teams at zero cost. The engines will be farmed out to the Ten Kate Racing workshop in the Netherlands for maintenance, as Ten Kate have a lot of experience with Honda's four-stroke racing engines. Tires for the class will be open to competition, so there will not be a spec tire, and the decision is expected to be formally announced today or tomorrow.

With these measures, Dorna hopes to have a grid of 28 bikes competing in the Moto2 class next year, and GPOne.com says that contrary to earlier reports, the 2010 season will not see mixed grids. This means that 2010 will see the middleweight class featuring only the 600cc four strokes, with the 250cc two strokes sent off to an early grave, or more likely dispatched to race in various local series (or grace collectors' front rooms, no doubt).

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Moto2 Engine Will Be Either Honda Or Yamaha

With a final decision expected on who will supply engines to the Moto2 series expected at the Jerez MotoGP race, just a few days from now, word is starting to emerge of the candidates for the position. Initially, it was thought that Kawasaki would be awarded the contract, but today, Motorcycle News is reporting that the Moto2 contract will go to either Yamaha or Honda.

According to MCN's Matthew Birt, Kawasaki had declined to bid for the contract, but both Yamaha and Honda had submitted formal proposals to supply the contract. Under the proposals, the winning bidder would sell the engines to Dorna, who would then provide them to the teams. A crucial point in the discussions centers on the ability of the factories to provide spare parts and engineering backup to the teams, to ensure the continuity of the series.

This point is probably the reason that the contract was only open to the major Japanese factories. As a known quantity with proven track records in building and supplying race-ready engines, the risk of awarding the Moto2 contract to Honda or Yamaha is limited. But the fact that this deal was hammered out in the Grand Prix Commission, which has the MSMA, representing the manufacturers actively involved in MotoGP, as one of its members, makes it hard to escape the suggestion that this was a deal which was never going to be open to outsiders.

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Decisions On Moto2 Engine And 1 Hour Practice Expected At Jerez

Ever since the Grand Prix Commission announced that the new Moto2 class would be contested by 600cc four strokes, the new class has been surrounded by controversy and argument. And argument continues to dog the class at Motegi, but this time, the argument is much more positive. A decision was expected from the Grand Prix Commission on who would be awarded the contract to supply the spec engine to the class at the Japanese Grand Prix, but the members of the commission face a problem.

According to Motorcycle News' Matthew Birt, the problem is that while it was expected that there would be only a single tender submitted, it seems that more than one manufacturer is interested in the class. As a consequence, the bids will have to be studied in more detail before the contract can be awarded, and that therefore the decision will have to wait until the next race at Jerez in a week's time.

Rumors had previously emerged that Kawasaki would be awarded the contract, but the news that other parties are interested complicates the situation. No news is available on who those other bidders might be, although several companies, including the US-based Cosentino Engineering had expressed a firm interest in the class. But the most likely party to be awarded the contract will be one of the major Japanese manufacturers, if only because they already have the capacity in place to supply the 100+ engines such a class is likely to require.

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Aprilia To Pull Out Of 250 Class From 2010?

There's an interesting guest at Assen this weekend: Giampiero Sacchi, VP Racing for the Piaggio Group, here to watch the progress of Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano aboard Aprilia's latest superbike, the RSV4 Factory. But what is surprising the Italian journalists is that the otherwise talkative Sacchi is so uncharacteristically silent. Sacchi's reticence to talk is generating rumors, also emerging from Motegi that Aprilia is about to make a big announcement in the very near future about their vision on motorcycle racing.

What the rumors are predicting, according to two different stories on GPOne.com, one from the World Superbike round at Assen, the other from the MotoGP round at Motegi, is that Aprilia is on the verge of announcing its complete withdrawal from the 250 class from next season. The rumors have some credibility to them, as Aprilia have made no secret of their disgust at the way the decision to dump the two-stroke 250s in favor of a 600cc four-cylinder four-stroke engine was taken, with no regard for either the interests of or the suggestions made by Aprilia. But the rumors must very much be regarded as just rumors, as one of the key pieces of evidence put forward by Claudio Porozzi of GPOne.com is Sacchi's very refusal to discuss the matter.

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First Run Out For Moto2 Bikes In Spanish Championship

The transition from 250cc two strokes to 600cc four-stroke Moto2 bikes  has been nowhere near as smooth as the move from 500cc two-stroke GP bikes to the 990cc MotoGP machines. The main culprit for the difficulty is a question of semantics, and arguments about how to define production racing. To avoid a confrontation between Infront Motor Sports, who run the World Superbike series, and Dorna, who run MotoGP, a decision has been made to make the series a single engine manufacturer series, getting round the problem of production engines altogether. Hopefully.

But while Dorna and the Grand Prix Commission examine the practicalities of the series, in the Spanish Championship (the CEV, coincidentally - or perhaps not - also run by Dorna), the Moto2 bikes have already taken to the track in anger. The LaGlisse YM2, based on a Yamaha R6, and the Blusens BQR bike, using a Honda CBR600RR powerplant, both took part in qualifying for the Formula Extreme race - a class most akin to Superstock 1000 - at the CEV season opener at Albacete, and acquitted themselves highly respectably. The LaGlisse YM2 qualified in 5th, just over 1.3 seconds off Ivan Silva's pole time, set using a Kawasaki ZX10R, while the Blusens bike set the 6th fastest time just a tenth slower than the LaGlisse bike.

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Kawasaki To Get Moto2 Spec Engine Deal?

Ever since it was realized that any attempt to field modified road bikes in Moto2 would be scuppered by a nuclear strike from Infront Motor Sports, the organization that runs World Superbikes and has an exclusive contract with the FIM to race production motorcycles, Dorna, the FIM and the teams have been casting about for a solution. What they came up with to avoid the confrontation with the Flammini brothers was for the the engines to be supplied by a single supplier, thus handily sidestepping the "production" problem altogether.

The contract for the spec engine was to open to public tender, and would last for three years. But ever since the proposal emerged at the IRTA Test at Jerez, there have been murmurings that the deal to supply the series had already been stitched up behind closed doors, and the open tender process would be a mere formality.

According to Visordown's MotoGP mole - an anonymous but often well-informed source - this is precisely what has happened. Visordown is reporting that the Moto2 engine deal will be awarded to Kawasaki, as a way of keeping them in the series without the Japanese manufacturer burning through cash in the way that their MotoGP program did.

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Moto2 Confirmed As A Single Class

Just a single throwaway line, yet so full of meaning. The FIM today issued a press release with the outcome of deliberations of the Grand Prix Commission:

"For 2010

The commission unanimously accepted the proposition of the MSMA to have a “One Make Engine Regulation” in the Moto2 class. The name of the manufacturer will be announced later."

What this means is that, as expected, the Moto2 class will use a spec engine. And there are a lot of good reasons to do so, not least the history of conflict between Dorna, the Flamminis and the FIM over the definition of a prototype. By requiring a spec engine from a single supplier, any teams being tempted to use an engine out of a road bike, and thereby incurring the wrath of the Flamminis and Infront Motor Sports, the organization which runs World Superbikes, would have to think again.

Of course the ostensible reason - and a very good one - is that by removing the need to compete on the basis of engine development, the costs of running a Moto2 bike will be drastically reduced. This is a perfectly valid line of reasoning, though the fact remains that teams go racing to win, and will spend whatever money they can rustle up to try and do so. Though the bikes may not end up costing as much as the Aprilia RSA 250s they are meant to replace, they are unlikely to be cheap.

The one question left is who will be awarded the engine contract. MotoGPMatters.com has already been contacted by one engine supplier, desperate to submit a tender for the contract, but unable to find the proper channels to approach the FIM through. Knowing the FIM, the process will be open, transparent and honest. But it would help if they published the guidelines for application somewhere publicly.

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Ten Kate Lose Interest In Moto2 Over Single Engine Proposal

When the Moto2 class was announced, the purpose behind the series was immediately clear. The introduction of a 20,000 euro engine claiming rule and the emphasis on a prototype chassis was aimed at tempting private companies into the series to build chassis for lightly tweaked production engines. After years of Aprilia being able to pick and choose winners by deciding who to supply with factory-spec 250s, and often ending up with the highest bidder, something had to be done about reducing the price of competing in MotoGP's support class.

And after the rules were announced, a number of teams and chassis builders showed an interest in the class, just as Dorna and the FIM had predicted and hoped. There was, however, a rather large fly in the ointment. The elephant in the room during all these announcements was the agreement that FGSport - now Infront Motor Sports - claims to have with the FIM, giving them the monopoly on world championship racing with production motorcycles, and allowing Dorna to race with prototypes. 

At the IRTA tests in Jerez, the FIM and Dorna shocked the motorcycle racing world by announcing a possible solution to this thorny problem: the MSMA had proposed that a single engine supplier be appointed for the class, eliminating the most costly part of running a bike in the class. A sensible proposal, and realistically the only way around the problem of using production engines, but the proposal has also had the unfortunate effect of scaring off the very people the class was intended to attract. 

The Ten Kate team, for example, had previously indicated that they were very interested in the series. But the single engine proposal had changed their minds. MotoGPMatters.com cornered Ronald and Gerrit ten Kate of the Ten Kate Honda team about the new proposals, and asked their opinion.

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Those MotoGP Rule Changes In Full - GPS Ban Slips Under The Radar

The FIM today sent out a press release containing the full details of the rule changes announced by Carmelo Ezpeleta and Vito Ippolito at Jerez yesterday. Most of these have been discussed yesterday, but a few changes appear to have been missed by Ippolito when he made the announcements, and these are things which are certainly worthy of our attention.

Some of these had already been announced, such as the ban on electronic suspension and ceramic composite materials for brake disks. But others are new, and rather puzzling. Potentially useful technologies such as variable valve timing and variable valve lift is essentially old technology, and available on a number of road vehicles, including Honda's VFR800 sports tourer. But more mysifying is the ban on variable exhaust systems. The question is, will this ban mean that systems like Yamaha's EXUP system - going on for 20 years old - would not be permitted?

Another incomprehensible rule is the ban on electronic steering dampers, available on Honda's CBR1000RR superbike for the past several years, and hardly either expensive or technically complicated.

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