Moto2

Gresini To Enter Two-Man Moto2 Team In 2010

When the Moto2 class was announced, its stated purpose was to make the intermediate class affordable for small teams once again, after a period in which the cost of leasing a factory-spec Aprilia RSA 250 - effectively, the only way to be competitive - had reached around one million euros. As the entry date for the class approaches, it seems that those "small teams" being targeted are increasingly being found in the MotoGP class, and not just among the many privateer teams currently racing in the 250 class.

Earlier this week, news emerged that Tech 3 had a very keen interest in the Moto2 class, and today, GPOne.com is reporting that another MotoGP team will be following their example. Fausto Gresini, owner of the San Carlo Gresini Honda team in MotoGP, told GPOne.com that he will be entering a two rider team in the series next season. "I will be entering a Moto2 team on Friday," he told the authoratitive Italian website. "It will be the first thing I do when I arrive at Mugello, after having talked to (Dorna CEO) Carmelo Ezpeleta."

The attraction for Gresini - as for Tech 3 - is the chance to enter a championship they have a chance of winning, an objective which is currently impossible in MotoGP. With engine performance expected to be identical - with engines to be allocated to the teams at random, and only handed over at the start of the weekend, to be returned immediately after the race - the series will be much more about having an efficient team and a talented rider, rather than enough money to afford competitive equipment.

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Tech 3 Team Could Swap MotoGP For Moto2

The Moto2 category, brought in to replace the 250 class, is proving to be a big hit with the people it was aimed at: The teams. The series organizer is already predicting that the 34 available places will be over-subscribed, meaning that the grid could feature no 250s at all in 2010.

Interest is not just coming from the current crop of 250 teams though. The Tech 3 team, currently active in MotoGP with Colin Edwards and James Toseland, has already expressed an interest, and in an interview with the French motorcycle magazine MotoRevue, the team manager Herve Poncharal explains just why.

"<Satellite> MotoGP teams like us have little more to do at a weekend than just adjust the bike and fiddle with the settings. We have nothing more to do, it's stipulated in our contracts that we are not allowed to make any modifications to the machines which have been placed at our disposal. If you have a highly-skilled team, it's hard to hang on to them if you don't have enough of a challenge for your boys for the entire year." Poncharal's problems are caused by the contracts by which the satellite teams are supplied bikes. The bikes are only leased to the team, and as a consequence, there's only a very limited number of options the teams have for setting the bikes up.

Poncharal sees Moto2 as a chance to hang on to the young engineers he is bringing into motorcycle racing, as well as a chance for fellow team founder Guy Coulon to get back to designing and building chassis, a skill he is currently unable to practice. "Moto2 will allow us to get back to what we used to do during the winter and the Grand Prix. We have young engineers who do fewer races than their counterparts in Supersport. If we can give them more work to do, they are more likely to want to stay with us."

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Paolo Flammini: "No Conflict Between Moto2 And Supersport"

Ever since the concept of the Moto2 class was announced, all eyes have been on the Flammini brothers for their reaction to a set of rules which seemed to be on a direct collision course with Infront Motor Sports and the World Supersport class. The temperature was raised even further last week, when the Permanent Committee, consisting of Dorna and the FIM, announced that Honda had been awarded the contract to supply engines to the Moto2 class, and that the engine would be loosely based on Honda's roadgoing CBR600RR unit.

So far, all our attempts to obtain a response from the Flamminis and IMS have been unsuccessful, but where MotoGPMatters.com has failed, the extremely well-connected GPOne.com website has had more success. GPOne.com asked Paolo Flammini directly whether he believed that the new Moto2 class as it currently stands conflicts with the World Supersport class run by Paolo and his brother Maurizio, and Flammini said it did not: "The philosophy in Moto2 is correct, in my opinion, because it does not conflict with our Supersport. It's a prototype motorcycle, at least the chassis is prototype and the engine is unique to the class: So it has no relation to our philosophy of motorcycles directly related to those freely available to the public, for use on the roads. In other words, the Honda CBR600RR races in the World Supersport series ... and above all, it races against bikes from four other manufacturers."

The issue is not yet completely settled, though. Flammini made it clear that IMS would be keeping their options open for a while yet. "We may examine the new rules more carefully, to evaluate whether there are points which conflict with our rules and our contracts." It may not quite be a green light from IMS for Moto2, but it's a lot closer to it than it has been for a long time.

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More Moto2 Details - Spec Engine Will Be Heavily Modified CBR600 Unit

On Saturday, shortly before qualifying practice for the MotoGP class was about to kick off, the FIM and Dorna released a joint statement announcing that Honda had won the contract to supply the standard engine for Moto2. But the announcement from the Permanent Bureau, as the FIM / Dorna committee styles itself, was light on detail, saying only that Honda "offers high level performance engine," and that "the horse power will be over 150."

After the announcement, Shuhei Nakamoto, vice president of HRC, spoke to GPOne.com, revealing more information about the engine. The engine, which Motorcycle News reports has been under development for the past two years, will be based on the unit which powers Honda's roadgoing CBR600RR sports bike. The engine will have a wet clutch and unusually for a race bike will not feature a cassette-style gearbox. Cassette gearboxes allow the gear shafts to be extracted from the side of the bike, without having to remove the engine from the chassis.

Honda will provide an ECU for the engine, but it is unknown whether that ECU will have traction control capabilities. The current World Supersport machines are not using a great deal of traction control, but the extra power from the Moto2 engine may make it more of a necessity. The shape and size of the airbox will be unregulated, and up to the teams to get the most out of.

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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.

___________________________________________________________

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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.

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