In a press conference held today during the IRTA tests at Jerez, Vito Ippolito, the president of the FIM, and Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, announced a series of measures aimed at cutting costs in MotoGP. More details to follow, but here are the rule changes:
- At the end of the 2009 season, teams will only be allowed to use 5 engines for the last 7 races. This leaves the previous rule unchanged, answering speculation that the number of engines could be reduced after the Hungarian MotoGP round was dropped from the calendar, which would have meant 5 engines having to last for 8 races.
- For 2010, each rider will have 6 engines to last the entire 18 race season. The engines will be sealed, and Dorna will be able to monitor remotely which engines are being used as the riders exit the pit lane.
- The penalty for any infraction of this rule is that the rider will be docked 10 points from his championship points total. The manufacturer will also have 10 points deducted in the manufacturer standings, regardless of whether the rider was on a factory bike or a private bike.
- Testing will be limited to 8 days in total next year, with just 2 tests during the season after the races at Catalunya and Brno.
- As of 2010, only one bike per rider will be permitted. Teams will be allowed to scrutineer one machine for each rider. If a rider damages a chassis, a replacement chassis will have to be offered for technical inspection.
- Friday is under discussion. Talks are still ongoing about whether the Friday afternoon practice session will be dropped.
- Wheel rim widths are to be limited to two different sizes for front wheels, and one different size on the rear.
- Only 5 technicians will be allowed to touch the bike during practice sessions. Once practice sessions are over, more people will be allowed to work on the bike, but this number will be limited to 5 during practice.
- The minimum weight will be increased by 2kg for all engine configurations.
- In 2010, no rider eligible for Rookie of the Year will be allowed to go straight to a factory team. Instead, they will have to go to a private or satellite team for at least one year, after which they will be eligible to join a factory team.
On the Moto2 series, the MSMA had put forward a proposal to turn the series into a spec engine series. The MSMA felt this would be the best way of preventing costs spiralling out of control, by basically removing the pressure of competition, leaving the teams free to focus on chassis development.
~ UPDATE ~
Mike Webb, technical director for MotoGP, clarified the rules on wheel rim width for us. "It was a spot of poor translation," he told us, when we asked about the wheel rim widths. The information published earlier that the rim width would be limited to two inches on the front and three on the rear was incorrect. It is the quantity of permitted widths which has been limited, not the width itself.