There are many reasons to look forward to the 2012 MotoGP season, not least because of the influx of new entries expected because of the new rules. And we are drawing tantalizingly close to finding out the names of the teams involved, but at the moment, their names are still a carefully guarded secret. Hence the general sense of frustration when the FIM today issued a press release that is pregnant with possibility, yet almost entirely devoid of content: After announcing at Estoril that 13 teams and 21 riders had entered, at Le Mans, Dorna and IRTA reviewed the list of entries and whittled it down to 11 teams and 16 riders, and the FIM issued the press release shown below: No names, no hints, no information.
So what do we know about the 2012 entries? One thing that we do know is that Norton have submitted an entry for two slots on the grid. However, the iconic British brand will not be accepted as a CRT team, instead, Norton will have to compete on the same footing as Suzuki, with just 21 liters of fuel and 9 engines - with manufacturers who have not won a MotoGP race in recent years being given an extra engine allocation. Beyond Norton, there are very few factories believed to be interested. There remain whispers of KTM reviving its old V4 project, but a direct entry is thought to be unlikely.
The bulk of the new entries will be as CRT Teams, the majority of whom will be entering from Moto2. Marc VDS Racing, Blusens, Kiefer, SAG, Ioda and Pons are all believed to have an interest in the class, with Marc VDS playing the most prominent role, partnering with Suter to develop the Swiss CRT machine, based around a BMW S1000RR engine. Whether any or all of the above names are actually entered - or accepted - is due to be announced after the next round of MotoGP at Barcelona. Then we shall finally have something to sink our teeth into.
Below is the full text of the rather uniformative press release from the FIM:
MotoGP Class Applications for 2012 Season
On 30 April 2011, the FIM announced that 13 teams containing 21 riders, not currently participating in the MotoGP class, had been provided with terms and conditions for participation in 2012. Those teams were invited to confirm their interest and submit comprehensive details of their plans for participation to IRTA. The deadline was Saturday, 14 May.
During the Le Mans event the applications were reviewed by IRTA and Dorna. Eleven teams comprising 16 riders have now been invited to participate in the next stage of selection. These teams have until Friday 3 June, to lodge a security deposit with IRTA.
At the Catalunya Grand Prix Dorna and IRTA will decide which teams will then be offered a contract of participation for 2012. Teams applying to participate in the CRT category will also need to have their application approved by the Grand Prix Commission members.
Following the Catalunya Grand Prix a list of accepted teams will be published.