The two parties on either side of the argument over the 2012 rules in MotoGP - 1000cc, a maximum bore size of 81mm and the freedom to enter production-based engines - are circling slowly, sizing each other up. And from time to time, one party or another fires a broadside, in the hope of exposing weaknesses in the other side's arguments.
Today is no exception. In an interview in the German-language magazine Speedweek, Paolo Flammini took another potshot at the MotoGP series over the proposal to allow production-based engines to be used. This time, though, the man who runs the World Superbike championship together with his brother Maurizio tried another tack, by claiming that the production-based bikes just would not be competitive.
"I can't see any way that someone with [a production-based bike] can be competitive," Flammini told Speedweek. "Production-based bikes will lower the level of the World Championship." Flammini did say that he was sympathetic to MotoGP returning to a larger capacity. "I can see that the future for MotoGP will be 1000cc, but everything should be a prototype: Engine AND chassis!" Flammini said.
Doubts have been expressed by extremely authoratitive sources in the paddock that Flammini will be able to block any move to allow production-based engines in MotoGP. The consensus of opinion seems to be that the contract which the Infront Motor Sports has with the FIM grants them the exclusive right to organize a world championship for modified production motorcycles. This would meant that as long as the bikes use prototype chassis and significantly modified production engines, Infront would not have a case against the FIM.
The fact that Infront Motor Sports has yet to act against FIM over the Moto2 class seems to support that opinion. But Flammini warned that just because there has not been any legal action, they have ruled that option out altogether. "We are monitoring this class very carefully, and examining whether it breaches the contract we have with the FIM," Flammini told Speedweek. He conceded that the decision was not necessarily up to them, though. "The final decision is up to the FIM," he said.