Feelings are still mixed about the new Moto2 series, with the purists shedding a tear over the death of the 250 two-strokes, the pessimists fearing a tidal wave of lawsuits emanating from Switzerland and IMS if any production bike engines are used in the machines, while the optimists see this as a very affordable way of building interesting racing machinery. But if the fans and pundits are divided, the teams are quietly getting on with examining the rules and evaluating the options for competing.
The Blusens BQR team were the first team to break cover, launching the Moto2 bike they will be fielding in the Spanish CEV championship just last week. And it looks like they are not alone. In an interview with the motorsports website Crash.net, Herve Poncharal of the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team has announced their intention to start building a bike ready for the 2010 season. Poncharal's reasoning is interesting, and builds on the findings which came out of the IRTA talks which happened in Bologna at the end of January. The Moto2 championship would function even more as a feeder series, with the satellite teams picking up promising young talent, and grooming them to be ready for MotoGP, first with the satellite teams, and if the rider starts to achieve some of his potential, then they could move on to a factory team.
The benefits for the satellite teams would be twofold: firstly, it would give them a platform where they could be competitive, and actually have a chance of winning races and championships. Secondly, it would give them closer links to the factory teams in MotoGP, with a chance of more support from the factories in the top class.
But Poncharal's words highlight the potential threat which the Moto2 championship could pose to MotoGP. Poncharal told Crash.net "if, as an independent team, we want to play the big team fighting against Fiat Yamaha, Ducati Marlboro etc then we are wrong! Because we will never have the same means and we will never have the same budget, we will always be one level down. But we can still be happy and successful as an independent team."
The danger is that if the satellite teams find much more success in Moto2 than in MotoGP, they may start to consider whether their participation in MotoGP is actually worth the huge expense. If satellite teams become too successful in Moto2, they might start focussing their efforts on that success, and start pulling out of the premier class. If they feel they have a shot at a championship for a tenth of the expense of a top 10 finish in MotoGP, then grids in the premier class could thin out even further. And that surely can't have been the goal when the new rules were drawn up.