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.
That does not mean that the series will be cheap, however. "Initially, it won't be cheap to build a Moto2 bike," Gresini said. "I think the number will be around the same as the amount for a factory Aprilia. Obviously, though, that investment will pay off over time." At the moment, a factory Aprilia 250 has to be returned at the end season, leaving the teams with nothing. Whereas in Moto2, the teams will have a chassis to use as a basis for next year, or possibly even sell on to less well-funded teams.
But costs may be less of a factor. GPOne.com cites "well-informed sources" as saying that Dorna will be very generous towards MotoGP teams who decide to enter the class. That would be a logical step for the organization that runs MotoGP, as Dorna is very heavily invested in Moto2, and they have to ensure that the class is a success. If they can fill the grid with relatively competitive bikes and provide a training ground for up-and-coming riders, they will have achieved that objective.
The question of whether this new class will provide young riders with the skills they will need when they move up to MotoGP remains unanswered, however. The purists point to factors such as the lack of a cassette-style quick-change gear box in the proposed engine, which limits rider choices and encourages them to ride around a problem, rather than learn how to fix it. But with a full grid expected next year, right now the purists are very much in the minority. Only time will tell how big the step is from Moto2 to MotoGP.