The FIM today announced the official number of entries for the Moto2 class, and the numbers are stunning: 47 teams submitted entries, for a total of 91 riders. Any worries about a lack of entries have now been completely discarded, the huge numbers offering Dorna and the FIM an embarrassment of riches.
The press release from the FIM also offered one interesting detail: All of the entries submitted were for Moto2 machines, with the exception of one two-rider team. That team is believed to be Gilera, if reports over at GPOne.com are correct.
But that might not mean that the Gilera's are the only two strokes on the grid. GPOne.com is also reporting that Aprilia are to offer a number of RSA 250s to selected teams to compete on next year. Best of all, the bikes would be provided free of charge, though spares and other parts may be charged for. With the going price for a factory-spec Aprilia RSA 250 currently around the million euro mark for a year's lease, that is an offer not to be sneezed at, and even with costs for spares, probably cheaper than running a Moto2 bike.
The move is seen as revenge on the part of Aprilia and Piaggio, the company that owns the Noale factory. Aprilia feel they have been completely snubbed by the Grand Prix Commission over the Moto2 class, and they may be hoping that by providing RSA bikes free of charge, they can take the championship from the Honda-powered Moto2 bikes in the final year of the 250cc bikes' existence, before they are consigned to the dustbin of history. Aprilia have good reason to believe that this plan would be successful: At Jerez last week, Roby Rolfo - a three-time winner in the 250 class - lapped the Spanish circuit around a second slower than the current lap record aboard the BQR Moto2 bike, probably the most developed of the current crop of Moto2 machines. Eventually, the Moto2 bikes will catch up with the 250cc times, but if Aprilia can take the title next year, they will steal the Moto2 class' thunder.
Obviously, entries for 47 teams and 91 riders are far too many, and the numbers will have to be cut. The Grand Prix selection commission, consisting of Dorna, the FIM and IRTA, are due to meet at the Catalunya Grand Prix in Barcelona in two weeks' time to whittle down the list, and create the provisional list for next year's combined Moto2/250cc class. Priority is likely to be given to MotoGP satellite teams first, then current 250cc teams, and finally 125cc teams. But given the large numbers of entries, it seems unlikely that any of the 125 teams will end up holding a golden Moto2 ticket, with the MotoGP satellite teams (all of whom, except for Grupo Francisco Hernando, have submitted entries) and the top 250 teams likely to take all of the available spaces.