More Details On The FB Corse MotoGP Project

Of the two new MotoGP projects currently being bandied around in the press, the candidate which looks most likely to actually make it onto the grid in the near future is surely the FB Corse machine. The bike - a custom-built chassis housing an 800cc three cylinder, based on the design for BMW's MotoGP bike by the Oral Engineering Group and discussed here a couple of weeks ago - actually exists and has been seen by journalists, and appears to be reaching fruition. Indeed, so far advanced is the project that the Italian website Motocorse.com spoke with one of the two men behind the project, Andrea Ferrari (the F of FB, the other being Sergio Bertocchi), who gave a summary of where the project stands and how close the team are to actually signing a rider and putting the bike onto the track.

According to Ferrari, the bike is now complete, after the team finished the chassis into which the Oral-designed in-line triple will be dropped, but now that it is ready to ride, the project faces its first hurdle. The obstacle to be overcome is the bike's semi-automatic transmission, which used a hydraulically-assisted gear change, allowing a rider to shift gears in around 20 milliseconds. All forms of assisted gear shifting were outlawed at a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission earlier this year, and so now the FB Corse team are working on a manual gear change, a problem which is not particularly complex, but time-consuming all the same.

When asked about the advantages and disadvantages of running a triple, Ferrari pointed to weight as the main advantage the bike has. Under FIM rules, triples may weigh 7.5 kg less than the four cylinder bikes currently on the grid, about a 5% weight saving. The downside, fairly obviously, is that it is harder to get the torque and horsepower from a triple that a four cylinder of the same capacity offers. This problem is made worse by the new engine regulations allowing the teams only 6 engines to last an entire season in 2010. Nonetheless Ferrari feels that they can be competitive, telling Motocorse.com that the bike is already producing 90 Nm of torque at 18,000 rpm, a figure that equates to around 225 horsepower. The engine has also run 2,500 km on the bench without suffering any mechanical failures, and so reliability should not be a problem.

The bike will be running Magnetti Marelli electronics based on the Marvel 4.5 unit, the top spec ECU used by almost all of the major manufacturers in MotoGP, making it an almost entirely Italian effort. Only the suspension will not be Italian, the team initially going with Ohlins suspension which the rest of the MotoGP paddock also runs, but plans exist to work with Italian suspension manufacturer Bitubo.

The other part of the package that may or may not be Italian is the rider. Alex de Angelis has been linked most closely to the ride, though Ferrari was at pains to point out that none of the riders the team had talked to had signed anything yet. But the name that came as a surprise was Leon Camier, Ferrari revealing that the team had had several meetings with the man almost certain to take the BSB championship this season. Ferrari also said they had had exploratory meetings with Niccolo Canepa and Toni Elias. The team is also looking for an experienced rider to do the bulk of the testing work, and both Shinya Nakano and Italian rider Roberto Rolfo would be ideally suited to this role, according to FB Corse principal Ferrari.

The project has received a great deal of support from Dorna and Carmelo Ezpeleta, with Dorna spending a lot of time evaluating the project, but Ferrari told Motocorse.com that they only really wanted one guarantee: that the bike would be competitive. To this end, both Dorna and the MSMA had offered concessions to allow the bike to get onto the grid, giving the team more time to make the changes necessary to comply fully with the regulations. Dorna and the MSMA have offered to allow the bike to run for a single year with the hydraulic and pneumatic systems as currently designed, while FB Corse works on making the bike completely compliant.

Initially, the bike was scheduled to make its debut at the final round of MotoGP at Valencia in early November, but that plan has been shelved, allowing the team to concentrate their resources on completely redesigning the gearbox. Instead, the bike will run regularly at the Vallelunga track just outside Rome until the weather stops play, at which point the team will head to Spain, to test at the tracks that host MotoGP there and get their first real points of reference, and see where they stand.

To help fund the project, a reality TV show is planned, the cameras following team members 24 hours a day as the project gets underway, while an Italian radio station could also both follow and sponsor the FB Corse team. All in all, it looks like we might actually see this bike on the grid next season. Just how competitive the bike actually is is another question altogether, but if Dorna is prepared to put money into the project, then it is surely a realistic proposition.

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Comments

Kropotkin,

Where is MotoCzysz amongst all of the changes happening this season? You would think that they would use the oportunity of the startup to Moto2 to get involved in the MotoGP series - or the oportunity to lease a Yamaha engine for next season. And we can see from this story that Dorna is looking for and supporting new entries to the grid - so why hasn't MotoCzysz taken advantage of any of these avenues to at least get a foot in the door of MotoGP, even if it isn't their original idea / engine layout, and then build from there... ?

I would love to hear that MotoCzysz are doing something...

Thanks

Total votes: 48

It's nice to see FB Corse are making progress. Even if they are 2-3 sec off the pace it's better than the Kaw and Pramac team have done most of the time. Competing at this level is not easy and just getting into the paddock and finishing races should be considered a major success.

Has Motoczysz ever entered/finished a race with their 990 bike? Even a club race? They've entered one race, the TTXGP, with an electric bike and had a DNF so I don't think their organization is up to the level of a Moto2 effort. Not to mention their layout is dependent on the counter-rotating longitudinal dual crank engine and a cbr600 is just about the polar opposite. Too bad it is a spec engine or they may have been able to adapt their bike and have something besides the mostly bland CBR lookalikes we are seeing.

From my experience Dorna is not interested in promoting US-based stuff, KRSR couldn't make it work in MotoGP and I didn't see Dorna offering to pay their bills like they do for some riders and teams.

Total votes: 48

From what I've read, MotoCzysz are unfortunately in no position at the moment to work on their C1 MotoGP effort. Not only was that effort shifted from a potential MotoGP machine to a potential Superbike, but it is now probably on ice altogether as they appear to not have sufficient funding to continue development. Where they do appear to have funding is with their E1pc "Digital Superbike"....the bike they raced at the TTXGP at the Isle of Man this year.

Interestingly, MotoCzysz did use a CBR600 for testing out their front suspension package on something other than their own machine. But my S.W.A.G. is that MotoCzysz aren't interested in the Moto2 class, and are focusing on the E1pc instead...

Total votes: 46

...Illmor? I would think that if they were going to give it another go now might be the time. At least they started with an 800cc platform and if any new development has taken place since their last showing they might be more competitive. They could even lease an engine at first and place it in their chassis. I would love to see them try again.

Total votes: 50

Well, that all seems reasonably sound. No doubt it is a remarkable amount of effort but the details seems to be accounted for.

It would be nice if the team was allowed to use the hydraulically-activated gearbox initially. It might b a slight advantage but I am sure that is more than countered by how new the bike, team and rider combination will be.

Total votes: 51