The move back to 1000cc by the MotoGP class is looking ever more inevitable. The issue was discussed in the Grand Prix Commission at Valencia, where the MSMA finally accepted that the switch was inevitable, reversing its previous opposition to the change after its own proposal - to lease 800cc engines which private teams could then build their own chassis round - was rejected. The chief drivers behind this project have been Dorna and the FIM, though IRTA is also fully supportive of the scheme, and FIM President Vito Ippolito once again emphasized the importance of making the switch back to 1000cc in an interview with the Italian magazine Motosprint, which Autosport has summarized on its site.
Speaking ahead of the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, due to be held on December 11th at the FIM's headquarters in Geneva, Ippolito told Motosprint "The 800cc formula hasn't worked because the power is about the same, while corner speed has increased. And costs have increased too." He pointed out that the manufacturers had accepted the need for change, and that nothing stood in the way of the regulations being changed after the current agreement with the MSMA ends in 2012.
The one thing that many people - most notably, World Superbike organizers Infront Motor Sports - believe is standing in the way of a switch back to 1000cc is the suggestion that engines based on production bikes could be allowed to take part in MotoGP, but Ippolito dismissed objections to this proposal. The key difference, Ippolito told Motosprint, was whether the bike was eligible to be homologated or not. The debate about the issue ended right there, Ippolito underlined. "It doesn't matter whether the engine is 1000, 1200, 750cc - MotoGP bikes cannot be homologated, so they can have whatever engine they want," Ippolito said.
Speaking to Motomatters.com, IRTA representative Herve Poncharal agreed that the move was necessary. "Something has to change," Poncharal said, "we can't go on like this. MotoGP is too expensive right now." Poncharal expressed the hope that the switch to 1000cc and the use of engines based on production models would reinvigorate the class. The influx of frame builders and specialist parts producers which have flooded the new Moto2 class point the way to the possibilities a 1000cc class would offer. "Maybe we could have 25 riders on the grid again," Poncharal said.
The riders are almost unanimous in their support of a return to a larger capacity. At Valencia, Nicky Hayden immediately jumped on the idea, answering questions about whether he supported the switch with "Hell yeah! Why not make it 1200cc?" And Hayden is far from alone; speaking to the Italian broadcaster RAI Sport, Valentino Rossi reiterated his support for a return to 1000cc. "Going back to 1000cc and cutting electronics by 70%. This would be a very good move," Rossi said.
Rossi looks like getting his way, at least as far as the engine capacity is concerned. Reducing electronics is another matter altogether, one that is likely to be impossible to police and something that the manufacturers have so far been opposed to. At least a larger capacity is a start.