Qatar Test To Kick Off Full Season For FB Corse

The FB Corse project grows more serious in its intent. When it was first announced in September 2009, there was some scepticism as to whether the bike would actually make an appearance on the grid. The inline triple was based around the engine, designed and built by the Italian engineering firm Oral Engineering, which BMW had intended to use for their abandoned MotoGP project, and there was some doubt that the engine design could be competitive. As the start of the season approaches, however, the participation of FB Corse is looking ever more likely.

The team had previously announced that they had signed former Suzuki and Kawasaki MotoGP star John Hopkins, though Hopkins' manager denied that the American had put his signature to the deal and was still in negotiations. While Hopper's participation is still not 100% certain, the role of test rider has already been agreed with Luca Cadalora, former 125 and 250cc World Champion, and 500cc race winner. The 46-year-old Italian has followed the progress of the FB Corse project with interest, and has agreed to give the bike a shakedown test at Vallelunga in the next few weeks. 

After the test at Vallelunga, the team's objectives are more ambitious. Speaking to, the head of FB Corse Andrea Ferrari confirmed their intention to take part in the final official MotoGP test at Qatar set for March 17-19th, with a view to contesting all 18 races of the 2010 MotoGP season. The team would not make it to the February MotoGP tests at Sepang, instead heading to Spain for further private testing. "We'd prefer to stay closer to our engineering base," Ferrari said. "At this stage, it wouldn't be appropriate to go all the way to Malaysia."

The project is due to be introduced officially on January 21st in Italy, and John Hopkins is expected to be presented as the team's official rider at that event. The American will then remain in Italy with the team for the rest of the month, according to Ferrari.

The most important part of the package has yet to be announced, however. Running a MotoGP team is not cheap, and so far the FB Corse team has been silent on the subject of sponsors. Without a sponsor funding the team, making it to all 18 races would place an insurmountable financial obstacle.

Photos of the FB Corse bike are available over on

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One would trust that Hopkins himself is having some say in this and not just his manager. I'd be inclined to think that big $ are out of the question (if that's a sticking point - hopefully not), and he likely needs to get into his head that he'll be a development rider more than a racer with a new project like this.
Apparently there are no other offers around in WSB, oddly as he looked pretty competitive in the few races he did last season. Mind you, money is tight everywhere, and the grids will be reduced this season, sounds like, so rides are hard to come by.
In the last few years, on Kawasaki and the Honda, he's obviously had to override the bikes and the resulting bins have been as much due to his nature as a balls out racer as anything. Can't fault that.
I hope we see him back on the grid somewhere - he's too good to just fade away (or come back to America under present circumstances :-( )

I would rather see him retire then come back to the DMG/AMA series, the less legitimacy they have the sooner they will be down the road. Why come home for even less money? Why be a test mule for the current DMG rules pakage? Don't do it John, go with FBC, just my two cents.

A fellow around here had said that the bore on th FB Corsa inline 3 is already 81mm which is good news . At least if they do get sponsorship funds lined up they will be able to develop the machine in a consistant manor instead of a stop and start method . While the factories i would think would more or less leave the bike as they stand for all intent and purposes . Why spend the money on new parts if they are destined for the trash bin .
If this venture goes into the new 1000cc era with 2yrs of developement under its belt ( +added stroke to 1000cc ) I will be curious to see how well it hold up to the new $cylinder 1000cc production based engines . The production 1000cc based engines are going to suprise people with the amount of power they will get .