MotoGP 2012 1000cc Regulations: More Fuel, More Engines, "Claiming Rule"

The agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the Grand Prix Commission  - MotoGP's rule-making body - was clear: To thrash out some of the difficulties arising from their previous decision to revert MotoGP to 1000cc. Their hope was that after this meeting, the main points of the rules would be clear to everyone involved, and manufacturers and privateers could go off and start working on the machines which they will contest the 2012 MotoGP championship with.

Sure enough, after the meeting, the FIM issued a press release containing the new regulations agreed by the GP Commission, and it should come as no surprise that a host of details remain to be sorted out. The changes noted in the press release do point to some fascinating developments. Here are the main points for the 2012 regulations, which we will go into in more detail below:

Technical Specifications for 2012 for the MotoGP class

Capacity up to 1,000cc
Number of maximum cylinders 4
Maximum bore ø 81 mm
Minimum weight 150 kg (up to 800cc) and 153 kg (over 800cc)
Maximum number of engines available for use by each rider 6
Fuel tank capacity 21 liters

Exception for Claiming Rule Teams (CRT’s) approved by the Grand Prix Commission. The definition will be published by the end of May.

Maximum number of engines available for use by each rider 12
Fuel tank capacity 24 liters

Several things are immediately clear from the above:

  • The class will consist of three different formulas: the existing 800cc machines; some kind of factory 1000cc prototype machine; and a third, "Claiming Rule Team" bike, presumably built by the teams themselves and based on existing equipment.
  • MotoGP is to have a so-called "claiming rule", which usually means that one team can demand to be given certain specific parts of a race bike for a fixed fee. A claiming rule was first proposed for the engines in the Moto2 class, the point of which was to prevent teams from spending astronomical amounts on engines, by making them sell their very powerful engine to a rival team prepared to pay 20,000 euros. 

The rules confirm previous reports from Sepang that the MSMA  - the body representing the manufacturers - wish to keep the 800cc formula, to allow them to get a few more years out of their existing investment in the class. These machines will be running up against factory prototypes with 1000cc, but the limited stroke should help maintain parity between the factory machines.

To help keep the costs down for private entries - now apparently known as Claiming Rule Teams or CRTs - these bikes will be allowed more engines and - most crucially of all - more fuel to bring down the cost of development. Sticking more fuel into an engine is a simple and effective way of producing more power, and by limiting the factories while allowing the privateers more fuel, some kind of parity can be created at a limited cost. It is a simple and elegant solution, and one that has been put forward by one or two of the more astute commenters on previous stories here on

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That is going to take a little while to digest.

So, privateers, get more displacement, more motors and more fuel. That almost sounds like a real attempt at parity.

...they would adjust it to allow a certain 5-cylinder engine back in, I would probably be more optimistic.  It could even have its own 22L or 23L limit.

Most of them have been crushed already, and the tooling is being used to build RC212Vs. Nice idea, though. 

Imagine for a moment that Yamaha make a 1000cc prototype. And they then lease it to Tech3. Tech3 run as a CRT so can run the same bike with more engines and more fuel. Spies passes Rossi on the straight. Gresini then claim the engine. That's all going to get messy!

So clearly despite having an anouncement today, there's a lot of detail that has still been put off. And we still don't know what a CRT engine is. All that's happened today is a 3kg weight break for 800s.

So the factories will continue to develop their 800's while simultaneously developing a 1000? And save money?! Comical...

I thought the idea was the private teams would develop hot-rod 1000's from road bike engines against factory only prototype 800's. Maybe that was never the idea, I don't know.

So can a factory rider switch to the factory 1000 for a particular track that might favor stop and go grunt over 800 corner speed, and then switch back to his 800 for the next race?

And 3kg? That shouldn't be to much of a problem for the emaciated rider set to shave off their bodies. It's kind of shocking the major fashion houses haven't become title sponsors in MotoGP. Bony riders, bony models... meh, I guess the height difference would make for odd looking photographs.

You would think a company like Honda, the "NASA" of moto-racing, would already have carbon replacement Femurs and Tibias for their riders. Slackers...

I think there is some confusion.

Essentially, there are two sets of rules and any team could choose which to follow.

The "Factory" rules allow for any discplacement up to 1000cc. 800cc and under have a different weight limit. However, the 81mm bore limit should put 1000s and 800s about on par with each other so the factories can choose to continue with the motors they have or switch to 1000s if they want. No matter what discplacement they choose, they have 6 motors for the whole year.

The Claiming Rule Team rules allow for any motor to be used up to 1000cc with a lot more motors to get through the year. However, any motor they use can be claimed by another team. So, you can rest assured that no factory will run as a claiming rule team. Also, satellite or "lease-bike" teams will not be able to run as CRT's since the factories will not allow them to risk having a motor claimed.

Essentially, each team will choose which set of rules to follow and they will be stuck with that decision for the entire year. The current factory and satellite teams will all follow the "Factory" rules while any private teams (of which there are currently none) will probably want to follow the CRT rules since it is a lot cheaper.

Of course as the GPC "fine-tunes" these rules they will probably complicate them unecessarily.

Actually, that was quite helpful, thanks.

Devil will be in the details I guess, and I'm confident there will be at least one or two head scratchers...

The MSMA still want to race 800cc engines. Fuel is still stuck at a measly 21L. This entire formula change looks like an elaborate PR campaign that has been designed to end the satellite bikes and fatten Dorna's income statement. I don't see any change. More displacement is nice, but at 21L of fuel, the new teams are probably going to have to run pneumatic valve systems anyway. If they haven't raised fuel capacity, it's b/c several teams will be running under 81mm. Basically, this is the exact same formula as we have right now. Nothing is being done to improve the show or make the riders happy.

Basically, the MSMA have successfully changed formulas again which has allowed them to shutout private teams who were knocking on the door. Dorna has further shutout private teams by restricting entry to 22 bikes and they have ditched tens of millions in satellite expenditures.

This looks like a continuation of the current 800cc disaster.

they've restricted entry to only 22 bikes? that's ridiculous, after complaining for so long about only 17 bikes they want to put a cap on it now? formula 1 has 24 and the motogp grid would still look a little sparse with 22 riders on the grid, what happened to the good ol' days with 30+ riders? the more riders you have the better the show for everyone, even the front will get a little more competition, it's only natural.

Dorna give the IRTA teams money so they can afford to lease the expensive 800cc satellite bikes, and they pay the MSMA to produce to the satellite bikes. They get hit on both ends.

Currently, MotoGP can't keep world championship status unless Dorna continue to subsidize at least nine bikes, but the CRT rules basically allow the private teams to run WSBK-like engines.

Now that the private teams can make the grid without satellite bikes, it will be up to the manufacturers whether or not they want to continue spending money to keep the other manufacturers off of the podium, but Dorna won't be paying for it any longer.

Like Suppo said, no one seems to care about raising revenues, everyone is trying to figure out elaborate ways to cut costs. The only way the MSMA sign off on this formula is if Dorna pass along some of the savings to the MSMA. The MSMA are also probably interested in reconciling with Kawasaki and Aprilia b/c the LAST thing the MSMA want is more manufacturers in bed with the Flaminis.

I thought Dorna payed the teams start money and transported their stuff. What they did with the money and what got transported was up to the teams. They Hayate deal was unique. How do they pay the MSMA? You'd think Suzuki and Yamaha would put more bikes on the grid if it was so much money.

And no current WSBK engine fits the bore regulations. Is it just that the lumps of aluminum are about the right size that makes them WSBK-like?

The 22 bike cap is news to me. I remember the Dorna Chief saying the number in Moto2 was too many and he'd rather see around 24 in MotoGP. But I hadn't read about a cap.

Why is it that everytime they talk about saving money and expenses for the teams and manufacturers, they always end up spending more...

Hopefully this newest set of rules will attract one or two private efforts, but it won't bring back Kawasaki och any of the other "drop outs".
I can understand manufacturers like BMW and Aprilia when they switch over to WSBK instead... It's more stable regulations, closer and more entertaining competitions, about the same marketing value, and costs less....

I'm all for the return to 1000cc, as it will be more cost effective, lower corner speeds etc; but Dorna and the FIM are in danger of following F1 too much with it's constant rule changes. If it ain't broke...

The biggest problem with this rats nest of rules is they're too complicated to explain to non fans. Imagine the trouble teams will have trying to explain to potential sponsors why they should back them. instead of having a silly two-tier rules structure for MotoGP to keep the MSMA happy, now we have a three-tier rules structure that appears even more to blatantly favor the factories?!? For one example, even if the CRT regs give private teams some wouldn't surprise me a bit if, should any of these CRT-type bikes become even semi-competitive, that at least one of the factories will claim their engines each and every round. How pathetic would that be?

Time will tell if these new rules help to turn the fortunes of the MotoGP series around. I don't believe they are the answer, but we shall see....

There isn't anything that says this there but I would be willing to bet that only CRT teams can claim motors.

That could end up being the case. But of course, that will ultimately depend on how the CRT teams end up being defined, which we will have to wait at least a few months for.

My fear is that the factories, if they are the ones doing the claiming, will abuse this rule to no end. That could easily prevent many potential teams from going down this path. I mean, for example...imagine if all the cards fall into place and MotoCzysz enters a derivative of their C1. IF the team entered MotoGP as a CRT, I imagine that bike (or just it's engine) would be claimed simply because someone at one of the factories was merely curious about it....and consistently so if it was also competitive. I couldn't see them entering as a 1,000cc factory effort...but maybe that's what they would have to do to keep their potential secrets out of rival competitors hands??