The FB Corse MotoGP bike took a step closer to finding its way onto the grid today. According to the Italian sports broadcaster Sport Mediaset, the team has been given a special dispensation by Dorna and the FIM to test the bike outside of the official MotoGP testing events, with a contracted rider rather than a test rider. As a consequence, Garry McCoy has until February 28th - this coming Sunday - to test the bike and demonstrate the machine is fast enough to make it a worthy entry to the MotoGP class.
FB Corse's problem was that the team was caught between the rock of MotoGP's strictly proscribed testing program, introduced this year in an attempt to cut costs, and the hard place of Dorna's requirement that the bike be a serious competitor, and not something that will be lapped by the halfway stage. FB Corse's test rider Luca Cadalora is still fast enough to produce useful input on developing a bike, but the legendary Italian rider has lost just enough of his edge in ten years of retirement to be a real test of the FB01's ability. It takes a rider who is currently racing to find the limits of the bike, and Garry McCoy, who was brought in to race the Italian triple, is the best candidate for the job. But testing restrictions prevent McCoy from riding the bike outside of the official MotoGP tests.
And so FB Corse has been given special dispensation to test the FB Corse bike at a track in Europe. The goal which has been set is to lap within at least 3 seconds of race pace, a pace which would keep the bike more or less in touch with the field. Even if the team cannot make it to the track before February 28th, FB Corse can apply for further dispensation to test some time in March. Given the still very early stage of development of the bike, the FIM and Dorna would probably look favorably on such a request. With just 17 bikes on the MotoGP grid, the organizers are likely to be extremely lenient for some time to come.