As the established MotoGP field warm their engines for the final test of the season at Qatar starting on Thursday, back in Europe, another bike has been auditioning to join the show. At Valencia today, the FB Corse team ran a timed test in front of Franco Uncini, Dorna and IRTA's representative sent to evaluate the project, with the hope of impressing Uncini sufficiently that the team and their rider Garry McCoy would be admitted as the 18th official entry into the MotoGP class.
Their hopes have been dashed, however. Uncini's verdict, though full of praise for the team, is negative, and the FB Corse team will not be allowed to start the season at Qatar. Speaking to GPOne.com, Uncini described the project as "interesting," but said what the FB Corse really needed was more time and more miles on the bike to develop it further and refine it before it is ready to race.
When exactly what it was that the FB Corse needed to get it ready, Uncini was clear: "It's not a question of reliability," the former World Champion told GPOne.com, "the bike had no problems at all. But it really needs to put in some track miles. They are still right at the very start of the project." The Italian repeated that he was very positive about the FB Corse bike, though. "The project looks really good," Uncini said. "It may be possible for the bike to join the grid once the MotoGP paddock returns for the European stage of the championship. But they will know when they are ready. When the time comes, we will give them a call and take another look at the bike, and then we could allow them onto the grid."
FB Corse's rejection underlines the difficulties newcomers to the grid face. The bike really needs as much testing as it can get, but any testing at Grand Prix tracks violates the FIM regulations on testing, jeopardizing the team's chances of being allowed to race. Exceptions could naturally be made, but the risks involved are extremely high, as without a cast-iron guarantee that McCoy and FB Corse will be allowed to race despite the extra testing, a team on a limited budget simply cannot afford to risk being excluded after spending the money on testing.