The big question being asked when the concept of the Claiming Rule Teams was introduced to the 2012 MotoGP regulations was exactly how the claiming rule would work. The idea behind it is simple: to avoid CRTs pouring millions of dollars into engine development - in other words, to prevent factories hiding behind Claiming Rule Team entries - teams should be allowed to purchase the engines of the CRTs, thereby negating the benefits of high-spending engine R&D. There was good reason for scepticism about the claiming rules, as the rules once used in the AMA have been widely decried and were felt to be open to abuse, leading eventually to them being scrapped. Here at MotoMatters.com, we offered an example of just how the claiming rules could be used to circumvent the engine restrictions.
With claiming rules clearly capable of turning into a minefield, the details of the rules were eagerly awaited, and took a long time coming. On the Saturday of the Estoril MotoGP round, the Grand Prix Commission met to finalize the claiming rules, and issued a press release containing the new 2012 CRT regulations, which you can read below.
The CRT rules reveal an ingenious twist: It is not the Claiming Rule Teams who will be allowed to claim their competitors' engines, but instead, it will be the manfacturers, assembled in the MSMA, who will be allowed to claim the engines. The concept seems strange at first, until you think about the objective of the claiming rule: the ability to claim an engine was intended to prevent factories spending large amounts of money developing engines, then supplying them to CRTs to race with extra fuel and a weight advantage. By allowing only the factories to claim CRT engines, the Grand Prix Commission ensures that factories have little incentive to enter CRTs as a subterfuge, as they risk losing their engine technology - which all of the factories guard preciously. At the same time, they avoid the CRTs manipulating the rules to gain an even bigger advantage, by engaging in mutual buying agreements to obtain an extra engine allowance.
The right of the factories to buy the engines is limited, with the CRTs only liable to sell 4 of their engines to the MSMA, and each manufacturer inside the MSMA only permitted to claim an engine once from a CRT. The engines will cost 20,000 euros to claim including the gearbox (or 15,000 without the gearbox), and the CRT will be allowed an extra engine in their allocation if one of their engines is claimed.
The Grand Prix Commission also contained a few more interesting nuggets, mainly changes to grid procedure to ensure that tire warmers could stay on the bikes longer on the grid before the start. But there was also some detail on testing, with acknowledgement of the agreement between the MSMA that the factories would be allowed an extra 8 days of testing with 2012 MotoGP machines, a necessity given the change to 1000cc capacity engines. This rule change makes it clear that the tests run by Ducati (and scheduled by Honda) were perfectly legal after all, it's just that the agreement making them legal had not yet been made public.
More analysis of the CRT rules will follow in the next week. For now, you can read the rules for yourself in the press release duplicated below:
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 30 April in Estoril (Portugal), unanimously decided the following (Changes in bold):
1) Art. 184.108.40.206. MotoGP Class
b) Practice during the day following the Portuguese Grand Prix (Estoril).
Practice during the day following the Italian Grand Prix (Mugello) or the Czech Grand Prix (Brno).
Practice during 2 days following the last Grand Prix (Valencia).
a) Any activity authorized by the Race Direction.
2) Art. 1.18 10
3 Minutes Before the Start of the Warm Up Lap – Display of 3 Minute Board on the grid.
Generators must be disconnected from tyre warmers and removed from the grid as quickly as possible.
In the 125cc and Moto2 classes, tyre warmers must be removed from machines on the grid.
At this point all persons other than two mechanics per rider in the125cc, and Moto2 classes, and three mechanics per rider in MotoGP, the person holding the umbrella for the rider, the TV crew of the host broadcaster and essential officials, must leave the grid.
The MotoGP riders must put their helmets on.
No person (except essential officials) is allowed to go onto the grid at this point.
11) 1 Minute Before the Start of the Warm Up Lap – Display of the 1 Minute Board on the grid.
Tyre warmers must be removed from MotoGP machines on the grid.
At this point, all team personnel except the mechanic(s) will leave the grid. The mechanic(s) will as quickly as possible assist the rider to start the machine and will then vacate the grid.
3) The Grand Commission has accepted the proposal of the MSMA for testing opportunities for machines eligible under the 2012 Regulations.
Machines Eligible under 2012 Regulations- "1000cc Machines".
During the 2011 season teams may test for a total 8 rider/days with their contracted riders. This will apply retrospectively for the 2011 season.
2.2.1 The following classes will be accommodated, which will be designated by engine parameters:
MotoGP: Up to 1'000cc – maximum four cylinders, maximum cylinder bore 81mm.
Four stroke motorcycles participating in the MotoGP class must be prototypes. Those that are not entered by a member of MSMA must be approved for participation by the Grand Prix Commission, and teams using such motorcycles may ask the Grand Prix Commission (hereinafter GPC) for the "Claiming Rule Team" (hereinafter CRT) status by December 31st of the year before the season they intend to race.
The GPC will reply to any CRT status requests within one month of receiving the official request. Approval of CRT status is subject to unanimity among all the members of the GPC, and CRT status is given only for one year at a time. The CRT status is approved by unanimous decision of the GPC in order to ensure fair competition, and based on the same consideration it can be withdrawn at any time by a majority decision of the GPC members. In case of CRT status withdrawal the GPC will inform the team at least one race in advance of CRT status being withdrawn.
The CRT status affects the requirements of engine durability (Article 2.3.7 FIM Grand Prix Regulations) and fuel tank capacity (Article 2.6.5).
CRT's are subject to the Claiming Rule (Article 2.2.2) and must not represent any MSMA manufacturer, as defined solely by a GPC majority decision.
2.2.2 Claiming Rule:
MSMA manufacturers have the right to purchase the engine of a motorcycle entered by a CRT immediately after a race, for a fixed price of:
- 20,000€ (twenty thousands Euros) including gearbox/transmission, or
- 15,000€ (fifteen thousands Euros) without gearbox/transmission.
A maximum of four engine claims can be made against one CRT in any one racing season. An MSMA manufacturer may not claim more than one engine per year from the same CRT (i.e. a different claimant for every claimed engine of the same CRT).
To lodge a claim under the Claiming Rule, an MSMA manufacturer must inform Race Direction in writing after the start of the race. In the case of more than one claim lodged against the same team, the claim lodged first will be recognised, and other claims dismissed. Provided that the relevant CRT has not already been subjected to the Claiming Rule four times that season, Race Direction will request the Technical Director to securely identify the used engine immediately after the race. The CRT must make that engine available at Technical Control within two hours after the identification, to be handed over to the successful claimant by the Technical Director. Race Direction will inform IRTA of the successful claim, and IRTA will ensure payment and receipt of the claiming fees between the two involved Teams.
2.3.7 Engine Durability
In the MotoGP class the number of engines available for use by each rider is limited to 6 engines per permanent contracted rider for all the scheduled races of the season. The following exceptions will apply:
Permanent contracted riders entered by an MSMA member participating in MotoGP for the first time since 2007; limited to 9 engines for all the scheduled races of its first season.
Permanent contracted riders entered by a CRT; limited to 12 engines for all the scheduled races of the season.
If a CRT loses an engine due to Art. 2.2.2 Claiming Rule, an additional engine will be allowed in the affected rider's allocation.
The number of engines available for use by each rider using a machine entered by a CRT can be changed during the season by a majority decision of the GPC, with the aim of ensuring fair competition. The number of engines allowed after that point will be determined by the GPC, based on half the number of engines remaining in the CRT's allocation, numbers rounded up. (eg. 9 engines remaining /2 = 4.5, rounded up = 5 engines allowed)
Should a rider be replaced for any reason […].
2.5.1 The following are the minimum weights permitted:
MotoGP up to 800cc capacity motorcycle 150kg
801cc to 1'000cc capacity motorcycle 153kg
2.6.5 The fuel tank capacity limit in the MotoGP class is:
- maximum 21 litres, for motorcycles that have not been entered by CRT's,
- maximum 24 litres, for motorcycles that have been entered by CRT's.
The maximum fuel tank capacity for motorcycles entered by CRT's can be changed during the season by a majority decision of the GPC, with the aim of ensuring fair competition.
In defining fuel tank capacity […].
Moto3 Class, 2012
The following clarifications were approved.
1. ANNEX 1
Examples of permitted valve timing systems with a single chain as the principal drive mechanism (NB. general concept illustrations only, not an exhaustive list. Other layouts may be possible provided they comply with Art. 1.10)S
2. ANNEX 2
3. ANNEX 3
4. ANNEX 4
5. The decision on the tenders for fuel/oil and for tyres to be supplied to Moto3 remains pending.