The saga of the CRT teams continues to drag on. The full list of accepted entries was due to be published at last weekend's Barcelona MotoGP round, but last-minute haggling over rule changes has held back the announcement. More meetings were held over the Silverstone weekend, with the factories (assembled in the MSMA) meeting with Dorna on Thursday, and Dorna and IRTA meeting on Friday to discuss the outcome, leading to publication of the entry list being held back until coming Wednesday, June 15th.
The issues delaying finalizing the list were arguments over interpretations of the claiming rules. Some teams intend to use engines leased from outside manufacturers - meaning Aprilia and BMW - rather than buying the engines and tuning them themselves. The incumbent factories in the MotoGP paddock are extremely unhappy with this state of affairs, regarding it as a way for factories currently not competing in MotoGP to enter via the back door, taking advantage of the extra engines and three liters of extra fuel available to the CRT entries. The teams, for their part, were afraid that they would be legally prohibited from handing over an engine which they have only leased and so do not own. The compromise position is likely to be that the teams will be able to switch status from being a CRT entry to factory status (and therefore running 9 engines - just as Suzuki do - and 21 liters of fuel) instead of handing over the engine if it is claimed by a factory.
Paddock rumors strongly suggested that the number of CRT entries was very small indeed, though this was denied by Mike Trimby, General Secretary of IRTA. "We have more than enough entries," Trimby told MotoMatters.com, "And if I have my way, we'll 24 bikes on the grid rather than 22." Deposits had been paid, Trimby said, and entries submitted in good order. The current sticking point was the status of a number of teams, and how many of both factory teams and CRTs will be allowed onto the grid.
Parallel to this development, over in the World Superbike paddock, FIM President Vito Ippolito was forced to issue a clarification. Over the past week, a number of stories on websites and in magazines had appeared in which Ippolito had appeared to suggest that the use of production engines would not be allowed in CRT machines. This, Ippolito said in an official FIM communiqué, was incorrect; what he had intended by his words was that "complete motorcycles" of production origin would not be allowed to compete in a Grand Prix class.
The statement issued by Ippolito is completely in line with what the FIM President told Motomatters.com over a year ago. At the time, Ippolito said that the World Superbike series had a monopoly on racing production motorcycles, but once the engine was divorced from the chassis, the bike was no longer considered a production machine, and the engine could be used in MotoGP if the teams wanted to. So the CRT teams planning to use the BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4 or Kawazaki ZX-10R engines will be allowed to go ahead, and the World Superbike series will not be able to prevent them.
Below is the press release issued by the FIM containing Ippolito's clarification:
Clarification from the FIM
On the occasion of the San Marino Round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship in Misano (ITA), and with reference to the interviews recently published on some motorsports web sites, FIM President Vito Ippolito reiterated what has already been stated several times: Any complete motorcycle model derived from series production, homologated or not for the FIM Superbike/Supersport/Superstock is not eligible and will not be accepted in the FIM Grand Prix World Championship classes.