As we reported at Mugello, the claiming rule is to be dropped from the MotoGP rulebook. Introduced to prevent factories entering MotoGP under the guise of private teams, the claiming rule allowed any factory to claim the engine of a bike entered by a CRT team. But after the Grand Prix Commission agreed to the introduction of a spec ECU, the decision to run the spec software proved to be an alternative and more effective way was found of separating full factory efforts from privateer teams. The claiming rule was never actually used, the factories having said when the claiming rule was introduced that they had no intention of ever claiming an engine. It was kept there as the ultimate threat, Teddy Roosevelt's 'big stick' to prevent other factories from even considering such a ruse.
The new distinction between factory and private teams is now the spec ECU, and so the claiming rule has been dropped with immediate effect for all teams (Forward Racing, Avintia Blusens, PBM's Michael Laverty, CAME Ioda Racing) currently using the spec software. From 2014, all teams will have to use the spec hardware, and so the claiming rule will be dropped completely for the 2014 season.
Changes were also announced to the Moto2 engine rules. All Moto2 teams can ask to replace one of their spec engines if they believe the engine has lower than standard performance due to whatever reason (manufacturing tolerances, assembly differences, etc). They currently pay a deposit of 20,000 euros when they submit such a request, money they would lose if it turned out that the engine they asked to have replaced was performing up to spec. However, despite a number of engines being replaced - last year, Marc Marquez' team asked for his engine to be replaced at least once - no deposit was every forfeited.
It was felt that that system was unfair on the poorer teams in the paddock. They could not risk losing the 20,000 euros deposit, and so rarely asked for a new engine. The richer teams could risk losing the money, and knew that they stood little risk of actually losing that money. Dorna and IRTA officials were loath to impose the penalty, given the size of the sum involved.
The new system will be imposed for strictly, but with lower amounts demanded for deposits. Moto2 teams will now pay a 7,500 euro deposit, but IRTA are now more likely to actually keep the deposit if the engine is performing within the specified parameters. The 7,500 euro deposit will be increased to 10,000 euros for the second engine a team asks to be swapped, discouraging teams from swapping engines looking for a stronger motor.
Below is the official FIM press release:
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), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 28 June 2013 in Assen (NED), made the following decisions:
MotoGP Class - Effective Immediately
The engine claiming rule is cancelled for any CRT entry using the official Magneti Marelli hardware and software.
MotoGP Class - Effective 2014
The engine claiming rule is cancelled completely.
Moto2 Class – Effective Immediately
Teams are currently permitted to request a change of official engine even if the Technical Director has decided that, in his opinion, there is no justification for a change. In the current regulations such requests risked forfeiting a deposit of €20,000 if subsequent examination of the engine showed that it was performing within the normal parameters. In practice this penalty has never been applied and the teams have simply been charged the costs involved for engine stripping and testing.
The deposit which is subject to forfeit has now been reduced to €7,500 with a supplement of €2,500 for any subsequent changes by the same team/rider in the same season. This deposit/penalty requirement will henceforth be applied without exception.
The object of the rule change is to discourage teams from requesting engine changes for frivolous reasons or in the hope of being randomly allocated an engine that might have better performance.
A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the regulation changes may be viewed on: