How The Claiming Rule Teams Will Make A Mockery Of The Engine Restrictions

There are many who hope and believe that admitting production engines in prototype chassis into the MotoGP will be the saving of the series. Finally, there could be a way for privateer outfits to build and race machinery on a more or less equitable footing with the factory teams.

To ensure that a balance is kept between the manufacturers and the privateer teams, the inclusion of so-called Claiming Rule Teams has been announced from 2012. Under the new rules, engine capacity rises to 1000cc, but but bore size is limited to 81mm, and the number of cylinders restricted to a maximum of four for both factory and CRT teams.

The big difference, though, is in the amount of fuel and the number of engines the factory and CRT teams will be allowed. While factory teams will still be restricted to 21 liters of fuel for each race and six engines per season, as is the case with the current regulations, CRT teams will be allowed 24 liters of fuel per race, and twelve engines to last the season.

The thinking behind both of these rules is sensible, and aimed at keeping costs low. By allowing the CRT teams three extra liters of fuel, the teams will not have to spend so much time and money on eking out the maximum performance from the allotted gasoline. And by giving the CRT teams twice as many engines, the privateer efforts will neither need to spend huge amounts on R&D in order to get the mileage from the engines, nor feel required to throw a new engine at every race weekend, to maximize performance.

But it is precisely this engine limitation which opens up the door for exploitation by clever - or devious, if you prefer - CRT teams. So far, only the engine and fuel limits have been announced for the CRT teams, as well as the definition of what a CRT team is (in short, a CRT team is whoever the GP Commission decides is a CRT team, to prevent factories such as BMW and Aprilia entering under false pretenses). The only other principle behind the CRT teams is that one CRT team will be allowed to buy the engine from another CRT team for a fixed - and relatively low - price.

The idea is to prevent CRT teams pouring millions into engine development if the competition is to be allowed to purchase it at an expected price of between 50,000 and 75,000 euros. However, because only the idea of a claiming rule (under which the CRT team could purchase another CRT team's engine) has been announced, there is room for exploitation. Allow me to paint a few scenarios for you that make clear the problems with the CRT rules.

The CRT teams are allowed twelve engines for a season, but clearly, those rules are meant to cover engine durability only, and not other situations. The problem - or opportunity, if you will - for CRT teams is that engines can be lost in two ways: by being withdrawn from the allocation after the engine has given its best, or suffered some form of mechanical problem; but engines can also be lost to another CRT team, who can claim it under the rules.

Clearly, engines claimed by other CRT teams should not be counted against the allocation. Otherwise, all a CRT team would have to do is to claim a rival team's engine at each race to gain an advantage. If team A is being beaten by team B, then team A could simply claim team B's engine after every race. After the 12th race, team B would have to use a 13th engine, and would have to start the next race from pit lane 10 seconds behind the rest of the field, as specified in the current MotoGP regulations.

Team B is effectively ruled out of competition for the last 6 races of the year, and though the price may have been high for team A (claiming 17 engines would cost in the region of a million euros), that may be cheaper than putting in the work to develop the engine themselves.

The alternative, then, is for claimed engines not to count against engine allocations, but this immediately opens up the door to a form of gaming the system which resembles the classic game theory case of Prisoner's Dilemma. For if claimed engines do not count against engine allocations, then a claimed engine is basically a free, fresh engine for the team whose engine has been claimed. Consider the following scenario for two claiming rule teams:

After the first race of the 2012 season, CRT team A goes along to race direction to claim the engine of CRT team B. They pay their claiming fee, which is then passed on to CRT team B. CRT team B is allowed to take a brand new engine from the second race of the season, and still has all of their 12 engine allocation under the rules.

Simultaneously, team B goes along to race direction, and claims the engine from team A. They pay the claiming fee - which they have just received from team A, after team A claimed team B's engine - and receive the engine from team A. Team A also gets a free engine, the claimed engine not being taken from the engine allocation, in accordance with the rules.

What has basically happened here is that two team managers have colluded to avoid the engine restrictions, and it hasn't cost them a penny. The money that Team A used to pay Team B for their engine was returned when Team B claimed Team A's engine. What's more, both teams still have a full complement of engines, as the claimed engines - despite their state, whether they are still producing power or pouring smoke and on the verge of demise - have now been shelved, and both teams may now take a brand new engine without losing it from their engine allocation.

Clearly the rules are being broken in spirit, and yet both teams are acting within the letter of the law. Any attempt to prevent such a behavior will have to show intent, a perilous business at the best of times, and subject to lengthy and expensive legal wrangling at the worst. The CRT teams can make a mockery of the engine limits, at little or no cost to themselves. Such bending of the rules might even be the difference between scrapping over the position of best non-factory team, and beating the manufacturers at their own game.

Of course, this is all just speculation on what might happen under a given set of rules. But it shows quite clearly how dangerous it can be to draw up a set of regulations without fully thinking through all of the consequences. As magnificent a body as the GP Commission is, and as wise as it has so often been in the past, it has also been known to miss out some of the deeper consequences of the rules it introduces. This looks like being just such a case.

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Total votes: 37
Total votes: 116

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am i missing the point of this entirely?

why the need to enable teams to claim an engine? why not just have rules where if a team has engines that work well, they have to provide a supply of engines for a reasonable cost, no exceptions

there would still be an engine limit, say one team had 2 of a certain engine in their allocation and this didn't work, they could choose to sacrifice these and use 10 from a different supplier for the rest of the season

the losses they make in having to stretch out 10 engines longer would need to be balanced against the performance increase and reasonable price they get from the new engines

or am i just talking crap?

Total votes: 108

It'd be nice if there were rules that require that manufacturers make parts available to some minimum portion of the grid, all at the same price. However, then you have the problem that if a manufacturer funds a team, it can charge what it likes to that team.

Ideally, I'd like to go back to something similar to the 70s, where teams and manufacturers were somewhat separate. Racers would buy whatever kit offered the best price/performance within their budget. Manufacturers would try ensure they could make kit available to the best racers, by having kit available at the right price/performance. Racers would change bikes willy nilly, racing on multiple kinds of bikes at one meet, changing the kind of bike during the season if one manufacturer gained an advantage to another, etc.

At the moment, we've basically got the situation where Dorna and the *3* manufacturers decide behind closed doors how many extra old, detuned, and/or lower-spec bikes will be made available for the non-works teams.

Total votes: 98

That's a nice idea, and pretty interesting. The only problem is that chassis tend to be designed around engines, and you can't just slot one engine in to another frame without a huge amount of design work. So only if the engines started from the same base (e.g. started from the same BMW S1000RR / Aprilia RSV4 / Suzuki Hayabusa engine/bottom end) would your scheme be viable.

Nice bit of lateral thinking though!

Total votes: 110

Team A and team B each have after a race or two 11 fresh and 1 spent engine.

Team A claims the spent engine of team B, regardless of brand. Team B now gets a new engine to replace the one claimed by team A, and thus have 12 fresh engines.

Team B now claims the spent engine of team A. Team A gets a new engine to replace the one claimed by team B. Team A now also have 12 fresh engines.

No money was lost since they both payed the same amount. The spent engines are shelved, since the intent was to bypass the engine limit rule, and thus the need for compatibility isn't really there.

One way to combat this could be that the claimed engines are counted in the allotment of the claimer. If team A claims an engine from team B, that engine should count as one in the 12 engine allotment for Team A, keeping the total number of allotted engines over all teams a constant.

Total votes: 101

"The only problem is that chassis tend to be designed around engines, and you can't just slot one engine in to another frame without a huge amount of design work"

Same is true if you 'claim' an engine. Its not going to fit in your frame either. Seems like a better idea to me.

Total votes: 104

... of the claiming rule isn't to allow Team A to use Team B's engine. It's to allow Team A to pull apart Team B's engine and look inside it. Thus, there is reason for Team B not to spend a huge amount of money on R&D advantages if they will only lose that advantage to another claiming team.

I do like the idea that a claimed engine counts as part of the allotted 12.

Total votes: 101

This whole engine rule is driving me round the bend! If I had hair I would pull it out.

This will either save Dornas skin or cripple them.

Total votes: 104

I just don't see the point of CRT, like hulmerist, why do they need to be able to claim engines? I think it it is kind of ridiculous and worst than having a spec engine, why can't the team who puts the most effort into developing a great bike have to share it? edit: so money is the reason i guess but there must be a better way to reduce costs

And i'm guessing if a team claims another team's engine it will most likely be an engine from a team who is using a similar engine and chassis set up. This is if i'm understanding correctly what these teams will actually consist of...that these teams will probably be using a 1000cc superbikes as a base and then highly modifying it, such as taking the basic chassis and engine designs and then improving them?

- Justin

Total votes: 100

it's both those things and completely needless

no one even seems to fully understand all this claiming rule stuff, the best thing dorna could do is get aprilia and bmw to put 2 bikes each on the grid for 2012, both teams seem to have the engines figured out pretty well in wsbk and the rsv4 even looks like a motogp bike! for aprilia at least it seems like they could come into gp's and do well, add them to the extra honda next year and you'd have 20 bikes

dorna need to stop messing around with trying to get people onto the grid who won't have enough money to stay there, they wanna get more bikes onto the grid but if these crt's come onto the grid and start doing well because of some quirky rules the factories will just spend a few million more to get back to the front, cost cutting gone out the window

they had it right with the 990s and then cocked it up completely, 'the 2010 world electronics testing and development championship'

Total votes: 105

a claimed engine DID count against the allotted egines. I think this is what DjDiff was saying. Scenario: If both CRT teams start with 12 engines and team A claims team B's engine then team A would only be allowed 11 engines and team B would be able to allocate another engine and remain at 12. Then (like David's scenario) team B claims team A's engine; team B loses 1 from allocation giving them 11 and team A gains an engine and now they have 11. This way the claiming team "loses" 1 from allocation total everytime they claim an engine and the team that sells the engine stays steady. Team A and B could still mess with the rules but they would be losing allocation everytime the claimed from the other? Any thoughts?
I like what they're trying to do in theory, letting more teams join the motoGP and thus fill out this sparse grid. My only concern is that it will just be adding back markers. The satelite teams can compete sometimes but for the most part the aliens (or 1 or 2 of them) get out in front by several seconds and the race gets boring. If I was a manufacturer I think I would spread the wealth a bit more, help out the satelite teams. Having more of your bikes finish at the top seems like better marketing than just having one (or two) but what do I know. Hopefully these CRT add some competition and keep the races exciting!

Total votes: 92

Why do we need prototype ICE motors any more? ICEs are a dead end street, the production-based ICE motors make more than enough power for racing, and way too much for the street. And these rules juggling prototype and production are starting to look like a Rube Goldberg concoction.

MotoGP and WSBK will eventually merge after Rossi retires, and hopefully a true prototype series based on Megajoules will form to take the place of MotoGP.

Total votes: 106

In other threads I've ranted about the need for the FIM to ask the question of why do they have two different series. Both seemed to have strayed from their mission. GPs have made prototype racing too expensive to the point where the grid shrinks beyond repair. SBK has advanced to the point where the bikes on the grid little represent what the average person can buy.

Maybe this new claiming rule scheme is a way to introduce the idea of a merger between the two disciplines. The could clean up production racing and return it to something like superstock and make GPs the undisputed pinnacle of competition.

Total votes: 104

The ICE is 33% efficient and hugely unsophisticated b/c that's all we wanted during the 20th century. There is massive amounts of ICE prototyping to be done. It's not being done in GP necessarily, but GP is a sports-entertainment property more than a lab. Prototypes are good for entertainment as well.

What alternative do you propose? The cures are worse than the disease.

Total votes: 102

Clearly the claiming rule is important to keep factory efforts from joining. But what about the intellectual property of a privateer effort? I think it's a shame that private engine development won't happen because of the claiming rule. But I understand it's there to keep those with something to lose out of that class.

Though I don't think this scenario will be a problem. First, the team will have to make all these engines. Even if they don't cost against allotments they have to be built and that will cost money. Unless both teams are using the same engines, it's not a cost-less trade. And even if they did collude, I think that race direction can make what ever decisions they want. The 'at the discretion of race direction' clause usually allows for bringing the hammer down on cheaters. Is anyone going to risk being thrown out of GPs forever for conduct detrimental to the sport? I'd say that the expense on both sides will keep this rule intact and functioning. It will maybe have to be tested once. It would take a high degree of trust to conspire like that. At any time during the process, one manager could 'repent' and sell out the other. It's one thing to cheat within the team. It's another to recruit future witnesses for the prosecution from outside your family. Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

Total votes: 106

love your comment title - clever :)

the problem is they wouldn't be cheating. and as long as they're within the rules the FIM would never eject them so that danger isn't there (the FIM's only option would be to add more rules).

also, i doubt any team would blame another for taking full advantage of the rules as written - more likely they would go "why didn't we think of that"... and then lodge a complaint (which, again, would have at best the effect of the FIM adding more rules)

i dread the day, which is surely coming now, when we'll see a huge folder of rules that a team is pouring over when the camera visits their garage

Total votes: 101

another option would be to allow claiming to team B only if they are behind team A in world championship standings. or only if team B finished behind team A in the previous race.

the part of all this factory vs. CRT stuff that sucks the most, imho, is that the series is suddenly going to get really confusing to the average fan. like when F1 introduced the 10 place penalty for changing engines.

of course if the racing is good, we'll forgive the obtuse rulebook :)

Total votes: 91

so the losing team(s) can really cause a stink by just 'buying' the winning teams engines, and buggering up the chances of the best rider (remember this is not F1 and much more related to the jockey, not their steed). As for confusing the average fan, the first bike over the line wins .... no change there then?

Total votes: 108

even in spirit, most of the claiming would happen to the leaders engines anyway, this simple change would prevent reciprocation that would be exploitable.

Total votes: 105

Am I the only one who thinks the Claiming Rule era will fail miserably.

Teams wont put much R&D into an engine because they fear it will be claimed and the secrets revealed???

Team A is running R1 engines, Team B is running RSV4 engines and spanks the hell out of Team A. Is Team A going to learn anything by cracking open an Aprilla V4?

Madness. Its racing. Teams will still pump money into the engines. The teams with money will survive and those that are poorly funded will fail.

IMO the Claiming rule will NOT slow R&D and will NOT keep costs down.

The solution to more bikes on the grid is simple. Decide on capacity, fuel, electronics etc. Write up the rules and they are locked for 10 years. Only changes allowed before that, would require the approval of every team.

More folks would join the party if the knew what kind of a party it was going to be next year, and the year after that.

Total votes: 103

When WCM was running in the 990 era, they had an engine roughly based on that of an R1 and Dorna wouldn't let them run it, even after telling Richard Harris that they would allow it. It seems to me that Dorna has finally realized that not allowing WCM was a totally bonehead move, and they are trying to make the rules allow for it. Unfortunately, this rule will not make it.

If you were Michael Czysz, would you bring your C1 to a GP with the chance that another team could claim your engine? I know a lot of his work is patented, but that means lots of lengthy legal battles, meanwhile everyone on the grid is using your advanced technology.

Also, the AMA has a claiming rule in the books, or at least did. Does anyone remember how pissed Yoshimura Suzuki was when a privateer claimed Mladin's forks? Yosh didn't even own them, they were prototypes from Ohlins, but they still had to give them up.

I applaud what they are trying to do, but I don't think that this rule will have the desired affect.

Total votes: 109

If they have a patent on something, no one needs to buy their engine to learn the secrets. It must be clearly disclosed in the application.

I think the CRT rules are intended to create a class of bikes where engines are not the development test bed. They are meant to be transparent in terms of what's in the motor. So it's not an effort at all for any sort of development. The claiming rule is not to have the ability to get secrets from competitors engines to level the playing field. The only purpose is to keep factory teams with proprietary engine development OUT of that class.

The ability to manipulate the rules as written are possible. Exaggerations like giant rule books needed distract from the fact that the solution lies in one or two sentences:

-Claimed engines count towards the claimants allotment of 12 engines and cannot be removed from service without use.


-Each team is limited to 3 claim challenges in one season.

Total votes: 98

So are these rules published yet? I have not seem anything to suggest they have, so all of these assumptions are just that - assumptions? I would like to think the powers that be have thought of all these possibilities .... but I suppose it does no harm to provide input!

Total votes: 102

Only the definition of what a Claiming Rule Team is exists, along with the engine allowances, fuel limits and bore restrictions. No rules yet exist on how the claiming rule will work. But it's better to have these discussions before the rules are drawn up, rather than afterwards. They might even get used.

Total votes: 100

WCM was not thrown out or even challenged by Dorna, it was the FIM and its then-president Zerbi that challenged WCM. From what I can tell, Dorna actually didn't want that to happen.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 113

I agree with SquidPuppet. This rule is over complicated and I don't see how this would suddenly attract a bunch of new teams. Is a claiming rule really the incentive the other teams/manufacturers are waiting for?

Locking down the rules to 1000cc, fixed fuel capacity & electronics makes way more sense. Knowing for sure that the bike you spend millions on today will still be relevant in 3 or 5 years seems far more attractive than some complicated claiming rule that most teams probably wouldn't take advantage of anyway.

Total votes: 100

It's to block factory teams from having 200cc, twice as many engines and extra fuel. It's those three aspects that are supposed to be the draw to make it affordable to go racing. The claiming rule is just to keep the expensive prototype making factories away from that advantage.

It may be of advantage for a factory like Suzuki to make an odd bore GSXR1000 and use it as a test bed to incrementally improve their street product. But they just can't stop anyone from checking out their efforts. Anything in the motor would not be protected as a trade secret. They could still use patented approaches, they'd just have to apply for them and disclose the invention before hand. It's an exchange of 200cc, a few liters of gas and 6 engines for expensive secrets. The company shouldn't lose their rights to their patents if they had them before incorporating the IP into the race engine.

Total votes: 104

But what happens when in the first race of the season, one engine turns out to be extremely fast for some reason. Let's say a team using BMW engines is a second faster than all the other teams.
Surely everybody will want to claim this engine, but there may only be one or two engines to claim. Do you have to provide your engine every race when somebody wants it? That could cost a lot of engines if you're much faster than other teams.

I don't see a lot of serious teams willing to go race with these rules. It's just too complicated, nobody knows how much it's going to cost them and if they will be competitive.

Total votes: 105

What a bummer. It is a real dilemma trying to come up with some rules that keep the factory sponsors at the front while at the same time filling out the grid.

Oh well, so much for a race series where machine development is at the forefront of priorities.

Total votes: 85

Personally I think that the very thought of this complex claiming rule is enough to discourage the very people that it is intended to attract!
I can't see why the proposed rules, i.e. 81mm bore, 24l capacity, 12 engines or whatever can not just be applied along with the compulsory use of certain standard engine components? These could include things like crankcases, barrells, head castings from standard production engines. Machining, rotating and reciprocating parts could be free. That would still have the effect of reducing development costs and could easily be policed.
Blow out the claiming rule, any team building a prototype engine complies with the prototype rules!
Some private tuners may still be able to extract more power than manufacturers from their own engines! It would also be a better route for some manufacturers to enter the production based side of the grid, such as Kawasaki or even Suzuki? Forcing them to build expensive prototypes may force them out of the series altogether!
There is still the opportunity to play with weight, fuel capacities etc etc to help balance out the two formula's.
Making things too complicated always opens things up to abuse and subsequent legal wrangles which detract from the action on the track!

Total votes: 101

Simple way to fix it would be to get rid of the fuel and engine limits. It works in WSBK.

Total votes: 99

WSBK more than meets the eye, imo.

Total votes: 101

Nice article, David. I can't believe none of us saw the obvious problem with the CRT rules sooner. We did catch the difficulties of claiming rules as far as engine configuration and mounting points, but none of us considered the difficulty tracking engine allocation until now. Very nice

I wish I knew exactly what Dorna were thinking when they wrote the CRT rules. We know they want to eliminate the 800cc satellite bike program b/c it's much too expensive; however, the problems are so extensive, I can't imagine it took the GPC longer than 5 minutes to point out the glaring problems.

Anyway, I hope Dorna go the customer engine route. It is much safer in the long run b/c if they do get sideways with the MSMA, there will still be prototype equipment to run (like the old DFV Cosworth days in F1). If Dorna pair the customer engine with a spec ECU, they could argue that customer-engine teams need more fuel.

I suspect a customer engine would be the result of CRT rules anyway. Why would teams spend man hours and money preparing engines when they could buy a CRT engine from a competent tuning company that could "mass" produce the engines and earn profits? A customer engine also makes national series a possibility.

Total votes: 104

CRT is shite..and we all know it.

What we need to address is the amount the MSMA are going to bend the rules their way, without seeming to prejudice sporting values...One rule for us, and by the way if you don't like it fuck off, one rule for you..

CRT is fine if you can claim a factory motor.. if not, what's the rule there for?

Total votes: 110

When you need 10 rules to support 1 rule something is wrong. Is there actually any known interest from teams for this? Has anyone said, hey, i'm going racing now? It seems like they are getting sucked into a vortex of bad rules for the last few years and all the while things have clearly not improved.

At the risk of not being taken serious i suggest it's time to hire ninjas to take out the rules committee.

Total votes: 96

wow this gets very complicated, i hope they sort this out before 2012...f1 is even worse so many rules it is insane and motogp looks to be going that way :(
i just don't see why we can't have a prototype world championship with a few simple rules.
limit the amount of fuel so that they make efficient engines (if they use fuel), set max hp and/or torque limits, max weight (not min, the lighter the better). what other rules do we really need (other than some safety rules, bikes must pass some sort of safety inspection)? then we could have some true prototypes racing...

- Justin

Total votes: 87

Wow my head hurts just thinking about this. Why can't they make things simple? They should bring back a "run what ya brung" series,so that we could see some real innovation. Man,I really hate fuel limits.

Total votes: 107

Blue skies and true prototyping are not appropriate, imo. MotoGP is not the descendant of F1, it is the descendant of 500cc GP, a series that raced production irrelevant technology for the last 25 years of it's existence. MotoGP has been a rider centric entertainment property for a very long time. It would be unwise to reinvent it in the F1 or Group C mold.

We don't need true prototypes or bikes with unlimited revs (thankfully) b/c mild reinventions of the sport are still wildly entertaining. The RC211V, for instance, was just a straight forward 4-stroke motorcycle with an awesome engine and some pretty interesting chassis design elements. Honda admitted they built the V5 b/c they were bored of V4s and a V5 was the most attractive alternative engine under the rules.

Motocycsz is another example of a mild reinvention of the motorcycle. They changed the engine layout and they designed a mildly experimental suspension system. It should be racing, imo.

MotoGP doesn't need cheesy technological marketing rhetoric, it just needs a bit of variety to keep things spiced up. The 800cc formula and the 81mm 1000cc rules are not exciting, but longing for blue-skies technical regs of the Group C or F1 genre is only going to create a different (but equally annoying) problem.

WSBK is the answer. GP should be using WSBK rules, but with full prototype motorcycles, not production-derived equipment.

Total votes: 89

You would think that the simple act of producing a basic set of rules which limit engine rpm, capacity, fuel consumption and weight, allowing certain production engine parts, would be enough to get both factories and private teams excited within the economic restraints imposed by the current situation?

Total votes: 99

I can only dream of a displacement, fuel capacity, engine rev formula. It would bring in lots of teams which is precisely what the MSMA do not want. It would also allow for a wide variety of engines 4-stroke engines.

However, even with displacement, fuel capacity, engine revs, and minimum weight, they would still need other restrictions. They'd still need to ban composite metal matrix materials for the engines. They'd need to ban ceramic brakes and maintain brake dimensions for the rotors. They would need to maintain the same dimensional restrictions for overall width and length and seat height. GP would also have to maintain the same complicated fuel rules and the control tire and so on and so on until the rule book is 100 pages long.

Nobody likes it, but the old days of 20 page technical regs are a thing of the past, imo.

Total votes: 115

why restrict, for example, carbon brakes? This is Grand Prix racing, ie the pinnacle of the sport, and should be able to use whatever is best for the sport, and the safety of it's competitors. F1 uses carbon brakes, and there is no use for them in production cars, but they are what best suites F1 racing - why not MotoGP?

It seems to me the majority of cost in racing is in the development of the engine (namely its ability to survive high RPM), and the electronics to control it. Would it be SO difficult (especially as all the manufacturers have settled on a 4 cylinder configuration) to apply a maximum RPM limit, and restrict electronics to areas that might offer benefit to the general biking public (ie no launch control, no wheelie control, and traction control NOT relating to GPS positioning data) ?

As for width, length, seat height - packaging a rider onto a bike dictates certain levels of restraint (although a rider and bike weight limit seems to make sense and might make "composite metal matrix materials for the engines" irrelevant).

Total votes: 87

Why allow carbon brakes? What do they add? The safety argument is a bit hard to swallow. Other than that, the only thing we get from the use of carbon brakes is fewer places to make a pass and more processional racing.

The brakes are the first and simplest thing to fix in MotoGP.

--------------------------------------------- - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 90

Teams claiming an engine pay both the team they're claiming the engine from AND some other entity. For instance, Team A claims Team B's engine. Team A pays Team B €50,000 for the engine and pays the venue €50,000 for some kind of "claiming fee" or something of that matter. The rules then stipulate that the venue must use this stipend to subsidize the cost of beer at the track!

Team A gets an engine, Team B gets payment, both teams have a financial incentive to avoid reciprocating (the overall loss of €50K per transaction), and the fans get cheap beer!

This plan is so full of win it's crazy...

In other news, what is the point exactly of claiming an engine anyway? At this point, are there any secrets left in there, really? There is absolutely nothing seriously cutting edge going on internally in a MotoGP engine. The concepts of how to make power, improve efficiency, improve durability, etc. are pretty well known. It's how BMW can start from scratch, use hand-me-down F1 tech, and cobble together a 193rwhp (on some dynos) street-reliable superbike in only a few years having never even attempted anything close to that before.

Skip forward to these new idiotic rules and the situation will become even MORE predictable: You've got a banned materials list, which will pretty much guarantee every engine on the grid to share the same metallurgy. You've got a maximum bore size and cylinder count, which will pretty much guarantee that every single engine on the grid will be an 81x48.5mm four cylinder with the only distinguishing trait being inline or V4. There will be nothing mind-blowing or special in the valve trains, as the revs allowed by this bore/stroke ratio and engine allotment limit will call for nothing unconventional.

In other words, would a factory even MIND giving up their prototype engine to a claiming rules team under these conditions? Really, what's under the valve covers to hide? Anyone competent powertrain engineer that's up on current events would do a claiming team just as well.

I mean, isn't the REAL magic--the good stuff that a factory team wouldn't want "claimed"--in the chassis geometry/stiffness? The electronics package and how it's implemented? The clutch? The exhaust/intake/fueling? I mean, I don't think it's any accident that all of the motors on the grid seem to produce about the exact same amount of power. Some teams have a VERY slight advantage down the straight, but that could just as easily come down to the drive out of the last corner. Either way, it's statistically insignificant. Why? Because for a given displacement/fuel capacity/cylinder configuration it's already pretty well understood how to maximize power, and the remaining bits being eeked out are a contest of diminishing returns.

ONE chassis breakthrough or materials breakthrough or aerodynamics breakthrough--which could come from ANYONE, no matter how small the team--would be worth more than all of the engines on the grid gift-wrapped on a pallet. Just ask Andrea Iannone at the moment...

So, yeah, I don't see the point of claiming rules teams either.

Last question: am I to understand that factory bikes will not have a path to 1000cc? Before I was under the impression that factories could continue to race their prototype 800s for a year or two, but would also have the choice of gridding an 81mm four cylinder liter bike, then after a year or two they would all be 81mm four cylinder liter bikes. Am I wrong in this? Is it either 800 or CRT and no third option?

Total votes: 96

The 2012 rules allow three different types of bikes:
- 1000cc factory prototypes
- 800cc factory prototypes with a weight advantage
- 1000cc CRT team bikes, with more fuel and engines

So the short answer to your question is yes, the factory machines will be allowed to run 1000cc engines. 

Total votes: 93

I'm getting to the point where I don't even care what happens to MotoGP. Dorna sold it to the MSMA. The GPC can have a blood bath fighting it out amongst themselves. I only care that GP has at least one sensible prototyping class that encourages mechanical engineering rather than playing with electronics. Moto2 is close b/c electronics are controlled, but the spec production engine is hardly inspiring.

GP needs a 4th class. Something between Moto2 and MotoGP that allows teams like Motocycsz, Inmotec, Ilmor, FB Corse, and others to enjoy mechanical prototyping without hegemonic interference from the Japanese global corps.

Total votes: 105

MotoPoseur or perhaps MotoVaporware

(No disrespect toward least they race more than issue press releases, you forgot Blata)

Total votes: 102

All the rules in the world won't solve the problem as well as a cap on expenditure. Anything else is a waste of time. The new rules will just fill the grid with backmarkers. I can't see why this isn't being discussed.

Total votes: 92

In theory, you are absolutely right, the only way to solve the problem is a cap on expenditure. Unfortunately, the practicalities of enforcing a cap of expenditure make it impossible to police and mind-bendingly expensive to try to enforce. Basically, it would require a team of accountants at all of the major manufacturers going through the company's accounts to ensure that only the permitted amount has been spent, and money isn't being sluiced in from, say, the car R&D department, where they just happen to be developing a technology being used on the race bike.

There are too many places to hide expenditure in large companies, as any accountant will tell you, and the larger the company the more potential hiding places there are. Ironically, a cap on expenditure would favor the factory teams, as they have much bigger companies behind them in which to hide expenditure ...

Total votes: 81

Phoenix1 is 100% on the money.
The cap on expenditure is to limit what exactly? In the law of diminishing returns the discussion seems to be centered around the engine. Of course naturally aspirated engines are inefficient and the simple alternative is treated as a pariah. Forced induction would level the playing field. It won't happen until a separate class for prototype machines exists. To which I would attach one rule only, a minimum combined rider and machine weight. Then people like Mladin, who would never be offered a factory ride because he is a walking PR disaster, can have a crack at the title and so could people like John Britten, RIP.

Total votes: 85

And why because it's Japanese is it not innovation in comparison to smaller company efforts? The purpose of prototypes is to race purpose built machines, as opposed to street machinery (another example of how FIM has lost a grip on the why of SBK and GPs). It's not to have the wildest experiments on the grid. Maybe there should be events for bikes like this. But it would be very difficult to have consistent participation from microfactories to make a successful league that one can market enough to garner sponsorship to perpetuate the sport. Do you think the likes of Motocyz and FB Corse could fill a grid any better than the Japanese factories? In these races of unique efforts there would likely be one bike that was really damn fast. I doubt we'd see much more than processional racing and a lot more lapped riders.

The reality is that the more they spend the faster the bikes will go and factories design and build anything that will make them go faster. I understand the support for the underdog. But the organizers (Dorna), participants (IRTA), suppliers (MSMA) and consumers (us) all have different roles to play in guiding the ship of GP racing. Without any one of those groups working in their own best interest the construct falls apart. There are no villains in this piece.

(This could be place more as a response to Phoenix1, but just in disagreement with your agreement I think I hit reply to the bottom post)

Total votes: 88

I don't particularly dislike the Japanese manufacturers; however, I do see them as a major impediment. I'm only angry with the MSMA b/c they know they need to operate within confines of FIM prototype racing philosophy, yet they intentionally do things that are contrary to the interest of the FIM and the spirit of GP/prototype racing as if they feel no responsibility to anyone other than the Japanese-clique and the shareholders. Maybe that's a simple rule? Ban all publicly traded companies so they don't put the shareholders in front of the FIM.

Prototypes exist so we can race dedicated machinery not tuned street bikes (as you mentioned). Secondly, prototypes exist so that manufacturers don't have to own mass production facilities. The FIM understand that GP is supposed to be creating new racing companies, Dorna understand that more racing companies and technical partners means more commercial opportunities. The Japanese are seemingly willing to do anything and spend any amount of money to make sure that new entrants cannot participate. I'm to the point where I can accept this as their modus operandi, and I'm almost grateful that they make corporate hegemony so transparent, but I still want the GP ranks to produce new manufacturers even if it doesn't happen in MotoGP.

Imo, GP should have different tiers of prototyping. Moto3 should be very easy. Moto2 should be more difficult. Moto1 should be 1-2 steps below MotoGP. MotoGP should be very difficult. If Dorna use the customer engine concept in each class, they won't have to rely entirely on small prototype companies to supply engines.

For instance, suppose they make a 750cc Moto1 formula. Dorna secure a customer engine by letting Geo Tech tune a Suzuki 750 (not homologated for WSBK competition) to a set of specifications and price requirements. This engine is the backbone of the class (like a Cosworth DFV) and it can also be a backbone for national GP series. Companies like Motocycsz who are still interested in the mechanical novelty of Gran Prix equipment can make their own prototype engine in any configuration they want, or they can longitudinally mount the customer engine, or whatever.

Moto2 is close to accommodating new manufacturers, but I still don't have any indication that Dorna/FIM are thinking things through. The proposed 81mm 250s for Moto3. Why? Who can build a 250 single that revs to 16,000rpm except the people who already build MotoGP bikes? In my world, Moto3 would be stupid simple, like 450cc singles at 8000rpm on pump gas so the Chinese, Koreans, and garagistas can play. The overall motorcycle would be sophisticated and purpose built, but the engine would be an afterthought. Each class would be a graduation.

Total votes: 92

And the league ends immediately.

If the MSMA wanted to destroy the sport, why are they involved?

Total votes: 103

Enough hyperbole please. I never said (or even insinuated) that the MSMA intended to destroy the sport. I did say they are an impediment to growth b/c I believe they have to serve their shareholders. Public shareholders do not benefit from reducing the technical complexity of the sport to encourage new entrants.

Eliminating publicly traded racing teams would not be the end of the sport. All of the bikes would simply become satellite machines. IRTA teams would lease satellite bikes from the major manufacturing companies. The sport would look the same from the outside, but the governance would be changed b/c IRTA would assume technical responsibility. IRTA seek profit from racing activities.

It probably wouldn't be effective though. They'd really need to ban anyone who sells any off road or street legal motorcycles to the general public. Not an easy thing to do.

Total votes: 95

"...they intentionally do things that are contrary to the interest of the FIM and the spirit of GP/prototype racing..." That doesn't sound like supporting the status quo or promoting it's interest. Only one other direction to go.

To eliminate any favoritism of one team in that scenario you'd have to buy a kit bike at the beginning of each season and get no support from the factory throughout the year. Besides being not cost effective it would end GPs with immediate effect. If the FIM said next year (or 2012) that factories could only sell equivalent kit equipment to any satellite team at the same price then the factories would say no. It is their full right to say no. If I were running those factories and owned them myself 100% I would say no. There is nothing in it for a factory unless they can use the teams to their own ends. The satellite teams are used as revenue to pay for the factory team or as an instrument of charity for the benefit of the league so their top teams have relevance. They would pack up their toys and go home and be wise to do so.

Total votes: 91

".....contrary to the interest of the FIM and the spirit of GP/prototyping racing....." is not equivalent to intentionally destroying MotoGP. People do things contrary to my wishes and contrary to the spirit of good business relations, but they do not intend to destroy me or my business. They simply have their own self-interest to pursue.

Likewise, the interests of the MSMA are not compatible with the interests of the FIM or prototype racing. They want an exclusive country club where everyone knows everyone, and they have unspoken rules of conduct to govern procedings during competition. Each year the bikes get 1%-2% better. The manufacturers get paid big bucks from Dorna.

While the MSMA certainly want to race prototypes, the arrangement they articulated through Livio Suppo several months ago is not prototype racing. It's a business country club. It's how every man in his late 50s wants to spend the rest of his life--knocking down paychecks with his professional network in a familiar politically-oriented work environment.

They're not destroying anything. They are simply trying to take the sport out of GP so it's just an advertising and entertainment property. Sport is dynamic and risky. Major corporations hate those attributes.

Total votes: 100

The MSMA is not making any profit directly from GP, and I don't believe I mentioned profits in my post. The manufacturers expect GP to generate revenues so they have more to spend. The purpose of the GP country club is to enjoy spending the corporate budget.

Think of the MSMA as a government bureaucracy. The goal is to get as much spending money as possible and to win races/elections so more spending money is available in the future. Success is measured by wins which is about as accurate a predictor of production-relevant technological progress (or competent ideology) as the weather. There is no profit from racing activities.

Only the private IRTA teams seek profits from racing activities.

Total votes: 91

"The manufacturers get paid big bucks from Dorna."

So by that you meant they lose money?

If they are enjoying spending the corporate budget, then they surely aren't beholden to any shareholders? It's gotta be one or the other. The argument doesn't work both ways.

Total votes: 110

It's not complicated. Advertising and R&D are corporate expenditures from which they do not derive direct profits. Every corporation struggles to decide how much they should lose from direct-investment in these activities. One of the best things an advertising or R&D department can do to increase their budget is generate revenues. If a corporation budgets $50m cash outflow and the advertising department generates $30m cash inflow, it is understood that they have an $80m. The MSMA do get paid big bucks and so do the sponsors. All of that money is theirs spend. The shareholders want them to spend it.

The MSMA protect the shareholders by excluding small teams. It's one thing to lose to Honda or Yamaha, it is another thing entirely to risk losing to FB Corse. There is absolutely no way a major corporation can justify losing a MotoGP title to an upstart when they are spending tens of millions on racing activities and B2B networking with sponsors and technical partners. That would be violating their fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders.

See? Corporate ambitions and the spirit of the sport are diametrically opposed. The MSMA are not trying to destroy anything, they are trying to protect their shareholders. I have no idea how they can protect their shareholders and protect the ambitions of the sporting body. I don't think the MSMA know how to do it either, and that's why we've reached this unfortunate situation. Dorna are trying to move private teams out of the MSMA's jurisdiction by increasing the amount of equipment that is eligible for competition.

Total votes: 98

As I said before and echoed by other posters, the claiming rule is really the wrong angle to attack the problem from!
It seems that the basis of the rules are already there, having two groups, full prototypes and prototypes with road based engines!

The common factor is that they will all be 1000cc 4 cylinder 4 stroke engines with an 81mm bore (except for the remaining 800 prototypes if any).
Full prototypes must run with 6 engines and 21l of fuel, road based 12 engines and 24l of fuel.

From this point there are so many variables which can be introduced or withdrawn to ensure that one group doesn't race ahead of the other. Things like weight, fuel capacity, carbon brakes, electronics, traction control etc. Playing with these items is reasonably easy to do as opposed to creating a completely new machine every time that there is a rule change! There could even be changes mid season if things were getting out of hand.

The factories should really not be allowed to write the rules or influence them to any great extent. If they are involved they are always going to create a lop sided championship.
The fact is that the best riders will always be on the best machinery and this will probably mean full prototype in any case! It doesn't however rule out the possibility of factories adopting the road based engine route.
Even private teams can have access to exotic alloys and fancy electronics these days and they are relatively, probably not as expensive as we believe.

Total votes: 107

Why is a cap so hard? I work in an industry that polices itself quite well because slipping up would mean extremely harsh penalties like huge fines and jail time. Carrot and stick method of management. Works like a charm.

Cap per rider = 15 million. Spend it any way you like. 3 bikes? 14 engines? 250 tires? 10 million in electronics? 10 million for a star rider? 1 bike? Small team? Big team? No ones business as long as you do full reporting which is of course, confidential.

Entry fee per bike = 5 million in advance...have a nice day and good luck. Break the rules you lose the deposit and a years racing along with full public disclosure of the infraction with all included banned from the series for a year. Play nice and the books balance and you get the 5 million back.

Now you can throw out half the rules...

Total votes: 95

Well the difference between your industry and MotoGP is apparently the penalties. Perhaps if we could give the CEOs of Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Ducati jail time if they were found cheating on the cap, then it might work! However, I foresee problems pushing through the necessary legislation... Fines might work, but first of all, the factories would have to agree to introducing the fines, and they may not want that.

And of course, even jail time isn't sufficient to deter the real cheats. Teams and factories will always search out the borders of the permissible to try and gain an advantage.

Once again, I believe that a funding cap is the ultimate answer, it's just that I don't foresee it ever being possible to police, and so is impractical.

Total votes: 99

A friend of mine used to be lead engineer in a WSBK team. The first thing they do before starting the season is sit down with the book of rules and establish slowly and carefully what isn't forbidden and work around all loopholes possible. There's too much money involved at that level to be hesitant and they aren't. Not one second.

You can bet they are having fun right now and that CRT thing is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Total votes: 101

I spoke to Mike Webb yesterday about this, and he said exactly the same thing. At the start of the season, the teams apologize to him for what they are going to be doing all year trying to outfox him, searching for the limits of the rules. That's their job. And that's what makes policing so very difficult, and rulemaking so very hard. 

Total votes: 93

Budget caps could work, imo. Like David points out, it would probably have to be a private contract between the manufacturers like resource restriction agreement in F1. I think the RRA has commercial rights penalties if the cost/resource restrictions are violated.

I'm not sure about your specific proposal b/c it would make huge teams beneficial. Like an 8 rider teams with 1 alien and 7 WSS child-riders who receive public floggings if they crash the equipment. At least, that's how I'd run my imaginary $100m MotoGP team.

I like the idea. They might already have an RRA in place. We'd never know b/c it's a private contract between the MSMA teams.

Total votes: 94

Big teams....hummn what a great idea. Fill the grid up. Another benefit I didn't think of.

Total votes: 102