The engine regulations slated to go into affect in 2012 were agreed to in principal in Qatar, but not before intense negotiations and not by unanimous consent.The MSMA, essentially the factory cartel, was pushing for a rule that would prohibit any factory from racing a 1000c production-derived engine. This would include the current factories, as well as BMW, Aprilia, Kawasaki or any other factory that wanted to join the series. Essentially it would keep them on the outside looking in. Only private teams-Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Gresini Honda, Pramac Racing, etc.-could race a production-derived engine and the factories would continue to race 800’s. Considering how unpopular the 800’s are with the riders, that wouldn’t sit well with much of the grid.And there developed a rift among the factories. Honda and Yamaha were in favor of keeping 800’s, while Suzuki and Ducati wanted to revert back to liter bikes. The1000cc engines would have been restricted by rev limiters and intake restrictors. The provisional agreement that was reached calls for the 800’s to continue as they are, but with factory machinery opened up to 1000cc prototype engines. If a factory chooses to run a 1000cc engine, that engine is limited to an 81 mm bore, to a 21 liter fuel tank, and to six engines for the 2012 season. That allows BMW, Aprilia, Kawasaki and any other manufacturer to compete on liter-sized, purpose-built racing engines.The private teams that want to race 1000cc production-based engines, i.e, R1’s, GSX-R1000’s, CBR1000RR’s, are also limited to 81 mm bores, but they can fit a 24-liter gas tank and can use up to 12 engines.One of the final details to be decided is the claiming rule. There will be a mechanism to claim the non-factory machines, but the cost and logistics of haven’t been worked out.Final ratification is expected at the Japanese GP in Motegi on the weekend of April 24-25.
All Go For New MotoGP Rules?
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.