The San Carlo Gresini race team announced it will compete in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship as a Claiming Rules Team with a Honda CBR1000RR engine in an FTR prototype chassis.
The move is a late, but unfortunately necessary change from the team’s original plan to run the factory-level Honda RC213V racebike. The late Marco Simoncelli was tabbed to ride the newest version of Honda’s MotoGP machine next season, but after his tragic death, Gresini had to find another option if it wanted to continue racing.
Newly-signed former Suzuki factory rider Alvaro Bautista took part in last week’s post-season MotoGP test riding the team’s 800cc Honda RC212V. After the test, the team said it would switch to the 1000cc RC213V for the next test session, but with Hiroshi Aoyama and his lucrative Red Bull endorsement gone, Gresini will have to scale back its program if it wants to continue with two entries.
That’s where the second CBR1000-engined FTR machine comes in. As a Claiming Rule Team, Gresini will be able to tune a production-based engine such as the CBR’s Inline-Four, and will be allowed 12 engines per rider for the season (instead of 8 for non-CRT outfits), and 24 liters of fuel (vs. 21 liters).
“It is a source of great satisfaction that we have reached an agreement with FTR Moto to take part in the new MotoGP series, CRT,” says team owner Fausto Gresini. “The battle between the Claiming Rule Teams will be an exciting one and we are entering it with great enthusiasm.”