As expected, MotoGP organizers have officially lifted the rule barring rookies from racing for factory teams, but the Grand Prix Commission also tweaked some other regulations including a cap on factory prototype machines.
We’ve discussed the lifting of the rookie rule already, with the main impetus being to allow a manufacturer such as Honda to sign up-and-coming Moto2 star Marc Marquez when he is expected to move up to the premiere class next season.
As of Jan. 1, 2013, manufacturers will be restricted to two entries on their factory teams and up to an additional two entries operated by satellite teams. Essentially, there will only be at most four prototype race bikes per manufacturer next season.
The rule states:
In the MotoGP class manufacturers are restricted to two direct entries per manufacturer and may provide material for a maximum of two entries per manufacturer operated by Independent teams.
The 2012 MotoGP grid features four prototypes each for Ducati, Honda and Yamaha, including two for each factory team, so the current setup fits the new regulation.
Last year however, Honda’s factory team had three factory riders in Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso and three satellite riders in Hiroshi Aoyama, Marco Simoncell and Tony Elias. Also in 2011, Ducati had Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden on the factory team while Hector Barbera, Loris Capirossi, Randy de Puniet and Karel Abraham on satellite teams.
Manufacturers can still produce additional MotoGP racebikes, but they will have to qualify under Claiming Rule Team definitions. Honda, for one, has already announced plans to produce a production racer. These production racers would presumably have to follow CRT regulations. It’s not clear yet whether the cap applies to wild card entries as well or only to full-time entries. Wild card entries may be restricted to riding CRT machines unless they are granted exceptions.
The Grand Prix Commission also passed some other regulations. Effective immediately, Moto3 class riders will face the same penalty as in the MotoGP class for exceeding the permitted number of engines. Riders will be penalized by having to start the race at the pit lane exit 10 seconds after the official start.
The Commission also restricted teams from changing the bore and stroke dimensions on their engines until 2014, effectively immediately. As of Jan. 1, 2013, MotoGP machines will also be limited to a maximum of 24 possible gear ratios, with four ratios for the primary gear.
The Grand Prix Commission also approved minor rule changes that allow Moto3 teams receive fair access to parts.
Other rules were proposed but did not get approved. The Commission considered the idea of restricting MotoGP riders to a single machine each and outlawing spare bikes, but decided against adopting that change. Another proposal would have banned non-ferrous materials from brake discs, a move that would have reduced costs, but it too was rejected. Also proposed was a standard spec wheel for all classes, but that was set aside pending discussions between motorcycle manufacturers and wheel suppliers.
[Source: FIM, photo by GEPA Pictures]