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FGSport stands by '600GP' statement

10 June 2008

By Peter McLaren

FGSport, organiser and promoter of the Superbike and Supersport World Championships, stands by its 2003 statement declaring that any rival world championship classes must not be 'derived from production machines'.

The statement was made in May of that year following an FIM press conference, in which then president Francesco Zerbi sought to draw distinctions between MotoGP and WSBK.

The part concerning the World Supersport Championship, reproduced below, is particularly relevant following the announcement that the MSMA has proposed 600cc four-cylinder four-strokes as a replacement for the 250cc (two-stroke) World Championship from 2011.

"The World Supersport Championship will continue to remain an exclusive property of FGSport," said the FGSport statement. "Should new categories be introduced into other World Championships in future, substituting existing classes, the machines competing would nevertheless be prototypes not derived from the production machines."

In other words, the same kind of criteria used to define a MotoGP-class prototype will apply.

Crash.net highlighted this statement in its weekend coverage of the MSMA proposal, but also contacted FGSport to find out if its position has since changed:

"The statement that you refer to is totally correct and continues to reflect FGSport's position," said SBK press office manager Julian Thomas.

"For the moment we have nothing further to add in that we maintain that any eventual elaboration on the matter is first of all the responsibility of the FIM, which has the job of ensuring that the technical-sporting regulations are developed in respect of the agreements with the various promoters."

The MSMA's 600cc proposal, made in response to Dorna's suggestion for a new four-stroke class to replace 250GP, will be discussed further by the other members of the Grand Prix Commission - FIM, IRTA and Dorna - at the Dutch TT later this month.

But with the combined efforts of Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Ducati only able to provide a field of 18 MotoGP-class prototypes at present, it seems impossible that a new 600cc support class could exist under the same 'full prototype' rules.

The two main possibilities to make the new '600GP' class affordable, both of which seem likely to cause some form of conflict with FGSport, are:

1) To use modified production engines - a clear breach of FGSport's 'not derived from production machines' statement - but why else would the MSMA have chosen 600cc four-cylinders?

2) For a prototype 600cc four-cylinder engine to be designed and built by an 'outside' manufacturer and then made available to all teams in the class. But who would build the engines, could such a machine effectively promote different brands - and can you really have semi-mass-produced 'prototype' engines?

What seems certain is that the 600cc chassis will be a pure prototype, although as the WCM MotoGP team found to its cost in 2003, if an engine contains certain production-based parts - whether housed in a prototype chassis or not - the motorcycle is not considered a prototype.

Meanwhile, Dorna has hinted that should 'problems' arise concerning the definition of prototype machinery for the 250GP replacement class, it may start asking questions about possible 'prototype parts' present in the World Superbike Championship...

The 250cc World Championship began in 1949.


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