13 October 2009
Steve Bones (FTR Moto2) interview
Frame and chassis builder FTR Moto has unveiled its M209 motorcycle, which will be available for teams entering next year's inaugural Moto2 World Championship.
The company, which has previously worked with the likes of Team Roberts and KTM, will race the machine in the final two rounds of the Spanish Championship, at Jerez on November 15 and Valencia on November 22, with British rider Graeme Gowland.
Here, FTR Moto director Steve Bones answers questions on the project, including the exact pricing...
What attracted FTR Moto to the new Moto2 category?
We've produced racing motorcycles for the past 15 years for a number of customers and when Moto2 was conceived we knew it was a prefect fit for our business. As Fabrication Techniques we were known within motorcycle racing but Fabrication Techniques has other lines of business aside from motorcycle racing so FTR Moto was launched. FTR Moto is completely focussed on motorcycle racing and Moto2 has therefore become the first project for FTR Moto.
The Moto2 rules were announced in January but changes have been made since, how have you dealt with that during your design and build process?
By being cautious really. It was clear from the start that further discussions would be required before the new Moto2 regulations would be finally approved. The initial rules offered an opportunity for any engine manufacturer to participate, for ECU's to be limited in cost to 650 Euros, there were minimum weights and rpm limits for two, three and four-cylinder motors and different rear wheel rim options. We did our research and knew that some of those regulations would change so it was important to get out initial prototype as close to what we actually wanted for 2010 as possible.
But in Spain there were a handful of teams willing to participate in the Spanish Championship straight away, how did you feel about that?
We initially felt that we may miss the boat in terms of selling our rolling chassis to teams but then the rules began to change. We had a Yamaha engine in the workshop and were considering building a frame and rolling chassis around that but then news came through that the new Moto2 World Championship was changing to a single-engine regulation. It was clear that we would now need to be 100 per cent confident of any direction we took in the design and build of the M209 prototype.
Moto2 was conceived to replace the 250cc class from 2011 with an allowance to participate in 2010, but it seems all of the 2010 teams will race Moto2 machine. Are you surprised at the popularity of the new class?
I suppose you have to be a little surprised but Moto2 was introduced to reduce costs and I think the 250cc costs became too excessive for any teams plus, in 2009, the number of teams and riders has again declined. Perhaps for many teams the Moto2 initiative offered the opportunity of both survival and a return to competitiveness. From a simple accounting position, paying more than half a million Euros for a 250cc factory machine or £90,000-£100,000 for a Moto2 machine means the new class is certainly financially attractive.”
What were your design objectives for the first prototype M209?
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