Infront Motor Sports, which runs the World Superbike Championship, has warned that it will oppose the use of 1000cc production-based engines in MotoGP.
The idea of running modified 1000cc production engines within a prototype chassis has been tabled by Dorna as a way of increasing MotoGP grid numbers from the present 17 full-time entries.
The suggestion is that the 'cheap' 1000cc bikes would be limited to ensure that performance was below the ultra-expensive 800cc 'full' MotoGP prototypes - and would therefore create the confusing situation of a two-tier MotoGP World Championship.
The 1000cc 'Moto1' machines would basically be scaled-up versions of motorcycles to be raced in the new-for-2010 Moto2 World Championship, entry for which has been heavily oversubscribed.
Moto2 bikes were originally intended to be powered by production-based 600cc engines, within a prototype chassis, but it was later announced that the 250GP replacement class would have a single engine supplier. That engine contract was awarded to Honda.
It is not clear if the move to a single engine came after pressure from Infront Motor Sports (previously known as FG Sport), which has an exclusive contract with the FIM for production-based road racing world championships, but Infront clearly feels 'Moto1' would be a step too far.
“With reference to several declarations published recently by daily newspapers and weekly magazines, according to which the organizer of the Grand Prix World Championship [Dorna] is reported to be evaluating the possible participation of bikes equipped with production based 1000cc engines in the MotoGP class, Infront Motor Sports wishes to make the following statement:
“Infront Motor Sports does not consider a similar idea either to be realistic or feasible in view of the existing contracts between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports itself and in view of the specific characteristics of the World Superbike and MotoGP championships.
“We believe therefore that such a project will not have any follow-up. Nevertheless, wherever future developments should render necessary any action of defense of the rights of Infront Motor Sports, as well as those of all the teams, manufacturers, riders, sponsors and media who have invested in the Superbike and Supersport World Championships, such action will be immediately set in motion at all levels.”
Fortunately, Infront Motor Sports may not need to defend its rights.
The MotoGP manufacturers have responded to the controversial 'Moto1' proposal with ideas of their own, including the possibility of offering their 800cc engines (at affordable prices) for use by private teams within a prototype chassis - a setup previously used by Team Roberts.