Whilst pondering the future possibilities for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team in the MotoGP class, team principal Herve Poncharal revealed that 800cc machines may not completely disappear in 2012.
In December it was officially announced that the 'Basic Concept' for the MotoGP class is to have motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 1000cc, maximum of four-cylinders and maximum bore of 81mm from 2012.
Further details are yet to be announced, but that 'Basic Concept' was enough for many to assume that the present 800cc bikes - disliked by fans and riders for their lack of excitement relative to the previous 990cc machines - would be extinct by 2012 at the latest.
However, it appears that at least some factories feel that binning the present prototypes completely, at a time of severe belt-tightening, would be an unnecessary waste - and, according to Poncharal, various options remain on the table.
“I will try as much as I can to continue my relationship with Yamaha beyond this season [when Tech 3's existing Yamaha contract ends] because I have a lot of respect for what they are doing,” began Poncharal, speaking exclusively to Crash.net
at the Sepang test.
“Okay, we are building a Moto2 bike, but you would be foolish to think you could build, in your garage, a MotoGP bike that can beat the Yamaha Racing Department.
“So, when the [1000cc] rules are made clear, I will talk to Yamaha about what they think is the best thing. I think Yamaha has always made clear that they would like to keep four bikes in the MotoGP class. So far, the extra two have been for Tech 3. I hope that will continue.
“I will study with Yamaha because the new rule is up to
1000cc, with four-cylinders. Therefore you might be able to race with something less than 1000cc. So it looks like there could be the possibility for the factories - if they wish - to continue to use the 800cc bike.
“I am not saying that they will. I am saying that they could. It is going to be a question of cost.
“Maybe Yamaha will want to continue with the factory 800cc bike for one or two more years? Or maybe they will want us to lease that bike while they race the new 1000cc bike? Or maybe they want us to help investigate the 1000cc with them from the start? I don't know yet.