By Lisa Crouch
While showcasing his talents on four wheels during the Monza Rally Show, Valentino Rossi was asked for his thoughts on the new 'CRT' class of privateer MotoGP bikes which will make their debut in 2012.
The Italian conceded that, in the current financial climate, the new production based bikes are the future of the sport.
Talking to La Gazetta Dello Sport
he said “With the withdrawal of Suzuki, MotoGP will have only 12 [factory] bikes. It's a little sad and it's clear that we must use less expensive bikes and if this is the only way I wouldn't have problems riding a CRT, although no one is excited by this.”
Although doubts remain about their competitiveness, as many as ten CRT bikes could be present next year. That means that even following the withdraw of Suzuki and reduction in satellite Honda and Ducati bikes, MotoGP grid numbers are set to rise from 17 (this year) to around 22.
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, frustrated at the costs and limited supply of factory bikes, has fired a warning shot across the bows of the three remaining manufacturers by stating that all MotoGP bikes could run under CRT-type rules from 2013.
But while Rossi wouldn't have a problem racing these 'cut-price' grand prix bikes, the Italian's views are at odds with some other riders, notably reigning double world champion Casey Stoner.
“I think if we kill prototypes then we may as well be racing touring cars, It's no different to this. It'll definitely take everything out of the racing for me,” Eurosport.com quoted the Australian as saying.
The Repsol Honda rider went on to add “I don't know if I'd want to be a part of it.”
Meanwhile, in his interview with the Italian paper, Rossi reflected on his tough debut year at Ducati, admitting: "It's probably been, actually it's definitely been, the worst season of my career.”
The number 46, who finished seventh in the championship with just one podium, now aims to make the most of the relaxed testing rules to develop next year's aluminium-framed GP12.
"We have a very different bike," Rossi said. "I'd like to see the progress as early as February. Hopefully we'll be faster and more competitive. It's right that there are no longer any limits on tests and that helps us.
“What would I like Father Christmas to bring me? A competitive GP 2012."