The new category of privateer Claiming Rule Teams (CRTs) will make its debut in MotoGP this season, but attention is already turning to negotiations for the 2013 season.
That is when more radical MotoGP rule changes, currently under discussion, are due to be introduced.
Those new rules will attempt to address the spiralling costs of racing in MotoGP, which has forced out all but three manufacturers, whilst ensuring a future for the new CRT class.
For 2012, CRTs - which will use modified superbike engines in a racing chassis and whose engines can be 'claimed' by a manufacturer for 20,000 euros - will be allowed three litres of extra fuel capacity (per race) and twelve instead of six engine changes (per season) relative to the manufacturer bikes.
But with the top CRT, of Colin Edwards, still five seconds off the pace of Casey Stoner's Honda at the recent Sepang test, MotoGP needs to decide what it wants CRT to be.
Should CRTs be seen as 'equal' to any other MotoGP entry, with the handicapping of the manufacturer bikes - needed to achieve this - simply an extension of the kind of rules used in WSBK to balance the performance of twins vs. four cylinders?
Or should CRTs be seen as a separate class within a class, as BSB did with its 'Evo' category last season, for example.
The remaining MotoGP manufacturers - Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - have made clear there is a limit to the 'dumbing down' of technical restrictions they can accommodate, both to cut costs and help CRT, whilst still being able to use MotoGP for effective R&D.
But with those same manufacturers unable to provide enough (leased) satellite bikes to fill the grid at affordable prices, the CRT concept is now essential to MotoGP's future. A balance must therefore be found.
Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi summed up the ongoing 2013 discussions as follows: “It is very challenging to find some rules that allow both the manufacturers and the private teams to be here [in MotoGP] in a sustainable way for the future, whilst keeping the technical interest. This is what we are trying to do.”
The other problem is that, unless someone like reigning world champion Stoner tests a CRT bike, no-one really knows the true performance difference between a manufacturer and CRT bike.
With all that in mind, we want to know which you think is the best direction for CRT to take for 2013 and beyond.
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