Mutterings over the late change to the 2012 MotoGP minimum weight continued during last week's second Sepang test, when representatives of the three manufacturers all spoke to the press about the issue.
After a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission at the Valencia season finale on November 5 it was announced that the minimum weight for the new 1000cc bikes would be 153kg.
This 3kg rise relative to the previous 800cc bikes was expected. However, the minimum weight figure then rose to 157kg after the next Grand Prix Commission meeting on December 14.
During the first Sepang test, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta explained that December's 4kg rise was to help the new class of privateer Claiming Rule Teams and had been possible because there had not been unanimous opposition from within the manufacturers' association, MSMA (click here
But while Ducati was still finalising its 2012 MotoGP design at that stage, Japanese rivals Honda and Yamaha were already manufacturing parts based around a 153kg motorcycle. Both Honda and Yamaha have thus been forced to fit ballast to their motorcycles to reach the new 157kg limit.
First to comment during a lunchtime media debrief at Sepang II was HRC executive vice president Shuhei Nakamoto:
“Our philosophy at Honda is if you do something different you must do minimum 2000km reliability tests. This cost is not so cheap. I was so disappointed about this [rule change]. We did the test at Valencia and then suddenly the regulation changed. It's not fair.”
Masahiko Nakajima, general manager of Yamaha's Motorsport Development Division, was equally unhappy.
“Personally I am so frustrated about the GP commission decision. Because [to make this change] in December. Impossible!” he said. “We had already made all the assembly parts and some spare parts. Then at that moment they changed 4 kilos!
“If we have one year lead time we can prepare. For example braking performance, one kilo less is a big difference, so 4 kilos you can imagine! Very difficult.”
Honda and Yamaha are still experimenting with the positioning of the ballast.
In favour of the weight increase - but without making reference to the timing of the change - was Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi.