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McWilliams: CRT doesn't fit MotoGP mould
27 April 2012
Former grand prix winner Jeremy McWilliams is unconvinced MotoGP's new privateer 'CRT' class will prove a successful strategy in terms of enhancing the appeal of the premier-class.
McWilliams, the last British rider to stand on the MotoGP podium at Donington Park in 2000, feels the present performance gap between the manufacturer and CRT bikes means they add little to the spectacle of the sport's most exclusive series.
However, the Northern Irishman believes the CRT situation will improve should the global economic downturn force the major factories to conform to similar rules within the next few years, in an effort to make MotoGP more financially viable.
“I certainly haven't been a big fan of CRT. It could be the way forward if everybody is made to conform to similar rules and then in the competition stage it would be very equal, but at the moment the competition is still very uneven,” McWilliams told Crash.net.
“It is a strange move I think to put production-based motors in a prototype chassis and expect them to add to the spectacle of MotoGP.
“I think what they have done at the moment is taken away from the spectacle of what MotoGP is about,” he added.
“I think in time, though, it will get better because it looks as though factories are struggling to put in the same kind of money and as much as we all love MotoGP and MotoGP being what it is – the pinnacle of the sport – it seems the factories at some stage will probably have to conform to CRT-type of rules in the next couple of years.
“At that stage you will have a production-based MotoGP class, which will be more financially viable and I suppose when more teams happen to go down that route then it will become competitive again.
“But for me at the moment, a difference of three seconds or up to five seconds difference between the CRT bikes and MotoGP bikes every lap doesn't make a lot of sense.”
McWilliams is adamant MotoGP must retain an element of exclusivity to ensure it retains is status as motorcycle racing's blue riband class, but concedes the astronomical costs involved in running a factory-supported MotoGP team cannot be sustained.
“MotoGP is still the very top of the sport and will continue to be so whilst factories continue to be involved at the level they are involved at, but unfortunately the formula of MotoGP isn't quite right,” he said.
“Looking at the financial crisis and the effect it has had on motorbike sales as a whole, there is obviously no way forward to continue spending £100m per year within a team to run a MotoGP bike, so it has to change.
“In saying that, CRT is a very big change and at the moment perhaps too big a change from the formula the factories want to follow.
“It's great watching Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso on what are essentially non-factory bikes being pretty competitive this season. They are using engines leased from the factory so there is a way forward.
“Riders will always aspire to being a MotoGP rider; top level World Superbike riders want to be MotoGP riders – that is their goal and that's what they want to do,” said McWilliams, who famously won the 250cc Grand Prix race at Assen in 2001.
“So MotoGP has to stay that little bit more special than anything else to remain like that. Of course riding for a factory team in MotoGP is a lot more lucrative for a rider but at the moment the spread of financial gain among the top riders and the riders at the back is obviously completely at opposite ends of the scale.”