Why the MotoGP weight limit changed

"When the minutes arrived, [it turned out] that the MSMA decision was not unanimous. It was by majority" - Carmelo Ezpeleta.
Stoner, Sepang MotoGP tests, 31st Jan-2nd Feb 2012
Stoner, Sepang MotoGP tests, 31st Jan-2nd Feb 2012
© Gold and Goose

Late last year, the proposed minimum weight for 2012 MotoGP machines changed in the space of six weeks.

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 (three kg more than for the previous 800cc bikes).

However, this figure then rose to 157kg after the next Grand Prix Commission meeting on December 14.

Honda seems to be among the most surprised by December's additional 4kg and the factory's reigning world champion Casey Stoner made his views clear during a post-Sepang Q&A with title sponsor Repsol (see separate story).

"It is rather frustrating. We already had the bike developed and then they decided to change the regulations, so we had to add 4kg to the weight of our bike," he said. "This is a disadvantage for us, because the bike was already developed with a specific weight in mind, and now we have to add more.

"This affects the bike. It isn't something that you notice much in your general riding, but unfortunately you do feel it quite a bit mid-corner. We have to try to adapt a little more and overcome this, but it is disappointing that the decision was made so late on."

During the Sepang test, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta explained why the additional 4kg rise had happened 'so late'.

It seems to have been caused by a 'misunderstanding' in the Grand Prix Commission, where decisions are made regarding MotoGP rule changes.

The Commission is composed of Dorna (commercial rights and event organisation), FIM (governing body), IRTA (teams) and MSMA (manufacturers), but the voting structure depends on the type of proposal being discussed.

"There was a proposal made by Dorna and IRTA, for the Valencia Grand Prix Commission meeting, to raise the minimum weight to 160kg," said Ezpeleta. "Because it was difficult and expensive for the CRT [privateer] bikes to reduce their weight. So if everybody is able to run the same minimum weight that would help CRT.

"We proposed the weight increase, but the MSMA said that the unanimous decision of the MSMA is against it. If the MSMA decision is unanimous [the Grand Prix Commission] cannot approve the rule, because it is a technical rule.

"Later on when the minutes arrived, [it turned out] that it was not unanimous. It was by majority. If the opposition of the MSMA is not unanimous we have no obligation to follow that.

"Then at the meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in December we said 'I'm sorry, the other day we had a misunderstanding about whether the MSMA decision was unanimous. I consider if it is not unanimous we have the right to impose that.'

"Finally instead of 160kg we requested 157kg [for 2012] and this was approved, by majority of the Grand Prix Commission."

MotoGP minimum weight will then rise to 160kg for 2013.

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