MotoGP’s Claiming Rule is set to be consigned to the history books. At the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission at Barcelona, a proposal will be put forward to abandon the claiming rule altogether.

With the advent of the new distinction, between MSMA entries and non-MSMA entries, the need to claim an engine ceased to exist. The demise of the claiming rule opens the way towards the leasing of Yamaha engines to private teams without fear of those engines being claimed by other factories.

The claiming rule had been instigated at the start of 2012, to allow the grid to expand. At the end of 2011, with the departure of Suzuki, and both Honda and Ducati cutting back the number of satellite bikes they were prepared to provide, numbers on the MotoGP grid looked like falling to as low as 13 or 14 bikes.

The switch back to 1000cc engines meant a rich spectrum of engines was available to custom chassis builders, to produce affordable race bikes. To allow such teams to compete with the full factory efforts, such teams were allowed extra fuel (24 liters instead of 21), and double the factory engine allowance, 12 instead of 6.

To prevent new factories from taking advantage of the loophole, the MSMA members – the factories involved in MotoGP – retained the right to claim the engine of such teams. Hence the name, Claiming Rule Team or CRT.

The new rules proposed for 2014 make the claiming rule obsolete. With the introduction of spec-ECU hardware, the teams now have the choice of either running their own ECU software, and accepting the limitation of just 20 liters of fuel and an allocation of 5 engines, or running the spec software supplied by Dorna, and written by Magneti Marelli for their spec-ECU, and being granted 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines.

That choice dictates whether they are regarded as an MSMA entry – i.e. a factory or satellite entry – or a non-MSMA entry, allowing them more fuel. All entries are assessed by both IRTA and the Grand Prix Commission, with the GPC having the final say on whether to allow an entry as either MSMA or non-MSMA.

With these new rules already in place, a proposal is to be made to the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission at the Catalunya round of MotoGP in Barcelona to scrap the claiming rule altogether, we have learned. All of the parties in the GPC are believed to be behind the proposal, and it is expected to be adopted without opposition.

The dropping of the claiming rule will come as a special relief to Yamaha. Their proposal to help expand the grid – leasing satellite-spec engines to private teams, to be fitted into chassis designed by builders such as FTR or Kalex – left them theoretically open to having their engines claimed by an other factory.

With Suzuki entering  MotoGP in 2014 with a big-bang firing order inline four, being able to examine a Yamaha engine, built to the same engine layout and design principles, would provide some interesting lessons.

The gentleman’s agreement among the existing factories meant that none of them have ever intended to actually claim the engine, and Suzuki would have honored that same agreement. But with the claiming rule removed, that possibility also disappears, should Suzuki, or another manufacturer, ever change their mind about such a code of honor.

It will of course also prevent the other factories from claiming engines from Honda’s production racer, to be supplied to teams in 2014. Though that engine is of a lower spec than the factory RC213V machines – it will lack both pneumatic valves and HRC’s seamless gearbox – there would still have been enough to learn for an interested factory.

The demise of the claiming rules does not mean the end of the CRTs, however. The name may no longer be accurate, but the machines and teams will continue, some continuing much as before. It looks like at least two FTR Kawasakis will continue to be raced in 2014, while Aspar looks set to keep racing Aprilia’s ART machines.

Those teams will cease to officially be called CRTs, and become instead non-MSMA entries. Teams opting to use Honda’s production racer, or a leased Yamaha M1 engine in an FTR chassis, will also be non-MSMA entries, the same as the former CRTs. The existing factory and satellite teams will then become MSMA entries.

In summary, there will continue to be two classes of entries in MotoGP: MSMA and non-MSMA. The deciding factor between the two types of entry will be the choice of whether to run Dorna’s spec software, or to continue to write their own custom software.

That decision will then affect how much fuel they are allowed and how many engines they can use all year. Given the central role of software in modern MotoGP racing, it is a far more rational and logical separation than the former criteria.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • That’s a lot of clever tap dancing to accommodate Yamaha’s engine lease program. It paves an interesting road for Aprilia with the ART though.

  • TheSwede

    That ART bike is on the hot track to being a mid pack contender, at least as good as satellite Ducatis and where I imagine Suzuki will start out next year. I hope they stick around..

  • Cpt.Slow

    Id like to see Ape’s pneumatic valve’d ART bike… can anyone confirm if the current ART’s are utilizing gear driven cams?

  • TexusTim

    i hope they stick around too..the software thing is what drives this stuff…honda has so much more development in that regard…..should anyone even be trying to even the playing field ? or expect the other teams to step it up ? those without feel one way those with all feel another way about it….this I think is comon in most forms of motosports racing, someone is allways trying to catch up to what gives the winners and edge..for sure in motorcycle racing much has to do with the dna of the rider as anything else. back in the day some guys could ride a tin can and win but not so much anymore, electronics plays such a role…someone like mm who really doesnt know anything else, this gives him an edge the older guys just dont have, some adapt better than others but it must be totaly different to grow up racing with all the elctronics.

  • CTK

    We will see what happens. The gap may shrink but it definitely won’t close. I kind of wonder if it would be a good idea to have everyone on leased bikes and do away with factory teams altogether. Maybe the tech wouldn’t be as exciting but the racing would. Riders and teams could work with the factories to exchange feedback and make for better bikes… but the gulf now is ridiculous.

    I’m wondering if the move to spec tires was the right one too. Every bike has its own engine and chassis. Why does everyone need the same tires? Let people design their own tires like everyone else, and build tires around bikes instead of vice versa.

    I don’t know. I don’t think I agree with their balance/selection of bespoke vs spec parts right now. A good season means you don’t know who or what will win. Right now it looks like anyone on a Honda will be a shoe in. They should be changing the rules to eliminate gross advantages.

  • Maas

    Get rid of the spec tires and let each team use their supplier of choice. Ducati will be the first team to benefit.

  • agree :D

  • TexusTim

    if you close down the mono tire rule some people will get an unfair advantage by overzelous tire reps trying to get a rossi on there tire..they will promise late night shippments of tires for some solution that needs to be adreesed at some track..this is why the rules came into play..and across motorsports this is a dominating factor and why so many have adpoted the mono tire rule…I dont think it should be scraped..or we would see more lopsided races not closer.

  • idroppedit

    Sad that so called professional bike journalists still call a cross plane firing order a big bang engine. … You should know better! (A big bang engine has 2 or more cylinders firing at the same time. … The m1 is not a big bang engine. )

    Otherwise a pretty logical step for the teams.

  • smiler

    I cannot see the point of reinforcing a series where there are 2 distinct types of bike. It is like Le Mans where you have different classes of car in the same race. Except MOTOGP does it with 18 bikes, Le Man does it with 50+ cars.

    Reduce costs across the board like F1 whilst in recession.

    And why not allow 2 tire manufactures. After all it is a competition and the single biggest factor in that competition is tires. So why make that a monopoly that, as can be seen in F1 clearer favors some companies more than others. So all you end up with is motorcycle companies designing their bikes for the monopolistic tire maker. Tail wagging dog.

  • marcus667

    Thought the m1 was arranged in long bang firing order ? , and i feel sorry for the ART if they get rid of crt

  • Dewey

    They’re journalists not engineers. Not everyone can be Kevin Cameron.

  • It depends on what you define as a “big bang” firing order, and whether you’re talking two-strokes and four-strokes…

    The idea is to space out the cylinder firings so there is a gap that helps hook-up the rear tire. That doesn’t necessarily mean two pistons need to fire at the exact same time on a four-stroke motor.