The battle for the future of MotoGP continues to gain intrigue, as Yamaha is reportedly considering leasing to private teams the motor found on the Yamaha YZR-M1. The news is being reported by MCN, which heralds the event as the end to the CRT experiment, and while that last part seems a bit hyperbolic, Yamaha’s move could have a profound affect on the series if it comes to fruition.

Currently on proposal for the 2013 MotoGP Championship is a grid comprised of 12 prototype machines (four from each of the three remaining factories), with the rest of the grid comprised of CRT entries (production motors in prototype chassis). That landscape could change however in 2014, as HRC has tipped that it has a production-racer, based off the Honda RC213V in the works, which it will sell to teams for around €1 million.

Adding yet another dimension to the bike line-up, Yamaha is said to be considering leasing the M1 motor to private teams, who in turn could use the prototype-based engine design in their own chassis design, much in the same manner that is currently being done with the production-based motors.

Since the motor would come with an electronics package (Magneti Marelli, we presume), as well as development support from Yamaha Racing, the move could potentially limit the number of CRT entries on the grid, though it seems a bit ambitious to think it would replace every CRT on the grid, especially now as the Aprilia ART is approaching satellite-prototype capabilities at tracks like Phillip Island.

That is not to say however that such a move wouldn’t be a huge coup for the Japanese manufacturer, who like HRC, is likely keen to keep the MotoGP landscape at its current status quo. One important aspect of the deal is that Yamaha would be leasing, not selling, the YZR-M1 motor to private teams, meaning like in the satellite prototype teams, the competitiveness of the private team’s entries will also be second to the factory effort.

With the future of MotoGP set to enter a new chapter in 2014, one way or another, Yamaha’s concession is the latest movement in the posturing over the quiet power struggle that is going on within the premier-class. Whether the move is being made in earnest, or just another attempt by the OEMs to hold onto control of the series remains to be seen.

One thing is certain though, there have been quiet rumors within the GP paddock that we may not see Honda’s production-racer, despite news of a consumer-level equivalent.

Source: MCN; Photo: Yamaha Racing

  • Mike Lew

    This is terrific news, actually. It potentially gives the privateer teams a legit shot at a competitive bike (and occasional podium). And, as these are prototype bikes, it prevents some of the blur from the line between MotoGP and WSBK. Everyone has been worried about what will happen to WSBK with Dorna at the bars. This might allow Dorna to leave WSBK as a production++ class, reduce the CRT clutter while keeping grid numbers high and preserve prototypes as top of the heap. If the real, unstated intent of the CRT class was to force the factories hands in sharing the technology, it looks like it might have been a savvy move.

  • TonyS

    They should lease one to Ducati.

  • Westward

    It would be nice to see satellite teams on the podium and even winning like the days when Melandri and Elias were doing it.

  • Ken C.

    This would be a game changer, quite literally. The CRT experiment was interesting, but it was literally like running 2 different races at the same time on the same track. I got tired of seeing the CRTs get lapped at every race. I got tired of seeing Colin Edwards head back to the paddock in every race too. What a waste.

  • Gritboy

    I’m frustrating with the current state of MotoGP. Much like Jonathan Rea stated last season, I think thing MotoGP is 100% about top-level prototypes bikes. Aside from some basic guidelines for power/weight I feel it has been diluted by the CRT stuff. We have plenty of spec and modified racing leagues around the world… MotoGP shouldn’t be about having any bikes be made out of “off the shelf” parts.

  • anti

    A bit more like F1 right? Renault, Mercedes engines, different team with their own chassis etc. Could be a game changer for the better. Unfortunately, we’ll need to see MotoGP bring big sponsor money for it to take off, or Red Bull team at least.

  • Cpt.Slow

    You mean Ducati should lease a chassis.

  • Nothing wrong with the Desmo’s motor makes the most power on the grid.. Chassis and weight balance is the issue…

  • MacGuyTpa

    @Cpt.Slow – So true.

    @anyone who thinks this will improve the situation – It will not. HRC’s idea of at least selling a production prototype racer is clearly a better option than this, even if I do personally think the price is a bit to high. At least the teams own it and are not under a lease agreement that will not allow them to do much to the engine and thus allowing Yamaha to keep their power and updates in check so those team could not provide a real challenge. All I see here is Yamaha making sure they can keep the status quo going and in the end all we get is the HRC and Yamaha in top five every race with one or maybe two of the factory satellite team bikes break in there too (unless Ducati actually does something in the next year or two).

    I am not blind to the fact that there is class system on the grid right now and it isn’t providing great spectating, but costs must be controlled soon or we won’t have must to watch at all before long. Is a full CRT grid the answer? Is forcing the factory teams to either lease or sell production prototype racers the key to success? And or will controlling the tyre, ECU, and other components be the key? I don’t know and I do not believe anyone commenting on this site has the answer either. The only answer I can provide is that I want to watch exciting racing that isn’t dominated by factory teams because I like not knowing at the beginning of each race who will win out of maybe ten riders and bikes and right now I am sick of watching two factories and two or maybe four riders with a change win or podium.

  • MacGuyTpa

    Last sentence should read – “The only answer I can provide is that I want to watch exciting racing that isn’t dominated by factory teams because I like not knowing at the beginning of each race who will win out of maybe ten riders and bikes and right now I am sick of watching two factories and two or maybe four riders with a chance to win or podium.

  • Daan

    Leasing the engine would indeed be a mediocre idea, selling it would be great. But what would be even greater is if factories can get away with only producing a motogp worthy engine and not a whole bike. Sort of like how mclaren has been mercedes’ only f1 presence for years up until now. How great would it be to have a kawasaki suter out there with a big k logo which occasionally finishes on the podium or a suzuki ftr. That could bring all the big factories back to motogp for a lot less money.

  • sburns2421

    Moriwaki didn’t do anything in the early days of the four-stroke era despite having the V-5 from Honda. Team KR had very limited success once they had a Honda engine also, and they certainly had the resources and experience to build a great bike.

    These bikes will likely just be grid fillers, displacing a few of the worst CRT bikes. It is a romantic notion that someone else besides the factory could take their engine and build a bike around it that is better than the factory machine, but that is just fantasy.

  • Ken C.

    I don’t expect this new breed of bikes to beat the factory teams, but it might even out the racing, so that there isn’t so much disparity between the factory bikes and the CRT bikes. Seems like if a factory bike runs off track these days, and they can manage to pick the bike up again, they’re able to pass the CRT bikes like they were standing still. That shouldn’t be the case.

  • MacGuyTpa

    @Daan – I could see that method working if the factories were only allowed to build and lease engines and not actually compete themselves. The way I see it, if a factory team in also suppling engines to other teams they will just detune them or not provide any updates in order to keep the leasing teams at a competitive disadvantage.

    @sburns2421 – You are correct, Moriwaki didn’t get anything done in those early days, but I would not dimiss the limited succes KR had as a failure. If anything they showed what a well run private team could achieve. I can only imagine what could happen if teams like KR could get ahold of the same engine and state of tune the factories have access to.

    @Ken C. – It shouldn’t be the case at all.

    Three scenarios come to mind for me.
    1:) Only allow the factories to supply engines, either production or prototype based, and not to compete directly (essentially a complete CRT field so to speak). This could be a lease or buy system with either a support contract or a pay-as-you-go support system offered to each team. Whatever the case cost would still have to be reasonable.

    2:) The same as option 1 above but allow the factories to compete as well.

    3:) Have the factories sell or lease a complete production prototype racer package. Say two bikes and support for a reasonable enough price that teams could afford to show up year after year.

    My fear is that the factories will restrict anything they lease or sell in any senario to the point it does not allow a well run, managed, and talented team to compete anywhere near the level of their factory or satellite team bikes. And the factories (MSMA) have proven that they can not make a set of regulations that does not involve teams spending themselves out of the sport to win or even podium, much less a championship.

  • MikeD

    @Cpt.Slow & DC4GO: