In a somewhat bizzare move, the GP Commission is set to discuss the possibility of bringing 1000cc race bikes to MotoGP a year earlier than previously agreed upon. A proposal set to be put forth on Friday by IRTA President and Tech3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal would allow for 1000cc motorcycles to race in MotoGP in 2011 rather than in 2012 as was planned because of the alleged need to fill the grid from its current 17 bike total.
Poncharal cites a lack of options for private teams to enter MotoGP in 2011 as the reason for the IRTA’s proposal. Knowing that no factory team is going to expand its ranks, and that satellite teams are not likely to lease year-old bikes (the 800cc bikes are not likely to evolve much in the next year), Poncharal therefore believes the only solution to getting more bikes on the grid is to bring the 1000cc rule change a year early. There’s some circular logic in that reasoning, and perhaps the largest problem with the proposal is the fact that development of the 1000cc bikes is virtually zero right now.
Poncharal’s argument also doesn’t account for the fact that when a team leases a bike from a factory, they’re essentially signing up for the ability to race, somewhat competitively, in the MotoGP series. At the end of the day, the cost of the endeavor is relative, and there’s little material difference in leasing an 800cc machine “from last year” and leasing a new 1000cc machine, if both solutions allow a satellite team to race in a meaningful way in MotoGP.
From this reasoning, we’re not sure that there is as little of an incentive for new teams to sign up to race in MotoGP in 2011 as Poncharal claims, at least not because of the displacement rules. There still remains larger factors like finding sponsorships, the gap between factory and satellite bikes, and the overall lack of a business model in racing teams, which prevent would-be competitors from entering the series.
While it’s not likely that the rest of the GP Commission will see eye-to-eye with the IRTA, the body’s proposal for an extra practice session on Friday’s is expected to go through, and to take affect after MotoGP stops at Aragon. More on both of these developments as we get them.