Official: MotoGP Drops Rookie Rule & Single-Bike Rule – But Restrictions On Factory Bikes Introduced

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Much was expected of this Friday’s meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, but in the end, the decisions taken were relatively minor. Dorna, IRTA, the FIM, and the MSMA agreed on a number of proposals which had widely been expected, but made no real progress on the major rule changes expected for the 2014 or 2015 season.

The rule change with the biggest immediate impact was the dropping of the Rookie Rule, as we reported during the Silverstone round of MotoGP. The dropping of the Rookie Rule, which prevents new entries into the MotoGP class from going straight to a factory team, opens the way for Marc Marquez to join the factory Repsol Honda team next season. Contrary to popular opinion, however, the rule was not dropped at the request of HRC, but rather of the Honda satellite teams themselves, both Lucio Cecchinello and Fausto Gresini fearing the disruption that Marquez would bring for just a single year.

While the Rookie Rule was scrapped, a couple of other proposals which had been feared were also dropped. The MSMA proposal to go to a single bike – as is the case in Moto2, Moto3 and WSBK – was dropped after opposition from the teams. A proposal to ban the use of carbon brakes was also dropped, especially after pressure on Brembo and Nissin elicited promises to examine the price structure of their products.

One rule that did get accepted was the limit on the number of bikes that each factory can supply. From 2013, each manufacturer will be limited to two factory entries and two satellite entries, though the wording is such that the spec of the machines is not specified. The two factory riders would naturally have factory bikes, but the satellite teams could also field a fully factory-backed bike, such as they did for Marco Simoncelli in 2011.

The most interesting rule change was the freezing of the bore and stroke of all MotoGP entries to the bore and stroke they are currently using. If Ducati are not using the full 1000cc, as many both inside and outside the paddock suspect, they would be stuck with the lower capacity until the end of the 2014 season. This could be the first step towards a freeze on engine development, an idea that is popular with some manufacturers and with the CRT machines. Whether an engine development freeze would be imposed on the CRT bikes is unclear, but if they escaped that freeze, it would give them a chance to close the gap to the factory bikes a little.

The restriction on the number of gear ratios is also in line with this idea. Restrictions already exist in Moto3, and the greater torque and wider powerband of the 1000s already makes the use of a lot of different ratios unnecessary. The teams barely touch the inside of the gearbox, so introducing a limit on the number of ratios allowed has little impact on the setup of the bike. Even though they don’t use the extra gearing currently allowed, they still carry it around the world just in case, adding expense to both the lease price of the bikes, and to the transport costs, the box or two of extra gear cogs a heavy item to transport.

Talks on the rev-limit and a spec ECU were pushed forward once again. A decision on this will probably only be taken much later in the year; whether that means the change will be made later or the restrictions more radical remains to be seen.

Below is the press release from the FIM containing the full details of the decisions made at today’s meeting of the Grand Prix Commission:

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 28 June in Assen, decided the following:

Sporting Regulations

Effective immediately:

The same penalty that exists in the MotoGP class for exceeding the permitted number of engines used will also apply in the Moto3 class. The rider will start the race 10 seconds after the green light is on at the pit lane exit.

Effective 01 January 2013:

“Rookie” riders will be permitted to be entered by a factory team.

In the MotoGP class manufacturers are restricted to two direct entries per manufacturer and may provide material for a maximum of two entries per manufacturer operated by Independent teams.

Technical Regulations

Effective Immediately:

Machines entered in the MotoGP class are restricted to using unchanged bore and stroke dimensions throughout 2012-2014. Current dimensions must be notified to the Technical Director.

Minor changes to the regulations concerning Moto3 parts supply were approved. The effect is to ensure that upgrades are available to all entries at the same time.

Effective 01 January 2013:

In the MotoGP class machines may use a maximum of 24 possible gear ratios and four possible ratios for the primary gear.

Other Proposals

A proposal to restrict riders in the MotoGP class to the use of one machine was rejected.

A proposal to ban the use of non ferrous materials for MotoGP class brake discs was rejected.

A proposal to mandate the use of wheels with a standard specification for strength and durability, applicable to all classes, was postponed pending further discussions between factories and wheel suppliers.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the changes may be viewed on:

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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