MotoGP Grid Expected to Grow in 2012

May 1, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Jorge Lorenzo got off to an early lead via his pole position start - Estoril 2011
The 2012 MotoGP grid should be more robust, with the FIM announcing 14 teams and 21 riders as potential additions to the premier class roster.

The FIM has announced 16 new teams submitted applications to participate in the 2012 MotoGP season. The sanctioning body of Grand Prix released the application data, as expected, during Round 3 of the MotoGP Championship at Estoril. The deadline for teams expressing interest in participation was April 29.

IRTA (International Road-Racing Teams Association) and MotoGP rights holder Dorna reviewed the submissions, approving 14 of the teams and 21 proposed riders to proceed with the application process. The teams have until May 14, Round 4 of the season at Le Mans, to provide full details of their participation. Upon passing that examination, teams must then submit a security deposit by June 3. A final list of the approved teams will be announced in conjunction with the festivities at the accompanying Catalunya Grand Prix.

Only new teams wishing to enter the premier series in 2012 were subject to the deadline, with existing teams exempt from the submission process. The 14 new squads will potentially compete as a Claiming Rules Team (CRT) under the new 2012 rules and regulations, which most notably reintroduce 1000cc machines into the premier class.

CRT entries are subject to different rules than those of existing MotoGP teams entered by members of the MSMA (Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association). Foremost in these differences will be more engines allotted for the season (12 for CRT, 6 for MSMA), and larger fuel capacities (24 liters for CRT, 21 for MSMA). Under the new rules manufacturers in the MSMA have the right to purchase a CRT engine post-race for a fixed sum (20,000 Euros for engine with gearbox and transmission, 15,000 for engine without gearbox and transmission).

The 14 teams and 21 potential riders bode well for a more robust grid in 2012. Not since the 2007 season has MotoGP seen a score of regular competitors in the premier class. That number looks to expand considerably. The Moto2 grid, from which some of the new teams will likely draw their personnel, fields more than double the riders of a current MotoGP race. At Estoril, where the FIM announced the new applications, the Moto2 race fielded a grid of 37 riders.

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