Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com
Several days ago the Grand Prix Commission informed MotoGP fans and the media of the decision to change the practice format at the final two rounds of the 2010 season. The three-practice format was used on a trial basis at the recent Gran Premio A-Style de Aragón and now will be utilized at both the Bwin Gran Prémio de Portugal and the Grand Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana – Estoril and Valencia, respectively. This new format was altered to accommodate two MotoGP practices on Friday and one on Saturday morning, with Qualifying Practice that afternoon. The cumulative time is the same as the current format; it is simply allotted differently. The decision was made mostly due to the overwhelming support that the new schedule configuration received from most everyone in the MotoGP Paddock at the Aragón round. The final product sends the 125GP riders out first on Friday and Saturday, followed by MotoGP and then Moto2. That order repeats both days with each class having, in total, three Free Practices and one Qualifying Practice each. Sunday’s plan remains the same with the Warm Up in the morning and the Main Event in the afternoon.
Simultaneously, another announcement was made regarding the primary tool of the MotoGP teams, the race bike. A new rule has been handed down which requires teams to have a specified fuel pressure regulator on their machine which has been approved by the MotoGP Technical Director (Mike Webb, currently). The additional statute comes along with new limits to the amount of pressure and flow rate allowed in the fueling system. It is not overly restrictive – no team is running beyond these limits at present, but it does force teams to purchase and install the regulator per the specification. This rule was actually considered at the end of the 2009 to be implemented at the start of the 2010 MotoGP season; it was dropped without announcement before the first race was held. The rule has been updated a bit more this time, but it is written in the books now and must be followed. The political and strategic background of this seemingly small change is absolutely enormous; it is wrapped up in agreements between the FIM, Dorna, the MotoGP teams (IRTA), and the manufacturers (MSMA) – and it concerns control of the series itself.
The Grand Prix Commission is responsible for the content, meaning and intent of this announcement. The 18 September 2010 meeting from which it came was attended by Carmelo Ezpeleta (Chairman, FIM), Claude Danis (FIM), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA), Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Sports Director) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary for the meeting). The decision was unanimous and the press release straight-forward.
Actually, this is a start towards a different MotoGP series. We will see much more of this in 2012 when the new displacement rule comes into effect. Perhaps the manufacturers will get pushed back a bit and the MotoGP grid will expand as racing at that level becomes a little less expensive.