MotoGP: Privateers Privileges in 2012

Game Changer

MotoGP privateer teams will have more flexibility when the new 1000cc rules take affect for the premier class in 2012, including larger fuel capacity and additional engines over factory teams.

Last December, MotoGP’s governing body, the International Federation of Motorcycles (FIM), and the series rights holder Dorna Sports confirmed the engine changes for the 2012 season: maximum engine capacity of 1,000cc, a limit of 4 cylinders, and a maximum cylinder-bore measurement of 81 mm.

Additional rules were announced in February, including a minimum weight of 150kg for bikes up to 800cc, 153kg for 800-1000cc bikes, a maximum of six engineers per rider for the entire season, and a fuel capacity of 21 liters.

But riders in privateer squads, referenced in "Claiming Rule Teams" in the new regulations, will get a break in 2012, allowed to use 12 engines each season and a maximum fuel capacity of 24 liters.

The new engines-per-season rule is the one that has teams and riders complaining. The rule was introduced at the end of 2009, allowing teams to use only five engines for the remaining seven races.

This rule will be affective 2010; it states that each rider will have only six engines for the entire 18-race season. The engines are sealed with an official tag on a wire, and Dorna will be able to supervise which engines are used as the riders exit the pit lane.

This new regulation immediately sparked much confrontation nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.

Valentino Rossi Speaks…

"Only six engines for one season is not enough – it’s very tight. If we had eight, or ten, it would be easier and less risky. But this is the rule, so all the manufacturers have to adapt to this rule, and also all the riders have to pay attention and try to save the engines throughout the end of the season."

Further details of the "Claiming Rule Teams" for satellite teams are expected to be announced this May.

Recent MotoGP Engine Rule Changes

2002: 2-stroke 500cc engines are changed to 990cc 4-stroke engines
2007: Maximum engine capacity is reduced from 990cc to 800cc
2010: Maximum engine usage is reduced to six engines per rider
2012: Maximum engine capacity increased to 1000cc, with a limit of 4 cylinders and a maximum 81mm cylinder bore