Every new season sees tweaks to the regulations but for 2012, they are particularly significant. The motorcycles that will light up the Grand Prix circuits of the world have fundamentally changed for 2012 and here is a simple guide to what has changed.
The 800cc era is over after five years which saw three different riders and manufacturers taste championship success. The new breed of MotoGP bike will have four-stroke, four cylinder engines with a maximum cylinder bore of 81mm. The maximum capacity is now 1000cc but the season limit of six engines remains. Any rider who exceeds that limit will have to start from the pitlane whenever they use an extra engine for the first time.
Claiming Rules Teams
It's no secret that grid numbers have been far too low in recent years. The authorities see 'CRT' as the answer. The concept allows teams to run their own chassis and engine combination so long as the FIM approve them as a CRT entrant.
CRT runners will enjoy certain technical advantages such as 12 engine limit for the season (as opposed to six) and the capability to carry 24 litres of fuel in a race instead of 21. Rival teams will be able to buy, or 'claim' their engine gearbox and transmission following a race for â‚¬20,000 (or â‚¬15,000 for the engine alone) which the FIM hopes will prevent teams from spending extortionate amounts of money on developing a component which someone else can buy on the cheap.
CRT is not a separate class and therefore, Claiming Rule teams will only score points if they finish in the top 15 and will be classified in the Riders' Championship along with factory teams.
125s class is a thing of the past and Moto3 will become the new proving ground for Grand Prix stars of the future. The bikes will feature 250cc single cylinder, four-stroke engines with manufacturers expected to supply up to 15 riders. The new format is intended to be more cost-effective and with 32 hungry youngsters laying claim to a bike, it should be just as entertaining as the 125s of yesteryear.
Instead of limiting the number of days allowed for testing, riders will be allowed access to each manufacturer's allocation of 240 tyres, a rule that only previously applied to test riders. Other MotoGP riders who are not part of a works team will be allowed an individual limit of 120 tyres. Moto2 & Moto3 riders will not be allowed to test at Grand Prix venues during the year (unless they are wildcard entrants).
This regulation existed last year but in order to give riders every chance to earn their spot on the grid, those who fail to qualify on Saturday will be given one final chance in the warm-up to get themselves in. If a rider fails to beat the 107% time in qualifying, the warm-up and fails to show competitive pace in free practice, they won't be allowed to start.
In the event of a wet race, all bikes in every class must display a red rain light to reduce the risk of riders colliding due to poor visibility. These were seen for the first time at the Jerez test in March. Don’t expect to see them lit at any stage this weekend though!