MotoGP commercial rights holder Carmelo Ezpeleta is open to the possibility of bringing the 1000cc switch forward to 2011, but believes the originally planned 2012 regulation change remains more likely.
The FIM, motorcycling's governing body, announced last month that MotoGP would switch from its current 800cc engine package to 1000cc engines with a maximum of four cylinders from 2012. Ezpeleta said the current priority was to finalize the detail of the new rules before the 2010 championship got under way, with a series of further meetings between the teams, manufacturers and FIM planned for the coming months.
But he added that the process could be accelerated and the rules changed for 2011 if this was the unanimous choice of all parties involved.
"If everything is OK, the rules will be finished by the beginning of the 2010 season," said Ezpeleta. "Then this is the principle – we are not thinking right now to go before 2012, but if there is a consensus then this could happen. That is something we can discuss later in the season. But, in principle, we are discussing for 2012."
Ezpeleta believes a 2012 rules switch is still the most probable outcome, and said the rest of the 800cc regulations would remain stable until the new era started. This would rule out any early amendments to the testing restrictions and engine life rules introduced last year to save costs.
"I think that the regulations for 2010 and 2011 are going to remain as they are," Ezpeleta said. "There is a consensus among all the members. Should they all decide to change things, then that should be possible, but for the time being I don't think we are going to make any changes in 2010 or 2011. The big change is going to be with the new category of 1000cc in 2012."
He hopes that the switch to 1000cc rules will increase the MotoGP field, although he insisted that Dorna does not want or need a huge rise in entries – and is not yet talking to potential new entrants.
"We have not started to speak about this because we do have these regulations but not everything is properly completed yet," said Ezpeleta. "I hope to have 22 motorcycles in 2012. That's the maximum that we want to have. Eventually we could go up 24, but the idea is 22 for us. I do hope that we are going to get another manufacturer, but we have not worried about this because we still have time."
Ezpeleta is confident that the existing entrants will all be retained through the rest of the 800cc era, and dismissed a suggestion that Suzuki's future was not secure.
"We have a contract and an agreement, and the contract specifies that they have to participate through 2011," he said. "Usually contracts are followed, they usually have value."