MotoGP manufacturers to set to offer greatly reduced engine prices to potential new chassis manufacturers to head off Dorna's suggestion that 1000cc production bike engines should be allowed to join the field.
With the MotoGP grid down to 17 bikes after the departure of the Hernando Ducati squad, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta suggested the option of permitting 1000cc production engines as well. This led to fears of a class division within MotoGP and potential confusion with World Superbike engines racing MotoGP prototypes in the same race.
AUTOSPORT reports that the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association is set to instead propose a price reduction of up to 75 percent on engine supplies for chassis manufacturers interested in entering MotoGP. The plan will be officially presented to Dorna at the Indianapolis Grand Prix at the end of August.
It is believed that Dorna floated the 1000cc engine idea to spur MotoGP into taking action over the shrinking entry. World Superbike promoter Infront Motor Sports issued a statement this morning indicating that it would strongly oppose any suggestion of the MotoGP rules encroaching on its own technical package.
"Infront Motor Sports does not consider a similar idea either to be realistic or feasible in view of the existing contracts between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports itself and in view of the specific characteristics of the World Superbike and MotoGP championships," said the statement.
"We believe therefore that such a project will not have any follow-up. Nevertheless, wherever future developments should render necessary any action of defense of the rights of Infront Motor Sports, as well as those of all the teams, manufacturers, riders, sponsors and media who have invested in the Superbike and Supersport World Championships, such action will be immediately set in motion at all levels."
Ducati boss Livio Suppo said he was also against the prospect of two engine types sharing the grid, and reiterated his belief that the revenue received by the teams should receive as much focus as cost cutting.
"I think it is difficult because at the end of the day it has always been difficult to find a compromise between two engine capacities in the same class," he said. "Especially here it's not only the capacity but the general cost of the fact that one is a full prototype and the other one not.
"We have to think about it. Sure we need to do something to increase the number of bikes and decrease the cost. And still I believe we should also think about how to increase the revenue because we always speak about to how to reduce the costs. But it seems to me that we are not focused enough about how to increase the revenues."
He believes the idea of reducing engine costs is feasible, but cannot be hurried.
"We have already spoken about it, but I think we need a little more time," said Suppo. "All this system takes time and there is this idea to try to think about the possibility of renting just the engines for a fixed reasonable price.
"This could be an option. We need more time to understand. For sure as I have said before if we find out a way to increase the revenues then we are speaking about nothing. Because at the end of the day two years ago the prices are like now and the championship was not suffering."
Suppo added that he still felt MotoGP was in good financial health compared to other sports.
"If a satellite team can put together five or six million, that is a huge amount of money but for a world championship is not that much," he said.
"A bicycle team is much more expensive, and don't speak about Formula 1! There are a lot of global sports that can put together more money than us. So we should work more on that."