The winds of change have not died down in MotoGP and it looks like the future will bring a new grid structure. The latest paddock whispers say that starting from 2018, each manufacturer will be required to field at least two teams.
While we are waiting for more official info on this matter, let’s take our time to analyze the implications of such a measure. For starters, if Kawasaki, BMW or MV Agusta stay out of MotoGP, we’ll be looking at no less than six manufacturers in the championship. They are Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, and KTM, each house with two factory machines on the grid, accounting for 12 riders, already.
Now, some of these are backing satellite teams since quite some time ago. Yamaha has Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3, Ducati has Octo Pramac, while Honda powers Marc VDS and LCR. Aprilia, KTM, and Suzuki are fairly new to the championship, despite having raced back in the day, but they will have to put two more bikes on the grid, as well.
Of all manufacturers, Ducati has the most numerous fleet in MotoGP, with no less than eight machines: two factory, two satellite, two at Aspar and two at Avintia. This will have to change, naturally, and it is hard to believe that Octo Pramac will be ditched. A far easier to believe eventuality is that of Aspar and Avintia going for Suzuki, Aprilia, or KTM.
Likewise, given the good relationship between Herve Poncharal and Yamaha, we can almost bet that Tech 3 will remain Iwata’s satellite. On the other hand, with Jack Miller racking up his maiden MotoGP victory and the efforts of Marc van der Straten reaching fruition, he might be willing to step up and get two satellite Honda machines.
This might leave Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR on the outside, yet with the ability to choose to get hardware from the other manufacturers. As Aprilia is already working with the former Honda satellite Gresini, it would not surprise us to see LCR choosing to become Aprilia’s satellite outfit.
Rumors indicate that Avintia could get Suzuki bikes whereas Aspar might go for KTM. Even bolder rumors see even Valentino Rossi thinking about taking the step to MotoGP with at least one VR46 rider, possibly with KTM, with whom he’s already working in Moto3.
Satellite teams will receive €2.8 mil per season from Dorna and the bike rental prices would be capped at €2.2 mil per season per driver. It is yet uncertain how these measures will be received, or if Dorna envisages more than 24 riders on the grid.
In case these proposals are passed and the interest in MotoGP will be on the rise, we might indeed see even more riders in the premier class. And judging by the increasing degree of unpredictability of the races, this might make MotoGP more interesting, which is, per se, awesome.
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