Alternative MotoGP prototypes
Roadracing World has posted an interview with Peter Clifford, who ran the WCM Red Bull Yamaha team this past season with McCoy and Hopkins on 2-smoke Yamahas. Red Bull has pulled its sponsorship, and it is unlikely that the team will be able to source bikes from an established factory.
Without A Sponsor Or Bikes, What Happens To WCM In MotoGP?
Of particular interest to me was this excerpt from the interview:
RW: Your team still has two spots on next year’s grid. What are the plans for next year?
PC: “We’ve hung on sort of talking to people and hoping to find a sponsorship for factory bikes and all that sort of thing. Well, it’s got to the stage where it’s no sense in dreaming about that anymore. We’ve got to get realistic. So we basically have two technical possibilities we’ve been discussing this week since Valencia.
“Went to see Harris Performance Products in Hartford, England, and they’re prepared to put together a rolling chassis that (works) around a much modified R1 engine that their engine people say that can immediately, almost immediately produce 180 horsepower. With work, it could turn out 200 horsepower, which wouldn’t be too shabby. I mean, if you look at any of the Superbike lap times, they’re not slow. So if you have a 1000cc Superbike that weighs just about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) less than a Superbike weight limit, then you’ve got something that’s quite powerful. I mean, whether we can get an R1-engined bike down to the (MotoGP four-cylinder) weight limit, 145 kilos (320 pounds), immediately is questionable, but obviously that would be the aim.
“The other possibility is the company that owns the NCR Ducati, an Italian company called Poggipolini. They run the NCR Ducati team in World Superbike, and they are specialists in making high-tech titanium stuff for everybody from Ferrari to Augusta helicopters. What they have proposed is a very special bike based on a Superbike Ducati but using titanium crankcases and things like a titanium swingarm and loads of other stuff, hopefully, to bring the weight down from 162 kilos (356 pounds) to 135 kilos (297 pounds), which is the twin-cylinder MotoGP weight limit. And if they can achieve that, then we’ve got something that which is very, very potent, obviously. They’ve just rolled out a racebike with the air-cooled 1000cc Ducati engine in it, and that weighed in at 112 kilograms (246 pounds). The water cooling and that would be heavier, but they’ve obviously got the ability to make very light motorcycles.
I'd like to see them try it.