MotoGP set to scrap rookie rule
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta says he has tabled a proposition to scrap MotoGP's rookie rule with the Grand Prix Commission.
Ezpeleta, who had previously been adamant the rule would stay in place, said his reversal was based on discussions with the series' current satellite teams - the squads the rookie rule is designed to protect. The regulation precludes MotoGP newcomers from riding for factory teams in their debut year.
Rather than supporting the rule however, Ezpeleta says Tech 3, LCR and Gresini valued keeping their existing riders over the benefits of keeping the rookie rule in place.
Assured therefore that there were no objections to scrapping the rule, Ezpeleta said - as reported by AUTOSPORT last week – that applying to cancel the rule was the logical next step.
"We talked to the people who might enjoy this rule, the four independents. They decided it was more important to keep their existing riders than to have the possibility of having new riders coming from other categories," he told the MotoGP website at Silverstone.
"We decided from common sense to propose to the Grand Prix Commission the request to cancel the rookie rule.
"The request was made by the MSMA [Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers Association] in Jerez and we said no.
"Now after many discussions with the independent teams we decided it is better, and in the help of the independent teams, to cancel the rule.
"This is something that needs to be approved by the GPC regarding the possibility, that's all."
The implications of the rookie rule have been hotly debated in the aftermath of Casey Stoner's shock retirement, and Honda's subsequent desire to call up Moto2 starlet Marc Marquez into its works squad.
While the rookie rule prevents this at present, it would also be difficult for Honda to place him with a satellite team – as has happened in the past – due to potential conflicts over the fact Marquez in backed by works team sponsor Repsol.
Ezpeleta acknowledged that the MotoGP landscape had changed since the rookie rule's introduction, and hinted it was another factor behind his call to scrap the rule.
"The situation is that the rookie rule was implemented to protect the interests of the independent teams. [At that] moment we had around 20 factory bikes, all of them similar performance," he said.
"Today the situation is not fixed, but we have factory bikes and CRT. Most probably [a] new rider in their first year in MotoGP can use one of the existing four non-factory bikes or be in the CRT. [If CRT is the only choice] maybe then the people prefer to stay in Moto2 or do other things."