The FIM issued a provisional entry list Jan. 13 for MotoGP, Moto2 and the new Moto3 class, with few surprises in the premier class.
There will be 21 full-time bikes in MotoGP in 2012, up four from last year. Nine will be CRT machines, with six factory prototypes and six satellite bikes.
One interesting wrinkle was the name applied to the Aprilia CRT bikes, ART. It's presumed to stand for Aprilia Racing Team, which is the same name the Italian manufacturer uses for its factory team in World Superbike, minus the Alitalia sponsor.
The name seems to be a coy attempt by Aprilia to cast off any appearance that its CRT effort is a factory-backed prototype in disguise. The Grand Prix Commission is buying that Aprilia's effort falls within the CRT rules as set by the Commission.
But Ducati is not.
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali questioned Aprilia's intent with its CRT effort during the Ducati preseason media event last week in the Italian Alps. Aprilia showed up at a postseason test of its CRT in November at Valencia with what amounted to an RSV4 World Superbike.
Aprilia won't show up at the first preseason test Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Sepang with the same bike for Aspar Team riders Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro. But many MotoGP teams and manufacturers wonder just how close the team's "prototype" chassis will resemble its WSBK frame -- especially Ducati.
"It is on the limit or a bit on the other side of the limit," Domenicali said about Aprilia's CRT bike. "It is not the spirit of CRT. CRT was born to make the possibility for someone to buy an engine and to tune it and build a prototype. But here we are in front of a superbike machine just painted in a different color and saying it is a MotoGP bike.
"I don't think this is very nice, but let's say for one year only we consider it is not a big problem. But if we end up with a championship in which every motorcycle manufacturer races with a superbike, it is a different animal and not anymore prototype. And that is a bit of a problem."
Aprilia hasn't raced in MotoGP since 2004, but it has clashed with Italian rival Ducati since then over alleged skirting of motorcycle rule books. Max Biaggi won the 2010 WSBK title on a RSV4 (occasionally fitted) with gear-driven camshafts, which other manufacturers bitterly complained was illegal. The Superbike commission banned gear-driven cams before the next season.