MotoGP reserves 24th grid slot for LCR team in new deal

MotoGP's 24th and final grid slot has been earmarked for the LCR outfit, when it is ready to return to running two bikes

MotoGP reserves 24th grid slot for LCR team in new deal

The current grid of 21 will be boosted by two when KTM enters the championship in 2017, but a plan to go up to 24 was put to one side earlier this year.

A new licence could yet be utilised in 2018, with LCR its intended recipient, having expanded to field a pair of Hondas in '15, but scaled back to one for Cal Crutchlow this year.

Following an extension of promoter Dorna's deal with the Independent Road-Racing Teams Association announced at Assen, deals have now been struck with the teams.

At the heart of the new terms, teams will receive significantly increased payments that cover the cost of leasing machinery from a factory, capped at €2.2million per rider from 2017.

"This economical support will give us a better situation to have a two-rider team in 2018," Lucio Cecchinello said.

"Of course it's a big-budget operation anyway, we will work hard in the next months and hopefully get this opportunity."

Tech3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal had previously estimated his total annual budget was "between eight and nine" million euros.

The top MotoGP ride nobody wanted

An additional financial incentive for factories that comply with the cost cap, supplying at least two bikes, is currently being negotiated.

Including Gresini - which runs Aprilia's programme - the seven independent teams have also been granted exclusivity to race in MotoGP.

Aspar, Avintia, Gresini, LCR, Marc VDS, Pramac and Tech3 will be the only non-factory teams in the championship until 2021.

Organisers are content with having six manufacturers, when KTM enters, with the intent that each factory will ultimately also supply two bikes to one independent team.

When asked about a seventh manufacturer, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: "It will be exactly the case as with Gresini, Aprilia is using the slot of Gresini.

"If any manufacturers are coming, but to be honest we are not looking for any, six is enough, they need to make an agreement with one of these teams."

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