Interviewed in our August 2011 issue, Norton CEO Stuart Garner announced plans to enter MotoGP as soon as this
year, and said his firm was developing a 1000cc V4 engine for that purpose. Norton will indeed race in 2012, but plans have changed slightly on the way to the starting line. The venue will actually be the Isle of Man TT—not MotoGP—and though the bike will be powered by a 1000cc V4, it will use Aprilia’s RSV4, not an engine of Norton’s own design.
Norton is still developing its own V4, but timing and financial realities made using the existing Aprilia engine a more expedient option. The decision to enter the TT was similarly motivated: That event provides the requisite international exposure without the massive costs associated with contesting the full MotoGP season as a Claiming Rules Team.
Ian Mackman, the TT’s reigning privateer champion, will pilot the bike. The twin-spar aluminum frame comes from Spondon—which Norton partly owns—while Active Technologies Limited will provide the electronics and fueling systems. The bike is being built and tested at the Norton factory, located on the grounds of the Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit.
Garner says his TT goal is to become “podium-competitive” by 2014. MotoGP has been pushed to the background for now, but it’s easy to see how such a bike could be transformed into a competitive CRT machine.