Nicky Hayden has backed MotoGP's Claiming Rule Teams concept, and says he hopes the teams running under the new lower-cost regulation will not be too far off the pace.
Nine of the 21 bikes in the 2012 MotoGP field will be entered under the CRT system, which features elements of production-based technology. MotoGP chief Carmelo Ezpeleta has admitted that he sees CRT as a potential basis for a lower-cost future for the series.
Hayden agreed that CRT could ultimately be good for MotoGP - even if he preferred to watch its development from the front of the field for now.
"I'm glad I'm not on one, but I think it's a rule that could be good for the future," said the Ducati rider. "Obviously we need to put on a good show for the fans and we need more bikes on the grid without spending so much money.
"I think it will be interesting and a storyline, and I hope the gap from those guys to the front is not too much. I'm going to be interested to see how they go, and I hope that it's something that down the road will make better racing for the fans."
Leading CRT entries include long-time Yamaha MotoGP rider Colin Edwards on a Suter-BMW entered by Moto2 graduate team Forward Racing, Aspar-run Asprilias for Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro, an FTR-Honda for Gresini's second rider Michele Pirro, and MotoGP returnee James Ellison on an Aprilia fielded by former Kawasaki World Superbike team Paul Bird Motorsports.