Examining the “Factory 2″ Farce in MotoGP

03/10/2014 @ 6:17 pm, by David Emmett39 COMMENTS

Examining the Factory 2 Farce in MotoGP 2014 ducati desmosedici gp14 andrea dovizioso 635x423

So, who is to blame for the three-class farce? When the ‘Factory 2′ regulations were first announced, fans and followers were quick to point the finger of blame at Honda. With good reason: HRC has made a series of comments about the way everyone except HRC have interpreted the Open class regulations.

Honda thought it was their duty to build a production racer, so that is what they did. The fact that it is hopelessly uncompetitive against the Forward Yamahas – 2013-spec satellite Yamaha M1s running the 2013-spec Open software – led to suggestions from Honda that what Yamaha was doing was unfair.

When Ducati announced that they would also be switching to the Open category, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo was quick to denounce the move, saying it would drive costs up for the Open class teams.

Thus, It was easy to put two and two together, and come up with HRC putting pressure on Dorna to impose a penalty on Ducati, for fear of them exploiting the benefits of the Open class. Those putting two and two together appear to have come up with a number which is not as close to four as they thought, however.

The proposal for the new ‘Factory 2′ category did indeed come in response to pressure, but the pressure was not so much from Honda, as it was from the other Open class and satellite teams. They objected to Ducati coming in to the Open class at the same time as the new, radically updated and expanded version of the spec Magneti Marelli software was introduced.

This version has vastly more capabilities than last year’s version, as well as the mildly updated version used at the Sepang 1 test. The 2014 software was created by Magneti Marelli based in part on the input from Ducati, offered at the request of Dorna. Honda and Yamaha were also asked to contribute, but apparently refused.

The Open teams lack the experience and the staff to fully use the capabilities the 2014 software offers. If they chose to use it, they risked going slower, rather than faster. Ducati, on the other hand, has plenty of electronics engineers they can put to work optimizing every aspect of the new software.

Put the complex software together with extra fuel Ducati is allowed under the Open class, and their performance is much more in line with the factory Yamaha and Honda teams than the Open teams. This was an unfair advantage, the Open teams said, and complained to Dorna.

And so Dorna came up with a compromise, an intermediate class called Factory 2. The rules for the Factory 2 category are surprisingly straightforward. If a team elects to use the 2014 spec software, they get all the benefits of the Open class – unlimited testing, no freeze on engine development – until they start scoring podiums.

After one win, or two 2nd places, or three 3rd places (what the combinations are is as yet unclear), they will have only nine instead of twelve engines for the season, and 22.5 liters of fuel instead of 24 liters to last the races.

The teams in the Open class – everyone except the three factory-backed Ducatis – will be using the uprated 2013 version of the Magneti Marelli software, and will not be punished for their results.

So how badly would Ducati be punished were they to win a dry race and have fuel and engines taken away? In all probability, they would barely notice. Though fans were quick to point out the gaping holes in the Factory 2 regulations – what happens if Ducati wins a race on its 9th engine, or its 10th engine? – in practice, there is zero chance of that happening.

In 2013, Ducati managed the season successfully with just 5 engines, so there is no reason to expect that they would need much more than that in 2014. Even factoring in the ability to modify engines as a result of development, they are unlikely to produce more than one or two major updates of the engine.

I, and many others, would be shocked if Ducati used more than eight engines all season. Six or seven is a much more likely number, given the development work to be done.

Likewise for fuel. The Ducati does not have fuel consumption problems, and has always managed comfortably on 21 liters. Ducati staff were never worried about the reduction to 20 liters – unlike Yamaha – and so managing a race on 22.5 liters, even with the spec software, is unlikely to be an issue.

At the Ducati launch, Gigi Dall’Igna said that 22.5 liters could be a problem at some fuel-heavy tracks, as the spec software is not as configurable in terms of fuel economy. And of course, to even lose the 1.5 liters of fuel, first Ducati either have to win a race, or score a number of podiums. They still have some way to go before they manage that. Neither fuel nor engines are likely to pose an insurmountable problem for Ducati in 2014.

So why have the Factory 2 class, then? It is clearly a sop to the Open teams, a concession just to reassure them that their concerns are being taken seriously. In essence, it is a piece of performance balancing, to ensure that teams compete on a more or less equal basis.

Should the combination of the new software and the Open class regulations prove to benefit Ducati too much, then there is a way of taking the edge off the worst excesses of Ducati’s advantage.

In reality, this is almost identical to what happens in World Superbikes. The technical rules in World Superbikes have been drawn up to ensure parity between the twins, triples and fours, giving all of the manufacturers a chance to win.

Results show that the theory works in practice, with both twins and fours having won races and championships in recent years. Whether the MotoGP rules work as well as the WSBK regulations remains to be seen. But it is not the novelty which it at first appeared.

So why the fan outrage? Mainly because of the way this was communicated. With no indication or warning, and just a few weeks before the season is set to commence, a new category is introduced with a new set of rules.

The announcement comes out of the blue, in an interview which Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta did with the Spanish sports daily AS, when he was visiting their offices.

The rule, and more especially the way in which it was announced, smacks of last-minute improvisation, of making rules up on the fly. There was no preparing the ground, no discussion, Ezpeleta presented it as a fait accompli.

That announcement made the whole process look very ad hoc. Fans had accepted the Open regulations, grown to like them, even, especially given the outstanding results of Aleix Espargaro on the Forward Yamaha. More and more fans were expressing enthusiasm for 2014 and the new rules, which were relatively simple to explain.

The Factory 2 rules – as simple as they actually are – simply muddied the waters, and caused an outrage within hours of their being announced. Timing and the method chosen to communicate the rule change was extremely poorly chosen.

This is not the first time Ezpeleta has made a bad communication choice, badly damaging the support which had been built in the preceding months.

It is a shame the message was delivered in this way, as the Open class, and the introduction of the 2014 version of the spec software have made a convincing case for Dorna’s proposed rule package for 2017. The dismay which the Open teams showed when they saw the latest version of the software illustrates precisely just how expensive electronics have become in MotoGP.

The Open teams have neither the manpower nor the experience to run the system, and cannot afford to free up the time of their existing electronics staff to allow them to play with the system and fully understand it. That is a luxury only afforded to the large factory teams; smaller, private outfits can just about manage the simpler 2013 system, but the 2014 system was a step too far.

When I asked Ducati team boss Paolo Ciabatti what he expected from switching to the Open software, Ciabatti said that he believed their electronics staff would have less to do, after an initial period of getting to grips with the new software.

In the short term, costs increase, as teams work to understand the new system. However, in the long term, costs would be cut as fewer engineers would be needed.

This echoes the experience in Formula 1. F1 engineer Pat Symonds told veteran MotoGP journalist Mat Oxley that the introduction of a spec ECU in that series had cut electronics costs by 50%after an initial period of adaptation. Once all of the teams in MotoGP are running the spec software, similar savings can be expected.

It also highlights where the difference lays between the top teams and the satellite teams. Winning a race as a satellite rider has become virtually impossible. The last time that happened was when Toni Elias won at Estoril in 2006.

That victory was due in large part to the tires which Elias had, a set of tires made especially for Dani Pedrosa, which the Repsol Honda rider had rejected. They gave Elias enough of a boost for him to win the race.

In 2014, the difference is no longer in the tires, it is in the electronics. The data analysis and strategy selection among the factory teams is now so sophisticated that only the other factory teams and riders can compete.

The difference with the past is that whereas previously, satellite riders stood at least a chance of being passed the spare tires from the top riders, they have zero chance of being handed the electronics strategies used by the factory teams.

So specialized are those strategies that they are tailored to a specific rider, and do not offer much benefit to other riders. In other words, the best the satellite riders can hope for is an occasional podium. The playing field looks more like a ski slope than a level field of competition.

Unfortunately for the fans and the teams, the future of MotoGP – spec software enforcing a rev limit, and greatly limited traction control – will not take effect until 2017 at the earliest. Until then, the factories can continue to cling to their own software, and the advantage it brings them.

From 2017, they will no longer be able to block fully spec electronics, as Ducati have acknowledged that they believe the spec ECU and spec software is the future of MotoGP, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna saying as much at the Ducati launch in Munich.

The point of the Open rules, Dall’Igna told the press, was not to cut costs for the Open teams, it was to cut costs for everyone in MotoGP. This was inevitable. With Ducati onside, and Suzuki looking more and more likely to follow, the last holdouts against spec electronics will have to give up in 2017, or perhaps even earlier. At some point both Honda and Yamaha will have to make a decision on their participation.

Until then, the fans have another year or two of confusion and muddled rules to put up with. Commentators will fill gaps in on-track action with explanations of the three different categories. And writers like myself will spend more time than they would wish laying out the whys and wherefores of the three different sets of rules in the premier class.

The only small mercy is that the extra bike in Parc Ferme for first CRT during qualifying and the race is gone. From 2014, there is only one championship again, though the teams may be competing under slightly different rules.

It’s a bit of a mess, but the mess cannot endure for long. The racing looks set to be good, and quite frankly, the different rules could turn out to be more of an irrelevance than everyone fears. Only a couple of weeks before we find out for sure.

Photo: Ducati Corse

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. n/a says:

    Finally.

    Honda haters, Suck it.

  2. Jw says:

    I hate seeing this complicated crap..

  3. crshnbrn says:

    Can’t we just root for our favorite rider, team, or brand without worrying about what ECU and software is being used; what compound tires are being used; how much fuel is allotted; how many engines must last a season; how much testing can be performed?

  4. 999 says:

    hoooooooow about they ban rider aids and allow the greats to show the electronic age riders how to control a 240hp motorcycle with your wrist. rossi would probably come back, hell even colin edwards may step back up

    psh.. a guy can only dream, right?

  5. Michael says:

    Interesting points, but I think you miss a significant benefit of the Open class engine rules for Ducati. Not only do the Open teams get more engines for the season, but they can continue to develop them during the season. Because of the tight integration of engine packaging and frame, this means Ducati has more freedom in finding a solution to their chassis woes.

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “The proposal for the new ‘Factory 2′ category did indeed come in response to pressure, but the pressure was not so much from Honda, as it was from the other Open class and satellite teams.”

    oh for the love o’ GOD, thank you…!!!

    jeez, Normstradamus was about to have a melt down over here with all the mindless drones simply “parroting” what they hear the next poster say. seriously, we have to stop that sh#t. we’re killing ourselves. THINKING has to come back into fashion.

  7. bruce monighan says:

    Nicely written but I stand by my complaint in the first news release. If you make a set of rules, and the teams study those rules, create a competition strategy, invest in engineering a motorcycle and teams follow those rules why would you change them before the racing ever starts. If a team can use the rules to their advantage, and that is what every team is always trying to do, why would you punish them? Smacks of incompetance at the least and capitulation at the worst. Sorry Dorna you screwed the pooch on this one. Self inflicted wound.

  8. Norm G. says:

    re: “Commentators will fill gaps in on-track action with explanations of the three different categories.”

    Four…

    Romero, Sacchi, and Bird are technically still CRT teams even though we moved to excise this “curse word” from our vocabulary.

  9. L2C says:

    @ n/a, Norm G.

    Indeed, indeed. Hrhrhrhr…

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “Interesting points, but I think you miss a significant benefit of the Open class engine rules for Ducati.”

    yes interesting point, but I think you miss that there was nothing stopping them from availing themselves of these benefits through Pramac.

    see entry for what Yamaha’s doing through NGM/Forward (Cruzari) and what Honda’s doing it through Drive M7 (Martinez), Go and Fun (Gresini), and Cardion (Abraham).

    they chose different paths, but Honda and Yamaha at least made the effort to prop up their customer teams. A’go’s outpacing T3 kit and Honda chose to produce WHOLE BIKES. neither one of those is a mean feat.

    Q: you know what Campinotti’s going to see…?

    A: f@%k all that’s what.

  11. Mike says:

    If it is as they say & the software was upgraded with new capabilities that were only exploitable by Ducati since they have the resources/engineers & the other low budget guys don’t….Then wouldn’t it have been a heck of a lot easier to hold up that release of software rather than go ahead & need yet another whole sub-class with its own silly penalties/handicap system?

    Who the heck wants a team to be penalized for winning or getting on the podium?
    This whole deal is getting to tangled IMHO :)

    Whats next sandbagging & hoping to place well overall with endless 4th place finishes?

  12. Slangbuster says:

    I think Bruce Monighan (above) says it best. Lots of Dorna hand wringing going on here trying to shut the barn door after the horse ran out.

  13. smiler says:

    Whose fault is it? Dorna and to an extent Honda.

    Dorna really could not organise a walk in the park.

    Dorna have forced out the FIM, who might have been able to advise them on reducing costs and how to implement it properly but instead that have, unlike antother motorsports pushed the FIM aside.
    In trying to reduce costs, it has taken them since 2008 to get to this point, where the global economy is recovering and the need for cost reduction subsided.

    There are THREE manufacturers in MotoGP. There is no other motorpsorts series (except one make) either international or domestic that has managed this inept situation. That is three manufactuers out of at least 10 who could possibly compete.

    The way they handle the media rights has ensured that far fewer will watch MotoGP in the UK this year, in a move widely seen as simply a money making exercise. There is little or no decent coverage in the USA. Magazine media has turned its back because of the charges it demands but they have brought out their own magazine instead.

    Unlike F1, Dorna has not even been able to attract new countries so one round has been dropped (in what was a huge territory for Repsol) and there are still 4 rounds in Spain. They shafted Kevin Schwantz and made the series unpopular in the US as a consequence, for the sake of money. In F1 Bernie Ecclestone’s management company has brought F1 to a much wider international audience, has no national bias, increased viewing and revenue. (It does not make the technical rules). Dorna have done the opposite.

    There are now 5 different classes with one of them explicitely requiring failure not to be invoked.
    Factory
    Factory Satelite
    Factory 2
    Factory Production
    Factory engine plus A.N. Other frame.

    Honda have a significant blame for this situation, though I am a great fan of the make. Honda know damn well that they have spent their way to the top and have a much more fanatical attitude. Though this has not always brought results, it has forced other companies out and supported spiraling costs as a method of dominating the sport. They have resisted cost reduction at every turn because they are the company that benefits mostly from the R&D. Developing the production racer was simply made to placate Dorna. If you look forwards from 1973, at times a third of the bikes on the MotoGP grid have been Honda with 6+ factory riders.

    Honda now provide three levels of discreet performance and will not upgrade 2 of them because they cannot afford the Satelite bikes beating the factory bikes or the Production racer beating their satelite bikes.

    Many Americans would say well that is competition and the free market at work. All it does however is create a monopoly (microsoft, Boeing, Fanny May / Mac) that will be dislodged but only after many years.

    If Dorna want to reduce costs, add a spec ecu and put a cap on the budget that ensure companies like BMW, Aprilia, KTM & Kawasaki would come to the series, simple and effective. They even screwed up Suzuki’s reentry into the series. Dorna is compromised in its efforts to increase the diversity in the series and its need to promote Spanish interests in the sport.

    I just hope that they do not ruin WSBK.

  14. proudAmerican says:

    Is is just me, or does all of this very complex last-minute rule changing and winning-induced consequence threatening kind of take on a modern-day, multi-million dollar, electronically-enhanced version of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”

  15. Joe Sixpack says:

    So David’s got his marching orders from Honda, “Not Honda’s fault, no nothing to see here.”

    Hey David, do you want access to Marquez in the future? I thought so.

    Look for an exclusive interview later this year.

  16. paulus says:

    As said above… if the ECU upgrade gave Ducati an unfair advantage… its release should have been held until 2015.

  17. Conrice says:

    That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Open entrants have to share their software. So Aspar, Forward, and any other open class teams would benefit greatly because Ducati would share their software. That would help them with a lot of tricks for this year.

    Or you could go ahead and believe that the other open teams would rather have more factory teams pushing the Open category even further down the order…

  18. Confused says:

    Wow – A&R journalists should really collaborate more. Here’s an excerpt from the post immediately below this one:

    “This of course has angered Honda and Yamaha, who view the Open Category as the low-cost option for teams wishing to race in MotoGP. As such, Dorna has responded by placing Ducati in a new class called the “Factory 2 Option” — a class that will introduce the Factory Option restrictions, should Ducati hit certain competitive thresholds.”

    Seems Jensen and David have conflicting information… Honda really does influence a wide range…

  19. Norm G. says:

    re: “I just hope that they do not ruin WSBK.”

    no promises.

  20. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I’m trying to untangle this big bowl of speghetti noodles

    …so, the winner’s circle will have 1st, 2nd, 3rd overall (likely to be from the Factory Class), also will be the winner from the Open Class, and the winner from the “Factory 2″ class (which at the moment there is only Ducati???).

  21. smiler says:

    paulus says:
    March 11, 2014 at 6:00 AM
    As said above… if the ECU upgrade gave Ducati an unfair advantage… its release should have been held until 2015.

    It is in the rules. Changes can be specified by a team but they have to pay for them. Ducati did what any other team could have done and can do for the rest of the season.

  22. L2C says:

    “Or you could go ahead and believe that the other open teams would rather have more factory teams pushing the Open category even further down the order…”

    That’s what would happen anyway if the other factories contributed to the championship software. That’s what will happen this season because of Ducati’s not-so-benevolent donation. Ducati would have it no other way.

    Didn’t you read the article?

    “As said above… if the ECU upgrade gave Ducati an unfair advantage… its release should have been held until 2015.”

    Factory ECU contributions to the championship software should not have been accepted in the first place, not unless all factories had agreed to help develop Magnetti Marelli develop the software.

    Ideally the championship software would have been written by Magnetti Marelli sans any influence from the MotoGP factory teams, and the costs to develop it should have been borne solely by Dorna. If Dorna wanted to charge all of the teams a yearly ECU use and software development fee to help pay for the development of the ECU software, that would have been another option. But since all of the Open teams are strapped for cash -except Ducati- that may not have been workable.

    Dorna’s current approach was obviously chosen to cut its R & D costs, and to make it more attractive for the factories to choose to use the championship software. Ducati only contributed because they were in the gutter and out of viable options with how to continue and increase the pace of development of their bike. It was just another downside that the team turned into its favor. Thank Gigi Dall’Igna for that.

    But if Ducati had been in Honda’s position, they most certainly would not have agreed to donate the digital keys to their castle.

  23. L2C says:

    @Confused

    Yeah, I saw that too. And it’s not like any of A & R’s regular commenters didn’t already articulate David Emmett’s bullet points long before (3-4 days ago) Mr. Beeler and Mr. Emmett wrote their respective pieces.

    When nobody is listening, nobody is listening. Though in this case, it could have just been the overwhelming din of Honda hate. *feeling of being in denial*

  24. Ken says:

    If they’re just after cutting costs and improving the show then I think they should mandate the engine parameters (1000 cc,90 deg. V-twin, metal valve springs), give them all the fuel they want, and bin the whole software, traction control aspect. Use a spec ECU and sensor package that controls fuel delivery only by the demand of the right wrist. Establish a rational minimum weight to keep performance up and, oh yeah, ban telescopic forks. It’s about time they came into the 21st century with suspension layout.

  25. Paul says:

    Racing at the highest level has always had detractors and whiners complaining about how “unfair” the advantage of one team or another because they are leveraging technology and design advances.
    Over 50 years ago you needed to be on a works Gilera or MV to take home a 500cc championship. There was a monumental difference between an OHC inline four and a Manx Norton! Thank God that the development and evolution wasn’t stifled or we’d all still be riding around on leaky pushrod motorcycles!
    I fully understand however that there is the risk of escalating costs that may reduce the field so much that the sport suffers badly (and for the spectators). This is up to the governing bodies and technical committees to manage as best they can. They don’t always get it right.

  26. Spamtasticus says:

    Software is one of the most expensive and complex factors in MotoGP racing. Now where have I heard that before…….

  27. “If it is as they say & the software was upgraded with new capabilities that were only exploitable by Ducati since they have the resources/engineers & the other low budget guys don’t….Then wouldn’t it have been a heck of a lot easier to hold up that release of software rather than go ahead & need yet another whole sub-class with its own silly penalties/handicap system?”

    See, now there’s somebody whose thinking cap is on and working. That would have been the simple solution. Instead of hamstringing the other Open teams with a too-sophisticated solution, limiting Ducati to use the more basic software would have evened the field nicely. Further develop the more sophisticated software to reduce complexity and then by 2017, everybody (in theory) should be happy.

    The problem with Factory 2 is that it STILL amounts to a ‘factory bikes are the only ones allowed to win’ situation. I’ll feel mighty sorry for Avintia if they somehow happen to win in the dry. Welcome to Stupidity.

  28. RobR says:

    Did DMG and the AMA suddenly get involved in MOTOGP? Seems like their hands are all over it.

  29. L2C says:

    “See, now there’s somebody whose thinking cap is on and working. That would have been the simple solution.”

    It would have been a good the solution, but it also would have been one less carrot on the stick to tempt Honda and Yamaha to Open status. That’s why Dorna didn’t even bother. As it is now, Ducati’s contribution to the 2014 championship ECU software still isn’t enough. In other words, it still doesn’t matter to Honda and Yamaha.

    Dorna’s hope now lies in the possibility of Ducati beating its factory rivals at least once this season. (It could happen.) Then the fact that Ducati is using the 2014 championship ECU software might have more sway with the two holdouts. That’s why Dorna didn’t take away Ducati’s privilege to use the software. Had Dorna done so, it would have had the effect of Honda and Yamaha winning this all-important round of politics, and it would have fostered ill will with Ducati. Dorna did the right thing.

    Still, I think the best approach would have been not to allow any factory input until all the factory teams had made the switch to the Open class. This would have made the issue less contentious and more cooperative than it is now. Dorna should have set the date for mandatory championship ECU hardware and software to 2015, the year Suzuki is supposed to return. That would have made it clear for all of the factory teams. As a result, we would all know today what Honda’s true intentions are. The MotoGP and Moto2 riders certainly would have appreciated it, as well as the fans.

    Dorna should have never tried to tempt Honda and Yamaha. It was an ill-conceived plan because neither team has any incentive to switch. A date for mandatory back to basics would have been the best way forward. It’s too late for that now.

  30. “Dorna should have set the date for mandatory championship ECU hardware and software to 2015, the year Suzuki is supposed to return. That would have made it clear for all of the factory teams.”

    Yes, I quite agree with that. I’m very, very much want a spec ECU with spec software as soon as possible. I miss the days when a wildcard could conceivably roll up to the grid and actually have a chance of winning. Those sort of ‘underdog rides’ make a lot of new fans and stir the pot of excitement. As it is now, it’s pretty much ‘which factory alien will win it this week’, and that’s a shame.

    I still think that if you were to put the entire MotoGP field on Moto2 bikes, the outcome would be utterly spectacular racing right out of the pages of the Garry McCoy School of Backing It In. Epic.

  31. Gac says:

    Ken said what I was thinking.
    The race should be fuel, artistry and the right hand.
    A monkey could ride those bikes, switch it to “monkey”
    Street bikes too. If there is too much or unusable power, build an engine that produces the right power.
    Traction control, braking control…. I have a brain, it works very well with thinking and experience.
    Twist too hard, heal and buy new parts.
    Duh.

  32. L2C says:

    Courtesy of some cool dude over at Motomatters: End of an Era? Carmela Ezpeleta talks CRT and the future of MotoGP — Cycle News – January 21, 2012 – Page 68-69 – http://cyclenews.coverleaf.com/cyclenews/20120121/?lm=1372705547000&pg=70#pg70

    There are some incredible juicy nuggets in that interview. For instance, when Filippo Preziosi was still the head of Ducati’s MotoGP project, the team along with Honda was against the idea of a standard championship ECU. This strongly implies, as I have said, that Ducati’s recent decision to donate its ECU software to the championship was a move made entirely to preserve its advantage over the Open class teams, and maintain its competitiveness against Honda and Yamaha. If Preziosi was still in charge, this move made under Gigi Dall’Igna’s leadership would most likely have been forbidden to even be considered.

    Another revelation is the factors that Carmelo Ezpeleta has to wrestle with in trying to create a more competitive MotoGP grid. It’s not only the concerns of the manufacturers or the Open teams, but also the circuits. Namely what he can guarantee the circuits on the MotoGP calendar, in terms of racing entertainment. Number of bikes on the grid, competitiveness, etc.

    The other thing is that Honda’s production racer was conceived during the very beginning of the CRT years. Well before any mention of an Open category, perhaps well before it was even conceived. This says quite a bit about why the RCV1000 would be considered too slow now.

    Something else the interview clarified in hindsight: Yamaha seems to have been the major hold out. The one manufacturer who stalled and stalled and stalled and stalled. It was neither Honda or Ducati, but Yamaha who was so disinterested in even talking about ways to cut costs. Of course, Yamaha finally came around towards the tail end of the CRT program, and once the Open concept was decided upon.

    Some good sh-t in that interview.

  33. Mark says:

    @Trane Francks
    “I still think that if you were to put the entire MotoGP field on Moto2 bikes, the outcome would be utterly spectacular racing right out of the pages of the Garry McCoy School of Backing It In. Epic.”

    It would no longer be prototype racing then. If you just want a competition between riders, watch a spec series. Spec tires, spec ECU, spec software are watering down the prototypes.

  34. Norm G. says:

    re: “It would no longer be prototype racing then.”

    and there it is.

    re: “If you just want a competition between riders, watch…”

    …the Giro d’Italia.

  35. @Mark: “It would no longer be prototype racing then. If you just want a competition between riders, watch a spec series. Spec tires, spec ECU, spec software are watering down the prototypes.”

    I didn’t say that I want a spec series, I was just moaning the loss of the obvious back-it-in style from the days of our past. Wheelies and big slides make for seriously entertaining racing. Check YouTube for an outstanding Laguna Seca race that featured KR and Randy Mamola more on the back wheel than down on both. It’s really fun to watch. I think the emphasis on electronics in MotoGP is unfortunate, especially when certain manufacturers don’t trickle down the tech into their street bikes.

    I’ll respectfully disagree that prototype racing is being watered down by spec ECU and tires. If you have watched any F1 over the last 3 or so seasons, you’ll know that the McLaren-supplied ECU hasn’t hampered the show a bit. The Pirelli P Zero spec tire presents an ever-moving engineering challenge for the builders. The same is most assuredly true of the Bridgestone tires in MotoGP. If you’ve built a bike that only works with one flavour of tire, you’ve arguably built a bad bike.

    I’m not against the tire wars of the past. I found those details just as interesting as the rest of the racing. I’m just not unclear of the costs involved with the development and testing of specialized tires. Racing teams at all levels of sport have been having increasing difficulty in finding/maintaining sponsorship. Lest we wind up with a grid of 3 prototype teams and the rest of the slots empty, the current direction is the right one (minus Factory 2 hiccoughs and the like along the way).

    IMO, YMMV and all that.

  36. Stefan says:

    I keep reading that Ducati have some form of unfair advantage. Every manufacturer had the opportunity to do exactly what Ducati have done, yet they elected not to.

    The arguement that this is all brought on by the smaller open teams seems somewhat unlikely. For one, Nicky Hayden stated in a recent interview that he and his team were somewhat confused about the introduction of the Factory 2 option. Also, the open class teams stand to gain a lot from Ducati’s contributions to the spec software. It is true that they might not be able to take full advantage of the new features straight out of the gate, but having these things available to them is far better than the design stagnation otherwise offered to them.

    Another thing that everyone seems to forget is Dorna themselves stated earlier this year that Open vs Factory option was intended to be a tough choice. The hope was to entice Ducita, and possibly even Yamaha to make the move to the spec software. It makes things much easier for Dorna, if the manufacturers voluntarily move to the spec software.

    The Factory 2 rules are the most ridiculous thing ever, period. The one thing I do agree with in this article is that a large part of the reason I find it ridiculous is due to the way it was implemented. Rules should never be change last minute, without notice, in a knee jerk reaction. It was a well known secret that Ducati would make the move to the Open class.

  37. Norm G. says:

    re: “the open class teams stand to gain a lot from Ducati’s contributions to the spec software.”

    do they…? how so considering Ducati hasn’t won anything…?

    i don’t know what it tells you guys, but their downward slump tells ME not to touch their software with a 10 foot spanner lest I suffer the same fate.

  38. Mark says:

    “I’ll respectfully disagree that prototype racing is being watered down by spec ECU and tires. If you have watched any F1 over the last 3 or so seasons, you’ll know that the McLaren-supplied ECU hasn’t hampered the show a bit. The Pirelli P Zero spec tire presents an ever-moving engineering challenge for the builders. The same is most assuredly true of the Bridgestone tires in MotoGP. If you’ve built a bike that only works with one flavour of tire, you’ve arguably built a bad bike.”

    Just because it hasn’t hurt the show does not mean it has not watered down the prototypes. F1 has purposely watered down the prototypes to balance performance. I don’t agree with a lot of what F1 has done.

    I also disagree with your comments about tires. Tires pose an engineering constraint on the vehicle. If you optimize your vehicle to the tire one year and win a championship, then the next year the tire is different and does not work at all for your vehicle, it is not because you built a bad vehicle. You built a vehicle optimize to the constraints, but the constraints changed.

  39. Reno says:

    How about just before the flag drops all the team swap motorcycles…