We have already extensively reported the coming rule changes for the 2014 MotoGP Championship season (most recently the conclusion of the engine claiming rule), so the news today is really more about the FIM has giving its blessing to the new direction that Dorna is taking for the premier class.
Drawing a new distinction now as to how teams are classified as “factory” entries, and thus subject to differing fuel, engine, and entry requirements, the real crux of the equation revolves around whether a team uses the the spec-electronics software from Dorna, or decides to use its own software (note: all teams will be on a spec-ECU from 2014 forth).
For the Ducati Corse, HRC, & Yamaha Racing factory (old definition) teams, things pretty much remain the same: though the OEM-backed teams will race in 2014 with one fewer engine for the year (a total of five for the season now), and with only 20-liters of fuel. Each manufacturer will be limited to four “factory” machines, though OEMs can still fill the ranks with “non-factory” machines.
What is a “non-factory” machine you ask? Pretty much any motorcycle on the racing grid that runs Dorna’s spec-software. This means teams are free to use so-called “production racer” prototype equipment, i.e. re-spec’d Ducati Desmosedici GP13, Honda RC213V, and Yamaha YZR-M1 race bikes that will have to be updated to use the spec-ECU, which will be loaded with the spec-software.
Non-factory teams get the benefit of 12 engines for the season, and 24 liters of fuel during a race, which creates an interesting situation where private teams running “non-factory” equipment could be more competitive than the OEMs “factory” hardware, which is entirely the point of the new provisions.
Perhaps most interesting from the FIM’s announcement is the freeze on engine development for the factory houses, and that new-entry “factory” teams will be allowed nine engines for their first season in the big show. For the engine freeze, OEMs will have to pick their bore and stroke before the season begins, and will not be able to deviate from those specifications for the entire 2014 season.
The big bone of contention though will be what OEMs will count as being “new entries” into the premier class. Suzuki seems not to have been given this blessing by the Grand Prix Commission, and thus will take another year to further develop its inline-four prototype race bike to meet the tighter engine and fuel restrictions.
However the verdict appears to still be out for Aprilia, which has shown that the ART package can be quite potent when given a WSBK-spec engine, which Aleix Espargaro has been using to embarrass prototype riders the latter part of the season thus far (Randy de Puniet is said not to have the same spec machine). Time will tell whether the Aprilia ART can get the same power and reliability though with only 12 engines for the season.
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix - Decision of the Grand Prix Commission:
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 13 July 2013 in Sachsenring (GER), made the following decisions:
MotoGP Class – Effective 2014
Electronics (ECU) Regulations
A detailed specification and permitted options were confirmed.
The use of the official MotoGP ECU, including an internal datalogger, and the official MotoGP software package is compulsory.
Maximum fuel capacity is 24 litres.
Maximum number of engines per rider, per season, is 12.
Each Manufacturer, (including motorcycle manufacturers and chassis manufacturers), can choose to enter up to 4 riders for the season who will participate with “Factory” status.
The use of the official MotoGP ECU is compulsory. However manufacturers are permitted to develop and use their own software.
Maximum fuel capacity is 20 litres.
Maximum number of engines per rider, per season, is five. (Nine Engines for the first year of participation by a new manufacturer).
Engines are subject to the engine homologation regulations which mandate frozen engine design and internal parts. (New Manufacturers are not subject to frozen engine design and internal parts in their first season of participation).
The full text of the regulations and the detailed technical specifications may be viewed shortly on: www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regulations/