Gino Borsoi’s MotoGP Dilemma for Team Aspar

07/05/2013 @ 3:57 pm, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Gino Borsois MotoGP Dilemma for Team Aspar randy de puniet aprilia art aspar COTA Jensen Beeler 635x423

The Power Electronics Aspar team have seized the opportunity offered by the CRT rules with both hands. By teaming up with Aprilia and employing two talented and fast riders, Aspar has helped turn the RSV4-based ART machine into a genuinely competitive machine, in every respect except for horsepower.

At Assen, Aleix Espargaro finished eighth, ahead of two factory Ducatis and three other satellite MotoGP machines. The bike is clearly good.

For 2014, however, Aspar must face a dilemma. With the introduction of the spec-electronics system, teams choosing to race the ART bikes will lose the current advantage those machines have, a highly-developed and very effective electronics package.

Teams running ART machines must choose, either to accept the Magneti Marelli developed software, and keep 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines, or persuade Aprilia to port their software to the spec-ECU Marelli, and try to race with 20 liters of fuel and either 5 or 9 engines, depending on whether the Grand Prix Commission decided Aprilia had already been competing in MotoGP as an MSMA member or not.

The subject is highly sensitive in the Aspar team. When I asked team manager Gino Borsoi about the team’s plans for 2014, his first response was to deflect the question with a joke: “I will be on holiday, so I don’t know what the team is doing!” More seriously, Borsoi said the team faced some serious decisions ahead of them.

“We haven’t decided yet, right now,” Borsoi  said. “We have to study with Aprilia what will be the future of our electronics. And after that, we have a clear situation, we can decide if it’s better to stay or move to another project like a Yamaha or Honda.”

The announcement of the Honda production racer and the ability to lease Yamaha engines were options which could steer Aspar away from the Aprilia ART bike, Borsoi admitted.

“There are three good projects at the moment. Honda, for sure everybody know that when Honda do something, they make a really good job. The Yamaha option for sure is one of the best solutions, because you can get an engine with as much performance as the factory, and you can have 24 liters [of fuel].”

But staying with the Aprilia ART was still a very serious option, especially given the proven competitiveness of the bike.

“Our bike now is at a really good level,” Borsoi said. “We are fighting with the factory bikes. We have information, we have data, we have a lot of material too, in our truck, so for us it would be a little bit easier if we continue in the same way. But the new rules are really important for us to decide which kind of situation we want to be in.”

Borsoi agreed that the new rules were hardest on their team, with the Aspar bikes already so competitive.

The key decision for the Aspar team to make is whether they would stay as a non-MSMA entry, and use the standard software, or continue to use the Aprilia software package as an MSMA entry, and accept the cut in fuel allowance to 20 liters and the reduction in engines. Using less fuel would be hard, but it would not provide an insurmountable problem.

Were Aspar currently using too much fuel, over the current allowance of 21 liters for the factory prototypes? “Not too much fuel, no,” Borsoi admitted. “We are near the limit, but if we have to go with 20 liters, we will have to work a lot.” It would be a major challenge, though not impossible. “Not a big step, but definitely not easy,” Borsoi said.

The question of engine reliability would be much more difficult if Aspar decided to compete as an MSMA entry. At present, it is unclear whether Aprilia will be regarded as a new factory, who have not raced in MotoGP since 2007 and will therefore be allowed a total of 9 engines, or whether they will be regarded as an existing factory, and have to survive with just 5 engines.

In the latter case, it would be almost impossible for Aspar to manage the season, Borsoi admitted. “Five engines, at the moment it’s impossible,” said the former Italian rider. “Maybe Aprilia decide to change this engine, to make some upgrade to it. But for us, nine engines should be a perfect number. Less [than nine], it’s a risk for us.”

If Aspar wish to switch to Yamaha, they will have to make a decision soon, as the Japanese factory has indicated they want to know by the summer break which teams will be using their leased engine options.

If they decide to switch to Honda or stay with Aprilia, they have a little more time. But at some point, they will have to face up to that dilemma, and make a choice for the future.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

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

Comment:

  1. Norm G. says:

    re: “At present, it is unclear whether Aprilia will be regarded as a new factory, who have not raced in MotoGP since 2007″

    they’ve already been hard done so rest assured they WILL be extended special dispensation.

    Suzuki, no dispensation FOR YOU…!!! (soup nazi voice)

    re: “Maybe Aprilia decide to change this engine, to make some upgrade to it. But for us, nine engines should be a perfect number. Less [than nine], it’s a risk for us.”

    breaking news, it’s a risk on 9 engines. once you start building those things, you’ll need all you can get (hell 12 might not be enough?). observe, the factory just scattered 2. the limitations that I’ve only been on about for years are starting to show.

    so that leaves only 1 choice… start the eggheads porting the software, then take your 24 liters and 12 engines and get outta dodge. you can thank me later.

  2. jeram says:

    Norm G, retaining the software while retaining 24L and 12 engines is not an option. it requires the spec ECU

    Porting the exisiting software required 20L and 5-9 engines

  3. TheSwede says:

    I say go spec electronics. They’re gonna keep getting better, they have to at least come close to factory stuff so Dorna can convince (force?) everyone to accept it. The series is heading to a spec ECU, it just needs to get good enough first.

    So go with that, and keep the fuel, engines and soft tires. Because I have a sneaking suspicion that Aprilla is gonna keep embarrassing Ducati and have that ART turned into a podium finisher by the end of 2014. Espargaro has been working his ass off developing it, and they keep improving in leaps and bounds. Winning in today’s championship requires a bike built to suit the tires, and they’re doing a fantastic job of it. Maybe it isn’t that hard? There’s mountains of data on the tires and their performance, and if you know exactly how the tires work, shouldn’t that help the design process?.. Ducati should be seriously mortified..

  4. Ray says:

    Why are they only using 21 litres now? I thought they were allowed 24.

  5. I’ve thought a lot about this particular problem. Aspar made a difficult decision to use the Aprilia ECU this year, as it puts them above the other CRTs when it comes to performance this season, but they’ll be starting from scratch with a spec ECU and software starting next season. NGM Forward will have a whole season of tweaking the Magneti Marelli software under their belts and so one would expect them to continue forward progress compared to Aspar taking a huge step backwards.

    I will be very, very interesting to see how this plays out.

  6. “I will be”

    Proofreading FAIL. *roll eyes*

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “Norm G, retaining the software while retaining 24L and 12 engines is not an option. it requires the spec ECU Porting the exisiting software required 20L and 5-9 engines”

    thanks misread. ok I hereby rephrase, accept the MagMar ecu (they’re just 1’s and 0’s. it’s not like it’s going to make that big a difference), then take your 24 liters, 12 engines and keep it movin’.

    now that crossplanes (and possibly d16’s) are going on lease, the engine issue supercedes any other considerations.