After the past three weeks have been filled with controversy over aerodynamic appendages, a compromise has been reached among the manufacturers involved in MotoGP, we have learned.
At a meeting of the MSMA in Termas De Rio Hondo, Argentina, on Sunday, the six manufacturers agreed to a new format for MotoGP which would allow both the opponents and advocates of aerodynamics to get what they want from the series.
The proposal, which is yet to be put to the Grand Prix Commission, would see the MotoGP championship split into two, the class running twice, both with and without aerodynamic fairings.
From next year, if the proposal is approved, MotoGP will host two races each Sunday: one for the MotoGP Aero Championship, and one for the MotoGP Plain Championship.
Crucially, the bikes for both will be identical. At the start of the season, the manufacturers will homologate their bikes and fairings as before, but they will also have to homologate two different fairings: one with aerodynamic appendages, and one without. But the rules on aerodynamics will be made much more free, with a return of actual winglets.
This added freedom was necessary to reach the compromise between the two sides. The manufacturers are split on the role of aerodynamics in MotoGP, with Ducati on one side being firm believers in the benefits of exploring aero, and KTM and Aprilia irrevocably opposed on cost grounds. Honda and Suzuki were also opposed, though Honda did not fear an aerodynamics war, as they have vast amounts of experience with F1.
The compromise also means that both advocates and opponents of aerodynamics would be able to focus on what they felt was important, as having two races and two championships means that each factory has two chances to succeed.
Ducati has a chance to optimize their aerodynamics package, and dominate the MotoGP Aero Championship, while other manufacturers can decide to optimize power delivery and bike handling in the hope of winning the MotoGP Plain Championship.
Dorna is said to be broadly supportive of the proposal, as they see an opportunity to expand the audience for MotoGP, and a better way of differentiating between the MotoGP and WorldSBK championships. By opening up the MotoGP Aero Championship to a return to winglets, the bikes will look a lot less like the production bikes the WorldSBK series is based on.
But Dorna have also seen that there is an extra niche market opening for them. A significant portion of the fans decry the use of aerodynamics, and want the MotoGP bikes to return to the simpler, plainer looks they had without the winglets and aero packages.
To accommodate those fans, Dorna will be retaining exclusive rights to the MotoGP Plain Championship, which it will be broadcast on the MotoGP.com website. The MotoGP Plain Championship videos can be accessed by following the “Spoiler-Free” link on the video section of the website.
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