As we reported last night, based on reports by Italian website GPOne.com, engine and aerodynamics development is to be frozen.
But it appears that the story was wrong in at least one respect: engine homologation will not be taken from this week, but be backdated to Qatar.
What this means in practice is that the factories will have to submit engine designs for homologation as they were intending to use them at Qatar.
Honda had already done this, having submitted engines for homologation at the season opener at Qatar, at which the MotoGP class was not present. But the bikes and engines were there in these, as were a few key staff.
The other factories did not submit their engines at Qatar, but have now sent sample engines to Dorna for homologation. Aerodynamics is also to be frozen, although these are to be homologated by submitting technical drawings of the designs.
Technical Director Danny Aldridge will assess those designs against the MotoGP regulations and approve or reject them on that basis.
This means that once racing gets underway again, whenever that may be this season, the factories without concessions – Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki – will have to race with the engine designs already submitted to Danny Aldridge for homologation, and all six factories . They will be allowed one more upgrade during the 2020 season.
Dorna issued a press release explaining the procedure in response to a few news stories that had been floating around.
Initially, engine homologation had been expected to take place at the first race of the season, which at the time of the Qatar season opener was expected to be in April.
That would have allowed factories to continue developing their engines and aerodynamics, although they would have had to rely on test riders rather than factory riders due to test restrictions.
The fact that Honda chose to submit their engines for homologation at Qatar demonstrates the caution with which the factories approach this. Homologating an engine approved by a test rider without contracted riders having a chance to try it would have been a massive risk, with the penalty for getting it wrong substantial: being forced to use that engine for the entire season.
Dorna also made a point of clearing up another point of confusion. In the past few days, the idea of freezing all development had been floated in the media, but Dorna was keen to quash any such suggestion.
They had never considered any such suggestion, the press release stated, for the very good reason that it would be impossible to police.
Source: MotoGP; Photo: Ducati