MotoGP's New Rules On ECUs And Factory Riders: What Do They Actually Mean?

There was a small flurry of excitement when the minutes of the last meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, including rules on the spec ECU and factory entries were announced last week. That was then followed by a bout of confusion, as everyone tried to figure out what all of the various changes meant, and what impact they may have on the series. It appears that the answer to that question is "not as much as you might think," so let us take a look at what has changed.

The changes announced in the FIM press release (shown below) outline two major changes, both regarding the replacement of CRTs for 2014. Since the return to a larger capacity, the Grand Prix Commission (MotoGP's rulemaking body, comprising representatives of the FIM, Dorna, the teams and the manufacturers) opened the door to a simpler, cheaper form of racing, which in practice (though not by rule) consisted of putting tuned engines from road bikes into prototype chassis. To help such teams compete against the engineering prowess of HRC, Yamaha Racing and Ducati Corse, teams entering under the CRT rules were given extra engines and extra fuel, to allow them to make more power and sacrifice reliability. To prevent other factories from entering under the guise of a CRT, the GPC instituted a claiming rule, which meant that any factory could buy the engine from a CRT for 20,000 euros.

This Claiming Rule was felt to be a horrible compromise. It was in place despite a gentlemen's agreement among the existing factories never to actually claim an engine from a CRT, and whether it was effective or not is still open to dispute. There have been persistent complaints that Aprilia's ART machine is a covert factory Aprilia, with the Aspar team being fingered as a front for Aprilia's operation. Given the rules - the team applied for, and was given CRT status, and has not had it revoked - such complaints were unjustified.

A more effective way of distinguishing between factory and non-factory entries has now been decided upon, made possible by the adoption of the spec ECU. From 2014, teams can choose either to enter as an MSMA or "factory" entry and use their custom-written software, or they can use the spec software commissioned by Dorna and supplied by Magneti Marelli. Factory entries get 20 liters of fuel per race and 5 engines to last the season, non-factory entries get 24 liters of fuel per race and a maximum of 12 engines per season. With this new distinction, MotoGP is no longer divided between Factory Prototype and CRT, but between Factory and Non-Factory entries. Factory entries can be in either a factory or satellite team, and are free to use their own software; non-factory entries are private teams, and must use the spec software supplied by Dorna.

At the Sachsenring, the GPC finally adopted the full set of technical specifications for the spec ECU to be used in 2014. This means that the spec ECU has now finally been officially adopted, and the three factories involved in MotoGP can start work on porting the custom software they currently use on their MotoGP bikes to work with the spec ECU hardware to be used from next year. The FIM should make detailed specs about the standard ECU available online, but at the time of writing, no documents had been uploaded, and even the updated rulebook promised in the FIM press release had not been posted.

The use of the spec software now determines whether an entry is considered a factory entry or not. The spec software - currently being developed by Magneti Marelli based on the input of some of the existing CRTs - will be fully configurable based on a number of parameters defined by Magneti Marelli. It is fully functional, and includes traction control, launch control and wheelie control. 

Factories, however, wish to retain control over their own software. Developing their own software allows them to find ways of managing fuel economy and vehicle dynamics (e.g. traction and wheelie control) which may be applicable to their road bikes. To that end, they prefer to write their own software so that they can more fully understand the underlying process of controlling a motorcycle, rather than just optimizing the equipment which they have been presented with.

With the method of distinguishing factory and non-factory efforts decided, the current limits on riders on factory machines were also extended, in a slightly modified form. Currently, each manufacturer may supply factory prototypes to a maximum of four riders, two in the factory team and two in the satellite team. At the Sachsenring, the GPC appears to have dropped the stipulation on which team the riders must be in, removing the limit on the maximum number of riders in each team. The limit of four riders per manufacturer is still in place (though why that limit was ever imposed remains something of a mystery), but now, factories can support those riders in any team they wish. This opens the way for the return of the "superteam", such as the three-man factory Honda team seen in 2011, when Casey Stoner joined Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso in the Repsol Honda squad.

That does not mean that such a move is imminent. Currently, both Yamaha and Honda look set to maintain their current setups, with Yamaha retaining two riders in the factory squad and supplying the Tech 3 team with equipment for two riders, while Honda will continue to field the two-man Repsol Honda squad, and supplying one bike to LCR and one to the Gresini satellite squads. The only factory likely to reorganize is Ducati. There have been long-term rumblings from within Ducati about the Pramac team, and Ducati could move the entire operation internally. In terms of finance, this would make little difference, as Ducati already pay the wages of both Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone, as well as most of the staff inside the Pramac team, but it would provide Ducati with more control.

Interestingly, the language of the new rules appears to open the way to factories supporting more than just the four riders they currently can. The press release says that manufacturers may "choose to enter up to 4 riders for the season who will participate with 'Factory' status". In this case, 'Factory status' means in either a factory or a satellite team, but free to use the factory software, and limited to 20 liters of fuel and 5 engines. Arguably, this could mean that the factories may decide to supply or support more riders, but they must be entered as non-factory riders, meaning they would have to use the spec Dorna-supplied software. This distinction is important, as it could mean that factories could place young riders in private teams on non-factory bikes, to give them a year to acclimatize to the class before moving them into satellite or factory teams. For example, this could clear the way for HRC to support Scott Redding at Gresini, where Redding will ride one of Honda's production racers. Or it could leave the way open for Yamaha to place a young rider on one of the NGM Forward Yamaha M1-powered bikes using the spec software.

One of the reasons for the new rules is also the engine freeze, which will severely limit engine development over the next few years. Bore and stroke is already fixed until 2014, but the freeze on development will see a homologation process for engine internals instituted as well. If factories want to continue engine development, they will have to do it without factory status, which means through a private team. Ducati is rumored to be considering such a path, with private teams running Desmosedicis using the spec software, while Ducati updates the engines to prepare for the end of the current freeze, and the start of the next one.

The rules announced at the Sachsenring, though ostensibly just tweaks to existing rules, pave the way to the future. Bigger changes are expected from 2017 onwards, with talks ongoing about the rules from then on. The spec ECU - and just as important, built-in datalogger - are key in those developments. Dorna, the FIM and IRTA are still pushing for a rev limit to be introduced, and a datalogger is a crucial part of policing a rev limit. They also hope to impose the spec software on all teams from 2017, including the factory teams. From then, MotoGP should revert to a single class once again, with everyone competing under the same set of rules: one fuel allowance, one engine allocation, one rev limit, and everyone using the spec software. That is still a long way away, and will face fierce opposition from the MSMA.

Below is the press release issued by the FIM:


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:

Technical Regulations

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.

Factory Status

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:

http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regula...

There was a small flurry of excitement when the minutes of the last meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, including rules on the spec ECU and factory entries were announced last week. That was then followed by a bout of confusion, as everyone tried to figure out what all of the various changes meant, and what impact they may have on the series. It appears that the answer to that question is "not as much as you might think," so let us take a look at what has changed.The changes announced in the FIM press release (shown below) outline two major changes, both regarding the replacement of CRTs for 2014. Since the return to a larger capacity, the Grand Prix Commission (MotoGP's rulemaking body, comprising representatives of the FIM, Dorna, the teams and the manufacturers) opened the door to a simpler, cheaper form of racing, which in practice (though not by rule) consisted of putting tuned engines from road bikes into prototype chassis. To help such teams compete against the engineering prowess of HRC, Yamaha Racing and Ducati Corse, teams entering under the CRT rules were given extra engines and extra fuel, to allow them to make more power and sacrifice reliability. To prevent other factories from entering under the guise of a CRT, the GPC instituted a claiming rule, which meant that any factory could buy the engine from a CRT for 20,000 euros.

Comments

What if...

I want to enter 4 RC213Vs as 'factory or MSMA' bikes and 2 RC213Vs as 'non factory' bikes by running them Spec ECU... Ain't that possible? (If I choose to race RC213V over HR213C production racer)

**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.**

Total votes: 69

Same

I was thinking the same thing. An actual RC213V with spec software but 24 liters and 12 engines sounds pretty tasty to me...

Total votes: 73

Me too

It might be pretty tempting for all the teams to use the spec software. Thinking about it for a moment, why wouldn't they exactly? Unless the spec software is completely rubbish it would possibly make more sense to have the extra fuel, which might mean more top end power and possibly better delivery along with it and the extra engines which would give more options for engine development over the course of the season. Plus they could afford to push them a little harder with more revs as well.

Why not?

Total votes: 80

Software

It just depends on how 'good' the spec software is. From what I understand it wasn't until very recent that the teams were upgraded to be able to use anti-jerk...

I'm sure the software schemes Honda & Yamaha have are miles ahead of the spec software right now. Hopefully over time, this advantage will shrink to the point where the extra 4 liters can be helpful.

Total votes: 67

Yamaha

This is almost exactly what Yamaha will be doing. There will be the two factory and two satellite bikes, plus leased bikes (engines plus chassis) for the Forward team. The Yamahas will have 24 liters, spec software, but Yamaha will only offer 5 engines to begin with.

The Yamahas will be the real measure of how good the spec software really is.

Total votes: 77

Another great read

Thanks, David.
This is telling and also fills in a couple of gaps that Colin Edwards created for me after reading a terrific article in this monrh's edition of roadracing world.
According to CE, who know squite a bit about hardware and software after assisting with the M1's system, the hardware these guys are getting is fairly low tech, circa earlier 2000s, and the software is terrible. It is also a preview of potentially more unintended consequences as factory teams will be able to get around problems hardware creates due to their scale and resources. Non-factory teams, at least true non-factory teams, do not have the resources and are not getting needed support from Magnetti. The software gap is going to see these guys run farther behind the factory squads because the riders don't have the complete trust in what the systems are doing.

Any chance we see Cal on upgraded equipment as a result?

Total votes: 77

With all of this attention

With all of this attention focused on the spec ECU, why not do a report on the spec ECU software supplied by Magneti Marelli, what level of support MM provides beyond helping with the initial engine parameters, and whether the CRT teams believe the spec ECU really provided any improvement? I think many here might be surprised. I suspect that most of the improvement for the CRTs are due to the teams getting at setting up their bikes and the riders getting more used to the tires rather than from using a spec ECU.

Total votes: 68

Its blocked by the fog of BS

The issue is that each of these bikes and riders have their own quirks and preferences so for MM to provide useful in-depth support to the non-MSMA teams they would need to have a full time tech or 3 for each rider, which is exactly what the factory and satellite teams are currently doing. I think the plan is for MM to continually update the software during the season, which sounds good until you show up at a track with new software options and no testing of them.

I'm waiting to see what Aprila does with their entries. If they go non-MSMA I think they will suffer a lot having to switch from Aprilia's developed-in-WSB hardware and software to MM's generic hardware and Dorna's developed-on-the-fly software. If they go MSMA they will suffer on engine power, durability and fuel economy. It will be a nice control test to see the worth of the Aprilia system vs the non-MSMA spec system.

As far as having control hardware and software in 2017, I hope that never happens. It seems to me that Dorna dreams of a series that they have complete control over. They'll tweak the software this weekend to offset the performance advantage that X showed last weekend, all in the name of The Show. We are not talking only about spec equipment, we are talking about spec equipment owned and controlled by the sanctioning body. That opens too many cans of worms for my taste. In Moto3 Dorna distribute engines. In Moto2 they own the engines. Where does it stop?

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 73

My perspective is that it

My perspective is that it would make a lot more sense to open up the spec ECU to multiple manufacturers, the only limitation being that the ECU manufacturer has to provide the same firmware to all teams. And, if minimizing costs is important, then it would still be possible to limit the features available in the ECU. For instance, ECU manufacturers could be prohibited from allowing the ECU to make changes to fueling based on race distance and remaining fuel. You could also limit the inputs that can be used as part of the TC, AW, AJ modules. The point is that competition is healthy and there are other ways of achieving the desired results.

Total votes: 83

Spec ECu

I think they are using the next 3 years in this format to develop the spec ECU so that MSMA entries will accept it in 2017. Also, there will be factory teams (see Ducati) that will take advantage of the non-MSMA entries to develop their engines during the season....Can someone say Nicky Hayden??

Total votes: 77

In re: ART ... "Given the

In re: ART ...

"Given the rules - the team applied for, and was given CRT status, and has not had it revoked - such complaints were unjustified."

That's only because ART didn't come close to the results of the bigger-budget factory efforts, Ducati aside, so no one bothered to try to revoke it. Let's imagine for just a second that the ART team won two dry races in a row. You think maybe Honda and Yamaha might suddenly have challenged whether the ART was a factory effort or not?

Unwritten rule in the paddock: Cheating is perfectly OK if you're not winning.

p.s. If, in 2017, the spec software is good enough that the full factory teams will accept it, that will mean they have figured out how to use it as part of a package that will give them an advantage over the rest of the field. That's racing ... :)

Total votes: 81

Ducati

I think that statement should read "To help such teams compete against the engineering prowess of HRC, Yamaha Racing and (to some extent) Ducati Corse"
Wish it wasn't the case though

Total votes: 67

Funny

You beat me to a wise-a$$ comment.
I was going to say to compete against the factory Ducatis I entered my daughter's big wheel

Total votes: 73

haha

I still hold out that next year will be better, even if it is without Nicky :(

Total votes: 74

Patchwork

Man, they keep on making the rule book ever more complicated, by adding more and more ifs and whens and spec parts.
If the goal is to make it cheaper and make all bikes go equally fast so that it is completely fair for all the riders, why not go all the way immediately and supply a spec bike (a mildly tuned Fireblade of course, in line with Moto2).

I still think that no rule book will prevent a team with a large budget to have an advantage over a team with a small budget. Unless of course some engineering genius will think up something revolutionary different that is fundamentally faster in design, instead of something conventional that is executed to perfection with many millions of euros or yens. Unfortunately, that possibility is being made impossible by the very tight rules with all the spec parts.

A team has a certain budget, and they will spend it no matter what. And to be honest, I don't even want all bikes to be performing exactly the same. That would be boring and there would be no mythical machinery to admire, which is a big part of the attraction of GP's, and essentially the reason that the best riders in the world are riding here.

One of the coolest races in recent history to me is the first race in 2007, the first of the 800cc era. That rocket ship of a Ducati that was blasting past all the other bikes on the straights, and in turn the others getting the better of the Ducatis in the twisty bits. Resulting in an epic Stoner-Rossi battle and a awesome impression of speed because of the big difference.

Added to that the different strengths of the different brands of tyres, which meant the Michelin riders being faster in direction changes and the Bridgestone riders stronger on traction out of fast corners. Resulting in more overtaking, and also in different races on different tracks, both because of lay-out and surface. I could really look forward to tracks that favoured 'my' brand or rider.

Sure, riders on slower, less well-handling machinery have no chance of winning, but motorsports is not communism, where everybody is kept at the same low level. Well, it shouldn't be, anyway. And I guess that if they get enough things right and greatly outperform their team mates, riders can still showcase themselves to the bigger teams and/or factories.

Total votes: 76

The rocket ship

That regularly had lower top speeds than the Hondas in 2007, more often than not actually. Funny how nobody remembers that. Where Stoner blew past them and noticeably the other Ducati's didn't, was coming out of the corners. Unsurprising considering his much mentioned ability at getting the bike upright and on the throttle quicker. I love how the historical revisionism has become fact to Rossi fans.

Total votes: 64

looks like Cal's going to get

looks like Cal's going to get his full factory ride after all. excellent news!

Total votes: 74

Stopping Engine Development??? WTF???

"One of the reasons for the new rules is also the engine freeze, which will severely limit engine development over the next few years. Bore and stroke is already fixed until 2014, but the freeze on development will see a homologation process for engine internals instituted as well. If factories want to continue engine development, they will have to do it without factory status, which means through a private team. Ducati is rumored to be considering such a path, with private teams running Desmosedicis using the spec software, while Ducati updates the engines to prepare for the end of the current freeze, and the start of the next one."

Please feel free to correct my interpretation, David, if I have it wrong, but this seems to means that engine development by factory teams will cease for a period. Why?? What's the logic (if any) behind this??
This is the prototype class - homologating current engine components and then freezing development is just plain crazy. MotoGP is supposed to take the lead in motorcycle development, not remain static.

Won't this result in the factory bikes' performance remaining relatively static whilst the non-factory versions will be iteratively developed on the spec ECU with massive concessions in terms of engine numbers and fuel. Maybe that's what DORNA wants - the end of factory-supported teams and all teams racing customer bikes.......

Total votes: 68

Homologation

Bore and stroke is already fixed until 2014, but the freeze on development will see a homologation process for engine internals instituted as well

David, is this a work of inductive reasoning or has it been confirmed by people in the paddock? I can think of several ways to effectively freeze engine development and force the manufacturers to build a single design. I'm trying to figure out which route they will take.

Dorna, the FIM and IRTA are still pushing for a rev limit to be introduced, and a datalogger is a crucial part of policing a rev limit.

I think we can assume with some certainty that the rev-limited era will begin in 2014. The MSMA will run their 20L fuel-limited formula, but behind the scenes, Dorna will begin the rev-limited experiment with the non-factory teams. Bore-limit, cylinder-limit and rev-limit seems like F1 overkill, though, and it would be a shame if the GPC cannot devise a better option for 2017.

Total votes: 73

The Ducati Rule!

"The limit of four riders per manufacturer is still in place (though why that limit was ever imposed remains something of a mystery)"

That's the Ducati rule just like there was the Ben Spies rule! Who in their right minds would lease a Ducati Satelite bike if you could lease say a Honda or Yamaha even if it was 2 or 3 evolutions down on the factory bikes?

The only reason we have 4 Ducati's this year on the grid rather than 2 is because Ducati is bankrolling the Satelite effort. The closer collaboration and testing is just a face saving excuse!

Total votes: 78

Nice perspective!

>>That's the Ducati rule......Who in their right minds would lease a Ducati Satelite bike if you could lease say a Honda or Yamaha even if it was 2 or 3 evolutions down on the factory bikes?

I never throught it about it from that point of view but it makes a lot of sense.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 68

Spec scooters!

Why not just force all the teams to race a Dorna spec-model scooter? Not only would costs go down, but we would get a more "entertaining" show as equally-matched riders duke it out lap after lap! What a spectacle!

All jokes aside though... this is exactly why Casey left. MotoGP is turning away from the "best riders on the best bikes" to the "best riders on best-bikes-made-worse-to-make-balance-where-none-exists." There is a reason why Yamaha and Honda are the best... they innovate faster and better than anyone else. The only reason Ducati is trying to innovate now is because they are forced to. If the rules were dumbed down enough to where they could be competitive again, they would go right back to resting on their laurels. Same with the other "manufacturers."

Total votes: 76

Tyres

David, will the non-factory bikes have access to softer tires? If they don't drop that next year, we could be in for a real farce of a season....

Maybe I was the only one that did not enjoy seeing Pol mixing it up with the big boys in Germany. They get motor and fuel dispensation because they haven't invested the annual GDP of a small country in development of trick valves and trannies, but why get tires?

Total votes: 65

Aleix/ CRT Tyres

are essential to their competitiveness.

It's not cheating......it's just Dorna/BS acknowledging that only the top bikes can make the harder tyres work as they are designed to. By implication they have a deficiency of power or the ability to use the electronics to make the tyres work as they should.

In the absence of any changes the non-factory bikes will have a suitable selection of tyres to use - that is only fair.

I am hoping that the 'GDP of a small country' type days are behind us at the racetrack. It will not stop factories spending what they wish, but 'buying' grid places will also, hopefully, get cheaper/feasible for the non-factory teams.

The more competitive the bikes are the closer the racing will (should) be - what's not to like?

Total votes: 66

Electronics and Software

Hailwood and Ago, Sheene Roberts, Spencer, Lawson all had mighty battles without the electronics. Its now also one of the main expenses for bike racing. I think they are great in phones and tablets but lets reduce them in bikes. We could freeze electonics in 2014 and get improvements in the following years by allowing weight reduction (160 is too heavy for GP's). Having heavy bikes masks what the suspension and tyres are doing. How many times recently have we seen WSB and WSS riders pulling over to reset the electronics - lets have the bare necessities for computing in GP's and make progress with engine, chassis, brakes, suspension and tyres.

Total votes: 77

Selective memory

There were also many, many races where a couple of factory bikes cleared off into the distance and only 3 riders finished on the same lap as the winner... despite no electronics outside the ignition.

Total votes: 70

If Cal has trouble at the

If Cal has trouble at the start of a race with 20L, how bad will it be with 24???

Total votes: 73

Fuel load

I agree. It would be good to hear from someone who knows just how much a modern bike needs to produce as much power as is possible for a race. I imagine that the British GP is quite fuel heavy - a long, fast circuit with plenty of cool air to combust...

I suspect that its more like 21-22, not as much as 24...but that's just a guess.

Total votes: 58

ECU vs TYRE war vs BORE vs etc.

Bogged down MGP. Lost in the fog of uninterpretable rules pertaining to one or another clause. Current. Two manufacturers field 4 riders capable of winning a race by virtue of the transient rules. A tyre war with wheel diameter/cross section open season is ripe for the plucking. Rubberside up to TDC and twistgrip. ECU? Really..what a croc. Caste system prevalent. Blessed and blessed not by virtue of birth. Its like flow meters. Old bump and grind mechanical one does the job more than adequately but requires much maintenance for continuous accuracy. Electromag has many virtues but is totally dependent on its ECU, implodes at its wim. Affected by as minor a thing as moisture content. Tortoise vs hare. Crocodile vs whatever. Data,data and more data. Analyse this and and analyse that. CRT flop and Aprilia ART have done a fine job within a class within a series called MGP which lost its flavour circa 800cc tyre compromise for #46 rules 2008.
Rubber rules in terms of the spectacle is a way bigger issue than any ECU or fuel limit or bore limit/rev limit.The riders are so egocentric these days they try to level the playing field to their advantage and big business and sponsorship duly follows suit. Rant over! Get on your bike and ride.

Total votes: 70

Many questions

First:
The big one is to what extent the MM software is good enough to allow Aprilia to reproduce what they are currently using by choosing appropriate parameters. If it is, away we go.

Ideally, if MM had the balls, they'd make the software open source: then if eg Aprilia wanted to simply re-write to incorporate all their knowledge (except the crucial parameters), they could... at the cost of sharing it with everyone else. I'd reckon in 6 months they could have something as good as the factories are using.

Second:
The cylinders on an Aprilia are cast as one with the upper crankcase. Moreover, I doubt they left enough space between the bores
to enlarge them 3mm... unless they had this in mind at the design stage. If they didn't, they need to respace the bores, so new heads will be needed. In any case, increasing the bore won't help much unless they can take advantage by putting in bigger valves.

Third:
The Aprilia motor is not fast in superstock trim. Its results as a SStk bikes are... zero. The Kawasaki with the same bore is considerably more powerful. Why?
My guess is the cams, because it is seriously fast under WSB rules, at the cost of frequent valve-train rebuilds. Fitting bigger valves, bigger cams and turning more revs will only make that worse, so they either have to redesign to use finger-type lifters as per the BMW S1000, or pneumatics.

Fourth:
If as speculated, WSB becomes more like SStk, it would seem Aprilia have two options, following from the above: improve their valve train with a new homologated production motor to get good power in SSt config, or walk away from WSB and invest in MotoGP while leaving the road bike alone. Either seems a gamble, since apparently RSV4 sales are dismal and probably haven't amortised the current design. So if they leave it alone they may hope to eventually break even... but sales might get worse.
Or they build a new version with 81mm bores and finger lifters and a reputation for unusably brutal power, and they might just sell shed-loads to people who want to say they have the fastest bike (while rarely ever opening the throttle).

Interesting times.

The big problem is of course that as a listed company, Dorna can't just call the bluff of Honda et al: Honda will through a tantrum and threaten to walk, the share price will drop 20% and Ezpeleta will be gone.

Total votes: 62

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