Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Honda: Goodbye MotoGP, Hello WSB?

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MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.


These are strange days in MotoGP. World Champion Casey Stoner is quitting and Ben Spies may follow him, both of them complaining that they don’t like MotoGP’s current direction away from pure prototypes.

That’s bad, but much worse is the fact that HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) are also talking about withdrawing their factory squad. Even worse than that, HRC are talking about defecting to World Superbike, MotoGP’s arch-rival.

The reason? Dorna’s plan to introduce a control ECU for the entire MotoGP grid within the next few years. Dorna want to ban open electronics development by forcing everyone to use the same ECU, because they believe it will cut costs and improve the racing.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

Comments

fuel limits

What if Dorna play with the fuel limits to offset the fullblown ECUs the manufacturers seem so fond of?

"You want your full blown ECUs? Fine. 19l of fuel for you and 25 for CRTs. it will even make you seem green and fuel efficient."

Total votes: 76

Ciao, Honda

Memo to Dorna: Honda brought us to where we are. Dorna must take us forward.

NB: I don't intend to overlook the change in world economic conditions, nor to blame Honda for that. But of factors within our collective control, Honda has been conspicuously lacking in vision and forward-thinking leadership. If Honda must leave, then ciao.

Total votes: 78

Production Racing

This might explain comments from HRC bosses about a production racer for 2014 and beyond. Remember when you could buy TZ750 or an NS500.

Total votes: 64

Sayonara

Honda leaving MotoGP would be like Ferrari leaving Formula One. The end of an era, perhaps, but no shortage of contenders looking to take their place. The factories are the heart of the rot in MotoGP. If they pulled out, I don't think we'd be so much poorer for it. Great racing comes from great riders on similar machines - look at Moto2 for a perfect case study.

It doesn't help that World Superbikes overlaps so much with MotoGP. If WSBK were turned into World Superstock, returning to a race-it-on-Sunday-buy-it-on-Monday mentality, the direct influence of the factories would be hugely reduced and the likes of HRC would have nowhere else to take their fancy toys.

Total votes: 95

Except their 'fancy toys' as

Except their 'fancy toys' as you put it are the reason I and many others love MotoGP. The best riders on the best possible bikes, what could any racing fan love more?

Honda pulled out once before and it left a gaping hole in the competition that wasn't filled until manufacturers returned near the end of the 70s.

Total votes: 85

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

re: "It doesn't help that World Superbikes overlaps so much with MotoGP"

or the 800lb gorilla...? you call it.

Total votes: 75

Don't slam the door on your way out!

I believe that the level of factory involvement and influence has ruined MotoGP from the outset.
It needs race teams who build or buy chassis and engines independant from the factories to revitalise the class. If manufacturers want to take part, play by the same rules as everyone else or go home!

Total votes: 78

Racing needs the Factories

If you don't believe that take a look at AMA/DMG racing in the US, it's nothing more than a glorified club race that nobody even watches anymore. Don't believe me check the ratings vs WSBK or MotoGP.

Total votes: 75

First things first

First things first! You would need to be able to find AMA being broadcast before being able to compare ratings.

And I agree 100% that racing needs the factories. While the argument of "spectacle" vs. "race craft" is held on the site, everyone should agree that we are watching a prototype series where bigger budgets do mean better engineering results.

While I know why there is a need for some sort of parity, is it fair to tie the hands of the best engineering company in order to let competitors catch them?

Total votes: 76

Different issues there

No one watches AMA because of the TV package and the time frame when the races come on TV. The actual on track racing the last few years has actually been better.

Total votes: 71

not this year

The racing has been temporarily better because the 2 dominating riders left: Spies to greener pastures and Mladin because he was tired of heing demonized for winning. This year its been the Josh Hayes show. Now let's see if DMG runs him out of the series to 'improve' the racing. They don't have good TV packages because the events are little more than a club race. TV doesn't care about broadcasting live from the paddock if there are no big factory rigs.

The same thing will happen in GP if they go all CRT. Nobody will care about a Suter vs a FTR race because nobody buys Suters or FTRs and outside the hardcore fan nobody even knows what a Suter or FTR is.

Rea's comments were illuminating: GP is the best riders on the most advanced technology. Its where riders who want to be and beat the best go. Always has been. Always will be? All the CRT riders are only there because they hope to eventually get a prototype ride while Dorna is trying to make prototypes a thing of the past. Talk about crossed signals.

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

Total votes: 72

Don't invoke AMA

Don't invoke AMA unless you've followed it closely and you know what is going on. The 'club racing' moniker is not used to describe the lack of money and factory support; instead, it describes the performance balancing rules in DSB that have aggravated factories and fans alike. Honda and Kawasaki are particularly pissed b/c 600cc motorcycles are their bread and butter. Both factories were more interested in FX than they were in SBK.

Furthermore, the AMA SBK rules are similar to what the Japanese outlined for 1000cc WSBK competition. AMA rules are conceptually similar to BSB rules, except for the prototype chassis upgrades permitted in BSB (swingarm, forks, etc). AMA has proven that all bikes can be relatively equal without thousands of race parts, thus, the privateer model is actually viable. Whether or not mods should still be allowed is debatable, but it has nothing to do with dumb or smart racing.

AMA is a perfect example of what happens when the organizers ride on the fat pocketbooks of the manufacturers without having a real business model. When the factories go broke, the series dies. The fans blame the new management, which basically ensures that no one will ever try to revive a defunct series again. DMG's business model isn't great so they are easy to lampoon. Unfortunately, the beatdown of DMG has distracted from the real problems within the AMA before the economic implosion. The manufacturers used to buy TV time on Speed. AMA was just a carefully scripted commercial.

Total votes: 68

Good Riddance

When they first came to the sport they brought with them wonderful little tool room specials....which many of us look fondly upon as a "Golden Age"...all the manufacturers building new bikes as fast as they could...a three cylinder 125??? a 6 cylinder 250??? These were amazing bikes. Then the FIM stopped what had to be stopped. This over-heated development could not be economically sustained. So along came a 4 cylinder limit for 500's, a 2 cylinder limit for 250's and a single cylinder for the rest...plus the gearboxes were limited to 6 speeds I believe. Somehow the world kept revolving on its axis, races continued to be run, new riders were developed and we enjoyed a second "Golden Age". I think that the time is upon us for a similar house cleaning.

I do not believe that anyone who reads this web site has any serious interest in who is developing the best ECU. Absolutely no one cares. We enjoy racing. We like the noise...the speed...the sheer bravery and talent displayed by the riders. Bring on the spec ECU's. I think that there is another little secret in here. I don't think the factories and their technicians like the home brewed and apparently fantastically expensive ECU's which we are told are the determining factor in todays races. How could a guy who maintains or designs or manufactures engines or chassis be complacent with the idea that some geek with a lap top is the real "decider"?

Get on with the house cleaning. Give everyone a spec ECU and withdraw all limits on gasoline consumption. If the lap times are a couple of tenths slower....so be it. I am sure that all of the factories would be happy to build spec racers to use the spec ECU's..there is money to be made here. Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda all made spec racers "back in the day"...world championships were won on these bikes. Right now there are apparently only four bikes that are capable of winning a Moto GP race...the two Yamahas and the two Hondas...everyone agrees that the satellite bikes are less well equipped...and please don't tell me that Ducati is in the mix. Four bikes are not enough given the depth of talent. Adios Honda, I'm sure you will be back with production racers that everyone can afford and dozens of guys can win on...

Total votes: 92

Spec ECUs will still need

Spec ECUs will still need people to program them. The only way to get rid of the computers would be to go back to carburetors and insist the engine and chassis engineers do all their design work with pencil and paper. Or you could accept that we live in the 21st century and the geek have inherited the earth.

Total votes: 79

Zero

Michio Kaku: "Our so-called zivilsation? Zivilisation - level 0"
Gandhi: "Western zivilisation? A very nice idea ..."

There is no real coherence between ECUs <=> "interesting racing" <=> 21st century ... This are true/real question for engineers (I´m one ...): "Where is the real balance/harmony bw. (needed) power(output) and true/pure/interesting racing?"

I do not think this balanced has been found at the moment in MotoGP (=> Moto2: 120 hp? 5 sec./lap slower in Brno? Excitement?). Way to much power, not controllable by the driver => ECUs => costs + bike on the absolute limit of perfection => no excitement (= 1-3 overtakings at the front in a very, very exciting race/last lap). Where is the quintessence? What do we all want (ask Casey ...)?

Total votes: 74

Zero

Michio Kaku: "Our so-called zivilsation? Zivilisation - level 0"
Gandhi: "Western zivilisation? A very nice idea ..."

There is no real coherence between ECUs <=> "interesting racing" <=> 21st century ... This are true/real question for engineers (I´m one ...): "Where is the real balance/harmony bw. (needed) power(output) and true/pure/interesting racing?"

I do not think this balance has been found at the moment in MotoGP (=> Moto2: 120 hp? 5 sec./lap slower in Brno? Excitement?). Way to much power, not controllable by the driver => ECUs => costs + bike on the absolute limit of perfection => no excitement (= 1-3 overtakings at the front in a very, very exciting race/last lap). Where is the quintessence? What do we all want (ask Casey ...)?

Total votes: 70

Brilliant

"How could a guy who maintains or designs or manufactures engines or chassis be complacent with the idea that some geek with a lap top is the real "decider"?"

I take it that posting this message on the internet was all your own work, and you in no way relied on a geek with a laptop.

Total votes: 64

not being a wise guy...

but I can't tell if you are for or against ECUs. I've read the post a few times and in one instance the home brewed comment is a good one - who wants their work product limited by someone not invested in building it (geek with laptop)

but then you give everyone a spec ECU.

Just confused... not being rude.

Total votes: 78

YOU'RE KIDDIN' YOURSELF BOYS

re: "The factories are the heart of the rot in MotoGP. If they pulled out, I don't think we'd be so much poorer for it."

oh but we would.

re: "It needs race teams who build or buy chassis and engines independant from the factories to revitalise the class."

gentleman, you have to stop demonizing the factories they are not your enemy. somehow you have allowed yourselves to be sucked into a fantasy world where you have control, where you have leverage. newsflash, you have ZERO CONTROL, YOU HAVE ZERO LEVERAGE.

you nor anybody you know has the financing, tools, or talent to build an engine independent of the factories that can match pace with ANY one of their 600's built back in the 20TH CENTURY...? nevermind anything they've built here in the 21ST. king kenny already tried (and failed) remember...?

they (the factories) are the source of all engines be they production or prototype. they (the factories) aren't going to allow something THEY make be used against them. the sooner you stop watching the tuttles, the sooner you stop watching the DIY videos, the sooner you shed yourself of this mentality that you (or some other entity) can do what THEY can do...? the sooner we will come to a workable solution. 'cause the position you're taking right now ain't gonna get you anywhere... what it's going to get you is a REALITY CHECK.

re: "Great racing comes from great riders on similar machines - look at Moto2 for a perfect case study.

no great racing comes from great riders on machines powered by similiar engines SUPPLIED BY HONDA. - look at Moto2 for a perfect case study. don't assume another manufacturer has the logistics or even the willingness for such an undertaking. BIG RED calls the shots. why...? because they can.

Total votes: 85

Relax Nakamoto...

And have fun in WSBK. It's a great series...

Total votes: 71

YEAH IT IS...

re: "It's a great series..."

25 years, mclaughlin was no mug.

Total votes: 79

Matt's headline

Actually I had to digest it. MotoGP is fast and frenetically becomming a joke.
The fact is SBK is it in terms of entertainment. Without a doubt Brno GP 2012 was a rare jewell in a sport in dire straights.
I'm not going down the road of rider drawcard issues,but it is major.
No Stoner next year is a fact. Rossi up front post Valencia testing 2012 on M1 is the only straw left to re-ignite a flame. I can't see it happening anyway.
CRT is a bigger joke. Ducati testing at Misano rather than Brno against their rivals ? Read it and weep.
A simplistic set of rules may well be the way forward...and all production based,given the current economic atmosphere.

Total votes: 80

JUST THE FACTS MAN, JUST THE FACTS

re: "No Stoner next year is a fact."

as was biaggi and marco's exit for WSB, simoncelli's death, capirossi's retirement, rossi's eventual retirement, and the possible loss of spies back to WSB.

Total votes: 64

Agreed

Especially Simoncelli, that guy was quite possibly the sports' biggest asset in the making. Moto GP needs a star that can appeal widely, we have some great riders (sadly losing Stoner), but no 'stars'.

Rossi may be much derided here, but he had given the sport wide appeal.

Total votes: 65

Honda "leaving" MotoGP

Given Honda's comments about building a "production" MotoGP bike to sell to privateer teams (which was probably the real goal behind the creation of the CRT class), Honda may have made the decision to get out of MotoGP some time ago; they're just using the spec ECU as an excuse. Which is fine. A spec ECU would go some way towards leveling the playing field between production racers and prototypes and we might see bigger grids filled with (relatively) competitive machinery. The current model is unsustainable.

Total votes: 66

I'm in full agreement that

I'm in full agreement that the current state of Moto GP is unsustainable. The factories have too much control. It's completely unacceptable that we have now 2 bikes racing for the win. Ducati have shown they can't keep up and most of the CRT's are embarrassing. Goodnight factories, please build us some stunning spec racers that teams like NGM and Gresini can buy outright. Support them with parts and customer service only, let DORNA run the racing. Until this happens, I'm afraid we haven't seen the last of the Moto GP talent walking away.

Total votes: 80

THEY GAVE BIRTH TO THE INDUSTRY

re: "The factories have too much control."

so no such thing.

re: "please build us some stunning spec racers that teams like NGM and Gresini can buy outright."

ok, $3 million dollars (colombian helicopter owner accent).

re: "Support them with parts and customer service only"

or let them pound sand.

re: "let DORNA run the racing"

why...?

Total votes: 79

You think the factories need

You think the factories need more control? Where are you getting the 3 million figure from? Remember, we're talking mutiny here, the end of prototype racing. A spec bike should cost a fraction of what a prototype would. Someone at Honda must sign your checks. ;)

Total votes: 78

Open source

Just make open sourcing the software and hardware mandatory, problem solved!
Well you can dream, right?

Total votes: 65

I think an open source racing

I think an open source racing class would be awesome but it is pretty unlikely.

Total votes: 64

My last 2 years with motoGP

Whatever happens, I am going to enjoy another 2 years of rather boring almost all spanish championship MGP before excitedly moving to wsbk to watch many competitive names & bikes manufactures.. Rossi, sykes, melandri, Rea, laverty, Haslam (hope checa and biaggi will still be there then) many more... in mGP there many names so little bikes, just not fun anymore.

Total votes: 70

What exactly is a spec ECU?

Are they talking about everyone sharing the exact same hardware?

Or will everyone have to run the same code?

Total votes: 76

mapping changes only

From what I gather it will be an ECU with fixed hardware inputs and standard software that allows changes to the mapping values only. The current situation allows the writing of customized software utilizing any desired sensor input and the creation of any desired mapping axes up the limit of processing power the ECU has. Think more along the lines of the Moto2 and Moto3 ECUs: only the standard software is allowed for ECU changes so unless you try to hack the system (cheating) you can only change the values in the boxes, not what the boxes themselves represent.

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

Total votes: 79

wsbk is the one who should

wsbk is the one who should actually have some ecu restrictions. Im not sure they should be able to run electronics packages that are not available on their "production" bikes.

Total votes: 75

Bye

Bye bye Honda. Hello BMW !

Total votes: 65

Why would this be any better?

Why would this be any better?

Total votes: 81

?¿

¿Why BMW will make harakiri (Suicide) entering in a series than is more the effort for R&D for at least fill the grid?

Honda/yamaha have control and hegemony on the series, Ducati are struggling to take their part, for BMW own sake please dont go to motogp.

For BMW They are getting that wanted sucess in WSBK, am sure than they will not shoot in the own foot entering to MotoGP, personally am preffer than they consolidate the sucess in SBK and show how capable is the S1000R rather than struggling to fill the grid or something in MotoGP.

Total votes: 73

Huh???

BMW? Only if you think watching Ducati over the last 2 years has been entertaining, as BMW would dream of reaching those heights.

Total votes: 76

For those who think having

For those who think having big mean ol' Honda leaving GPs is going to somehow work miracles, two questions:

- Why are the non-Hondas running so far apart? Look at the gap between the different manufacturers. What makes you think that eliminating a manufacturer is somehow miraculously going close up all the remaining bikes?

- What do you think will happen to WSBK if HRC shows up guns-a-blazin and can burn through 28 engines a season, a la Aprilia?

Hey, I live in the U.S. I can watch all the NASCRAP racing I want. I don't want that in my motorcycle road racing.

Total votes: 82

PRODUCTION RACER

Hello HRCA1, re. your comment: "Remember when you could buy TZ750 or an NS500." Sorry. You COULD buy a Yamaha TZ750; you could NOT but a Honda NS500. That was a factory bike. The 500cc Honda GP bike you could buy was the RS500. And on that subject, it was much more expensive than a Suzuki RG500, and that marked the turning point, when World 500 Championship grids started shrinking. I think it was Herve Poncheral who pointed out (perhaps on this site, David?) that tobacco sponsorship was another major factor in bringing on the calamity the MotoGP scene is in. The factories got addicted to Big Tobacco's money as much as the end users get addicted to nicotine. The result was the factories built more and more expensive race bikes, secure (at the time) in the knowledge they could lease them to tobacco-backed teams for huge amounts of money. It was around that time HRC was set-up to be a profit centre within Honda. The riders also got addicted to huge sign-on fees. After Big Tobacco's exit (except for Marlboro Ducati), the factories had to fund racing from their own profits. So, not unexpectedly, we have seen both Suzuki and Kawasaki exit. Honda is by far the dominant world player, with production of around 15 million motorcycles globally. Yamaha does not produce even half of that, with total output of 6.9 million units. In terms of sales, Yamaha generates 66.9% of its revenue from the Asian (excluding Japan) market, 10% from Europe, 4% from North America; 4.2% from the Japanese home market and 14.6% from the rest of the world (Africa, Middle East, South America, Oceania, Russia). It has closed several factories since 2008, and that is one of the reasons it could not afford Rossi and Lorenzo in 2011. Now Rossi has become realistic, he gets a ride with Yamaha again. If Honda AND Yamaha produced reliable MotoGP bikes that race teams could afford to either buy or lease, and afford to run for a season, then MotoGP would look a lot healthier. Electronics have become a huge cost (with more money paid to electronic technicians than mechanics) so something has to give. At present, CRT bikes are slower than SWC-spec. Superbikes (which have also strayed away from the original Superbike concept). Perhaps now is the time for a new organisation with new rules to pop up with an exciting racing format that is affordable, and deal to both Dorna (MotoGP) and In Front media (SWC)...

Total votes: 84

Flammini's dont allow so easy

Flammini's dont allow so easy a merge of his series with mgp, even if both series are owned by bridgepoint capital, bridgepoint bought sbk but they still gave rights of choice the rules of SBK to the flammini's brothers, it's more reasonable tha dorna and his ceo fix all the mess than motogp are become now.

Total votes: 71

Response

Baron, you are quite correct it was the RS500 triple I had in mind. I have a friend that once bought a Mike Baldwin leftover for @ $26K USD of course that was nearly 30 years ago.

Generally speaking we seem to be in agreement. The thought of a new series/organization has it's appeal but are there enough Dollars or Euro's around to do it.

Total votes: 70

Response

Baron, yiou are quite correct it was the RS500 triple I had in mind. I have a friend that once bought a Mike Baldwin leftover for @ $26K USD of course that was nearly 30 years ago.

Generally speaking we seem to be in agreement. The thought of a new series/organization has it's appeal but are there enough Dollars or Euro's around to do it.

Total votes: 72

Spec Rider Contracts, anyone???

So Valentino gets paid 17 million EU, or thereabouts for 2013.
Dorna wants to rein in cost, maybe they should start at the other end of the cost chain.
Like that's gonna happen.

Spec ECU, spec tyre, spec......., one engine classes.

FFS, Dorna don't appear to be able to brainstorm the possible outcomes of rules changes. How much are these clowns taking out of the series in management fees and executive salaries??? Being paid big dollars, no doubt, and for what?? Knee jerk decision making. Salaries and fees to Ezpeleta and his team might be another element of the cost chain to analyse, whilst we're on the subject of cost-cutting.

What has differentiated GP racing from other classes and series?? The bleeding edge of development, the innovation. Do Dorna really think that a spec ECU will reign in costs? Because it won't; the costs will just be shifted from engineering allocations to electronics allocations as bright young software engineers and coders get together to wring every last bit of performance from bikes via legally tweaking the ECU (ie using however many CPU cycles and register sizes to exchange as much information with the fuel injection and engine timing).

Manu questions for Dorna, and the punters have a right to know what the future of the sport is, instead of standing around looking increasingly perplexed.......

Total votes: 56

first of all your figures are

first of all your figures are completely wrong. Rossi was rumored to be offered 17 million to renew with Ducati. He chose to go to Yamaha for 4 million euro per season instead, leaving at least 10 million euro on the table.

Total votes: 66

Yes, offered.....

And to offer is to intend to pay, in this regard, had Valentino signed.
The point is - and I'll simplify it by making a statement rather than leaving it for people to work out - there are many points on the cost chain and to focus only on the race bike engineering component is to ignore the other factors that make racing "too expensive".
That's the point you and Dorna both seem to be missing, bricktop.

Total votes: 67

Stop smoking crack!

Some of you really believe you don't need the big factories? Take your heads out of your asses. Look where DMG's arrogance believing that left them. Yeah, the racing is great, but there are no funds, no sponsors, and no crowds. I agree there need to be some changes, but make no mistake, you snub the factories and it will ALL go away. Name one successful racing series in the world that survives without the factories that supply the goods and support, both financially and mechanically. People want to support their brand. Also, if you haven't noticed, the world economy hasn't been the best for the last 5 years. When the economy recovers and businesses have profits, they will need to sponsor things for write offs. When that happens, sponsors will return, teams will be able to afford what they can't now. Take your finger off of the panic button and ride out the bad times like everyone is doing in their personal lives. Like the market, everything can't always be on the incline. Great times will return. Suzuki is coming back in 2014. They left because, at the time, they couldn't afford it and we're losing competitiveness. They have regrouped both technically and financially and will be back, and so will Kawasaki.

Total votes: 92

MotoGp vs WSB

In the 90s I preferred WSB to 500GPs. Now that's no longer the case and I can't really figure out why that is.

In the 90s we had Doohan and Hondas utter domination in every race for years The best rider on the best most refined V4 2 stroke, big bang, screamer, wet, dry you name it Mick was the man. It just got incredibly tedious and boring (the piss poor Eurosport commentary at the time just compounded everything). Then we got WSB on sky sports. Dedicated quality coverage, knowledgable and passionate commentary / reporting from Ryder and Huewen, plus a larger than life British hero in Foggy bigged up by the might of Murdochs burgeoning digital network and close hard battles on track. The show, the hype and drama were refreshing and welcome given the years of seeing Brits passed over for competitive seats in GPs whilst Doohan cruised to yet another title. Hell even the lap times were close at certain tracks, Corser even beating the 500s lap time around Donnington in 96.

Fast forwards to today and WSB has spec tyres, and dumbed down bikes and rules messed with because of costs. There are more manufacturers, different winners, a lot of brits winning races, bonafode supertars from motogp and lots of on track action. The racing is close, there are crashes, fairing scraping, sliding, spinning, but its often predictable, even pedestrian, watching the young hare use up his tyres while the 40 year old tortoise with a more conservative electronics set up and race tyre management reels him in and sneaks pasts in the later stages looking like he's out on a sunday cruise.. .

MotoGP is also in trouble with shrinking grids, manufacturer pull outs, hardly any overtaking or on track battles, where everything is so precisely controlled you need the HD super slo mo replay to actually see them slide a tyre.

But it still grips me more than WSB and I just can't put my finger on it. Is it because I'm watching ultra professional displays of riding precision on pukka pure factory prototypes that you just know are so exotic and unobtainable, works of pure engineering porn?

Or is it that both series need rivalry, lacking that crucial x factor - maybe rivalry and tension like Foggy v Russell, Roberts v Sheene, Spencer-Gardner-Lawson, Rainey-Schwantz. Contrasts with Doohan v yawn no one even got close or the Lorenzo Pedrosa love in that we now have.

Whatever it is MotoGP needs, it's not more rule changes and restrictions, it's less of them, starting with the ridiculous fuel limits that mean electronics are just if not more crucial than combustion chamber design. MotoGP needs more manufacturers, more show, more drama, more glamour and more appeal to a wider audience in order to survive and attract the cash and exposure it needs to grow. Maybe that's not "pure" prototype racing as such but to afford the exotica there must be a compromise that makes economic and marketing sense to both Dorma and the factories and the private teams.

Well, if I had that answer Carmelo would be writing me a very large cheque! We can only hope that somewhere someone has the vision and balls to make MotoGP successful.

Total votes: 79

Maybe it needs to hit rock bottom before it gets better

But this wouldn't be the first time Honda has made threats to get their way.

The sport needs a good dictator from Dorna, FIM or the factories to step up and lead the way without posturing. Any given formula isn't as much of a problem as so many given formulas.

It will just be a shame that Moto3 and Moto2 will suffer if MotoGP goes pear shaped.

Total votes: 64

Its not about Prototypes it's the GFC stupid!

In boom times sponsors are easy to find, the factories can run satellite teams giving them some good gear, the best riders, engineers, and suppliers are all put into the mix. In bust times, and its the worst since the great depression, things are very very different. CEO's look for line items to delete and the unimaginative will always start with research (racing) and marketing (sponsorship).

Dorna needs to shift its focus to somewhere which is booming (not busting) and it sure aint southern Europe! All those that think 'but the bikes get sold in Spain etc etc' think about where the NEXT generation of bike buyers will come from, then position motogp THERE, its called strategy.... Hasn't anyone else noticed the almost frenzied business activity to get product into China, India and Indonesia? Do you think a series carrying sponsors names wanting to sell product into those markets would be interesting to the huge corporates that are doing this?

But no, they'll spend more time managing 6 bikes in an ever diminishing bath tub called club med. You could scream at their stupidity! Love to see WHICH market Honda is focusing on? Would it start with a "C" by any chance?

Total votes: 71

100% correct, which is why WorldSBK will go to

India (10 million new motorbikes sold last year) Indonesia (8 million new motorbikes sold last year) and Russia next year.

Yes, they need to add a China race too (I'd bet they're trying) and I hear they're trying to put something together in Argentina also.

Global sponsors will see value if the series covers the emerging economies.

Total votes: 59

Bingo

"...(WSB) racing is close, there are crashes, fairing scraping, sliding, spinning, but its often predictable, even pedestrian, watching the young hare use up his tyres while the 40 year old tortoise with a more conservative electronics set up and race tyre management reels him in and sneaks pasts in the later stages looking like he's out on a sunday cruise...
...But it (MotoGP) still grips me more than WSB and I just can't put my finger on it. Is it because I'm watching ultra professional displays of riding precision on pukka pure factory prototypes that you just know are so exotic and unobtainable, works of pure engineering porn?"

DC, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head for this reader.
I've also been thinking lately that the reason Moto2 is so "exciting" is that more riders can ride those machines to their limits, making fairing-bashing, "desperation" passes par for the course.

Total votes: 71

Not sure if I had a point

But whilst WSB, Moto2 & 3 all have close exciting scraps because more riders can push and find the limit ( also why so many find the sky and gravel too) for me at least MotoGP still has the edge. It defies all logic but that's how it is for me at the moment. If MotoGp went all CRT would it lose that edge? Would the best riders in the world still compete to the precise and exacting limits they do today, or would it be neutered to the level where for example a rider of the level of (no disrespect) Jonny Rea just jump on one, hang on to the fast guys and pull a crude last corner block pass on someone like Lorenzo (on a similarly neutered bike) and sneak a podium, then the very next race be a bit off the pace and finish out of the points, a bit like Iannone does at times in moto2.

I only hope the right agreement on the future shape of MotoGP is reached and they find the right balance between cost, technology and close racing because that's what we will all have to watch when all the cards have been played.

It's a crucial decision. Make it a good one Carmelo.

Total votes: 64

People here talking as if...

there really is a choice in the matter. Money's tight & looks like that's not going to change any time soon. The current formula is a 100% recipe for failure. I don't demonize Honda and it's not their fault other manufacturers can't afford to keep up money wise or technology wise. All the same the way it's going they will be the last man standing as the series collapses from overspending and under earning. Were that the case then Honda is still OK. This is just an activity of theirs. They can go do other things. Dorna & the teams are the ones who live and die the series. The MSMA welched on their deal. They get to make the rules, they have to fill the grids. half the manufacturers have dropped out and the remaining can't offer competitive machinery at a price that they don't directly subsidize. Since they can't fill the grids then the rules change so that others can. Now they want to say goodbye because they can't use GP fuel efficiency software R&D. Fine, goodbye. Better sooner than later as it will be game over anyway. The current full prototypes are amazing feats of technical wizardry. I saw them run against the CRT's this year and while I like what the CRT's attempt to do in theory actually watching them on the track alongside the protos was sad. From the sound of them to watching how the riders have to ride them it's totally different and several notches below what the factory prototypes are able to do. That said it's like watching dinosaurs. They came to be in an entirely different world that we do not live in anymore. You can't keep them alive. Better to let the little creatures in their shadows grow up and take over. I would be sad to see the passing of the full factory prototype but if Honda went someone would step in. They couldn't fill such big shoes or take as long of strides but life would go on. Moto3 is the model of the future. Prototype engines in their own or other constructors' custom chassis'. Spec ECU's with room enough for rider aids (those aren't going away) and the means to optimize combustion along with enough fuel to run the race. That will still be full prototype racing and just maybe this world we live in now can afford it. If Honda doesn't want to play that game fine. Yamaha might. Suzuki very well may. Add BMW & Aprillia, maybe a couple bespoke engine builders and we might have a party. I bet at that point Honda won't want to be left out and will come back offering their own race engines to the dance. This is all just gamesmanship by Honda. They may leave but they won't if everyone else still wants to play.

Total votes: 70

Control ECU's, Control Classes and Darwins theory...

I'm a big fan of Control ECU's as everyone has the same options available which should go some way to levelling the playing field. Moto3 has been a resounding success with a spec ECU. Despite having a Control ECU the 2 main engine types have distinctly different characters....

Moto2 on the other hand has been a huge disappointment and with the governing body refusing to make it a true Control class it's all rather farcical. So a Spec ECU on it's own is not a panacea!!

One big plus to taking the emphasis away from electronics is that engineers are going to have to look at other (mechanical) ways of making a bike go faster around a track. The factories might just be forced to Innovate rather than Evolve....

Total votes: 79

Dilemma

On the one hand we have the MotoGP class with the grid that's s full of nameless CRT machines and perhaps some of manufacturers, and on the other we have SBK class with the grid that's full of machines build by various Manufacturers. In that case, guess which series will have better riders, better machinery, bigger sponsors, better TV coverage...

Total votes: 61

Ain't Broke, Don't Fix...

What the heck happened to MotoGP? Since the 990cc Era and the single-tire rule... MGP has gone to crap! The rules are making the racing worse for everybody. Carmelo needs to put caps on certain things rather than changing them altogether. Let the factories have their own ECUs... put a cap on horsepower and Rev Limits. Leave eveything else alone (save fuel limits) and get on with it already. Honda doesn't have an electronics package good enough to compete with yamaha, aprilia, and/or ducati. Honda does need electronics research in their programs... they are -still- developing their production bike electronics! That's why the CBRs are still analog when the S1000rr, RSV4, and the 1199 are mostly digital, years ahead of the japanese brands. Honda has to rely on the engine development to stay competitive with the other brands, using their electronics as secondary fixes! Bring back other tire suppliers too with caps like in Australia. My God... this is MotoGP... it should be the Best and Baddest machines on the planet, in the universe!

Total votes: 68

More factories needed

MGP, like F1 needs loads of cash. It should be the 2 wheel version and, like any business, it needs to build the brand and market it so as to attract sponsors. F1 has the same issues but they would never say that the most important people in the paddock are the problem.
I don't know what the answer is technically but mimimum intervention always seems to bring out the best engineering, whilst you need rules for a level playing field and good racing.
F1 has recovered after years of similar problems and it shows it's as much a trick as a plan. Also 'factories' means something different in F1 - they can be F1-only Co's.
What you cannot forget is that the teams create the spectacle, the technology and continuous (every race/test) R&D is part of the spectacle, but you need to let the fans know what's hapening, not just get them wondering why A is faster than B. F1 has much better technical (i.e. video) coverage of the paddock and IMO Ezpelata should be employing some up and coming (good media training and may attract a sponsor) and recently-retired racers to explain whats going on and contractually require the bike, tyre, brake etc providers to give us technical explanations. If this cannot all be built into the race coverage then give us the stand-alone feature programmes that will satisfy those us who are interested.More exposure.
It's all publicity for these guys and I would expect most of them to fall over themselves for the exposure.
Ducaudi should be able to play HRC's game. The Germans can play the technical game and the Italians the racing. and passion (I'm not rejecting their engineering at all this is just key roles).
Mahindra must come. BMW. A Chinese Co. such as Loncin (the fact I cannot think of a name shows they need the marketing!).
If WSB will not limit engines/ECU/fuel etc in the same way then MGP should at least lift the fuel rule.
I think we all expected that CRT would be competitive in the wet - CE2 has dispelled that when he said his bike is slower in the wet because he(basically)daren't open the throttle. Ezpelata's ECU can help the teams struggling with electronics budget. Perhaps Red Bull could open a Techies academy to feed suffient talent through to the paddock? (more=cheaper).
K.I.S.S. doesnt work in F1 or MGP. It's not simple, but let's keep working on the recipe. Veggie may be good, but I like some top quality red meat in my diet.
If Oxley is telling us something we don't know then MGP really is dying. That would be a real shame.

Total votes: 64

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