No controlled electronics and no in-season engine mods in MotoGP

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 10 November 2012 18:47

Honda, Yamaha and Ducati will no longer be able to introduce new or upgraded engines during the season, but will still be able to use their own traction control and anti-wheelie strategies as part of a revamp of premier class rules for 2014.

After months of deliberations about reducing costs and improving the spectacle in MotoGP, a range of new technical rules for 2014 were unveiled in Valencia earlier today.

Key rules that will take effect from January 1, 2014, include the compulsory use of the ECU and datalogger provided by Dorna.

MSMA manufacturers that include Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, supplying machines for a maximum of four entries per manufacturer, will use their own electronics software. But they will be subject to a maximum fuel capacity of 20 litres.

The fuel tank reduction from 21 to 20 litres was an alternative to a proposed 16,000rpm rev limit, which the factories were against as a way to reduce performance.

All other machines must use the ECU, datalogger and software provided by Dorna and these machines may have a maximum fuel capacity of 24 litres.

Honda, Yamaha and Ducati will see its engine allocation reduced from six to five engines per season and engines are frozen for all races of the same season, meaning new or modified motors can't be unveiled during the world championship campaign.

The new rules are a compromise on Dorna’s part after CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta repeatedly threatened to introduce a controlled ECU in his bid to cut costs and reduce the gulf in lap times between the factory prototypes and new generation CRT bikes.

One reason for his decision not to enforce such a radical new rule is likely to be the commitment by both Honda and Yamaha to increase its involvement in the premier class from 2014 onwards.

As MCN first reported earlier this week, Yamaha has committed to leasing an engine and electronics deal for up to four bikes.

With Honda planning to sell a production replica of its RC213V to non-factory teams for a maximum target price of £800,000, it could spell the end of the CRT class and stop MotoGP becoming too reliant on highly tuned production machinery.

With only 12 factory bikes on the grid for 2012, the new CRT category allowed teams to tune production motors like Honda’s CBR1000RR and BMW’s S1000RR and run them in prototype chassis.

CRT entries swelled the grid to 21 bikes this year and with only 12 factory bikes entered for next season, Dorna will rely heavily again on CRT equipment to maintain a healthy grid of 22 or 24 bikes.

The issue with the CRT class has been the disparity in performance, with a big gap in lap times between the prototypes ridden by the likes of Casey Stoner and new world champion Jorge Lorenzo and the production-based bikes campaigned by Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet.

** Today’s announcement also confirmed that there will be a minimum weight limit of 215kg in the Moto2 class, which has come into force after the field were weighed individually in full riding kit at the last round in Phillip Island.

The minimum weight limit will be a major boost to British rider Scott Redding, who was the heaviest rider on the scales in full racing equipment when he tipped the scales at 87.7kg.