Dorna gauging factory opinion on future MotoGP rules

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Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta is in the process of staging individual meetings with senior management from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati over plans to introduce radical changes to technical rules in MotoGP.

With the on-going global economic crisis continuing to have a major impact in the MotoGP paddock, Ezpeleta has threatened sweeping rule changes to slash costs in world championship racing.

Ezpeleta has threatened to introduce a controlled ECU and rev limit set at 16,000rpm in a bid to prevent costs spiralling out of control while the global economy continues to severely struggle.

He also wants to ensure that a host of new generation 1000cc bikes based on production engines using prototype chassis (CRT) are not woefully uncompetitive against the factory prototype machines.

Ezpeleta wants radical changes with the extortionate costs factories are now charging to lease expensive prototypes pricing most teams out of the market.

Only 12 prototype bikes will be on the grid in 2012 with the rest made up of independently run projects like the Suter/BMW and FTR-Kawasaki. The FIM today confirmed approval had been given to nine CRT entries for 2012, boosting next year’s grid to 21 bikes.

Honda, Yamaha and Ducati all accept that action needs to be taken to safeguard the future of MotoGP as the worldwide recession continues, but all are against radical rule changes like a controlled ECU.

All use MotoGP to invest huge human and financial resources into developing new technologies that will eventually filter down to production machinery

MCN understands Ezpeleta has already met with Ducati management in Bologna to gauge their reaction to future rule changes.

And he is due to make separate visits to Japan imminently for meetings with senior representatives of Honda and Yamaha.

In a recent interview with MCN, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said: “It is quite a critical moment and we all share the awareness of the need to make important changes to bring costs under control.

“We also want to see the show improved, so there are several problems that we need to address and the most critical is the quantity of the bikes on the grid.

“We have now arrived in the biggest economic recession since the 1930s, so I think the status has changed in the last few years and we all have to be open minded and think of what intelligent changes we can make, not just as a knee jerk reaction but as an important and considered reaction to create a better future.

“A fine balance though has to be maintained because if you take away the need or freedom for technical evolution, then that is one of the very important reasons for the manufacturers to be here.

“MotoGP is used to train engineers and push engineers to bring new ideas that we can later use in our regular business. If you take away that opportunity to learn and develop then one of the important reasons why we are here disappears and that’s also dangerous to do that.

“If you have a rev limit you have the freedom to be creative under that limit but if you have a controlled ECU you take away the majority of your freedom and creativity.

“Electronics are dominant now in modern vehicle development and I think we need to maintain that.

“That’s why it is not an easy solution because we have to maintain the space for creativity but put a cap on the costs.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt