New tyres and spec electronics key to new MotoGP fuel limit

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The forthcoming introduction of spec electronics and Michelin tyres were the key factors in fuel tank capacity for MotoGP being set at 22 litres for all entries in 2016.

A meeting of the Grand Prix Commission earlier this week in Madrid decided that fuel tank capacity for 2016 will be 22 litres for all entries, as MotoGP strives to have the same regulations for all participants.

At present, the Factory prototypes raced by the likes of Marc Marquez at Honda and Valentino Rossi at Yamaha are limited to 20 litres of fuel.

But the Open class entries like the Forward Racing Yamaha and new Honda RC213V-RS can use 24 litres of fuel.

After months of talks within the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association (MSMA), a compromise has been reached at 22 litres for the season after next.

Honda initially wanted the fuel limit set at 21 litres and prior to this week’s Grand Prix Commission summit, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto confirmed that Ducati and Yamaha had pushed hard for an extra litre of fuel.

Nakamoto told MCN: “For us it doesn’t matter if it is 21 or 22 litres. Yamaha and Ducati want 22 but 22 could be better for newcomers like Suzuki or Aprilia.”

But Yamaha boss Kouichi Tsuji said the Japanese factory had been keen for a 22-litre limit while it was unsure how the new spec electronics will perform when they are introduced across the board in 2016.

Speaking recently to MCN, Tsuji said: “Fuel depends on the level of the software. The factory bikes now have 20 litres and we had five per cent better fuel consumption compared to last year (2013) and this comes mainly from our own software development. Fuel mixture control is very precise, so fuel tank capacity will depend on the level of the software. If the software is not much more developed than the current Open class software then for Yamaha, 21 litres is very difficult. I think 22 litres is reasonable.  Forward Racing and our Open class YZR-M1 has been using 23 litres or a little bit more. So if the Open software remains similar same then 21 litres is impossible. So it depends on the level of the software.”

Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna also believes that 22 litres is a fair compromise for fuel tank capacity given two significant technical changes coming together in 2016, including the arrival of Michelin tyres as replacement for Bridgestone as sole tyre supplier.

Dall’Igna also spoke exclusively to MCN recently on the issue of the fuel limit discussions and he said: “My personal point of view is that we have some different things coming in 2016 like the tyres and we don’t know if they will mean more or less fuel consumption. It depends on the spin and the level of grip and this is one problem. Also the software is not the Factory software and that means all the strategies to reduce the fuel consumption at the moment may not be in the software and we don’t know at what level we can arrive at the beginning of 2016. That means we need more fuel at least at the beginning. Maybe in the future we can reduce it but I think at the beginning we need a bit more than 21 litres and Yamaha agreed with me in principle.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt