Corrado Cecchinelli: On MotoGP's Push For Non-Fossil Fuels, The Inevitability Of Ride-Height Devices, And Balancing The Rules

In November, the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, announced that the series would be switching to using fuel obtained from non-fossil sources in two steps. From 2024, at least 40% of the fuel used in MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 will be of non-fossil origin, with a switch to completely fossil-free, sustainably-sourced fuels by 2027.

Why 2027? The MotoGP series runs in five-year cycles. Contracts with manufacturers and teams are set for five years, guaranteeing continuity and financial stability, especially important for independent teams. Dorna also promises stability in the technical rules over that same five-year period, allowing manufacturers to work on technologies over the medium term. 2022 is the start of a new five-year contract period, due to expire at the end of 2026, so 2027 is the next opportunity for major technological change.

At the Sepang MotoGP test in February, I got a chance to talk to MotoGP's Director of Technology, Corrado Cecchinelli. As a former engineer with Ducati, Cecchinelli is the person appointed by Dorna to understand and guide the technical rulebook in MotoGP. In principle, the MSMA, the association of manufacturers active in MotoGP, manage the technical rules, but Cecchinelli is charged with translating those concerns into a working set of rule, and with working with manufacturers to make grand prix motorcycle racing a place where they can fruitfully compete, develop new technologies, and train their engineers.

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Dorna Press Release Debrief: Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta gives an update on 2020

Dorna released the following press release today, containing the transcript of an interview did with CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta:

Debrief: Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta gives an update on 2020

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

On Wednesday the 29th of April, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta sat down with for an interview about 2020, plans, contingencies and more. Here is the transcript, you can find the video here.

"Today we announced the cancellation of the three Grands Prix; Germany, Assen and Finland. The reason is because we are contemplating the possibility to start in July but the problem is with the situation and authorities it will be difficult to do with spectators, so any of these Grands Prix without spectators is very difficult to do. It’s for that reason that we’ve decided with the three local promoters to pass onto next year with those three, instead of putting them on a new date."

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Opinion: When Will We Go Racing Again? Nobody Knows

When we will be able to go racing? That's the question everybody wants an answer to, as MotoGP and WorldSBK rounds are canceled seemingly every week. The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has cast a pall over the world that not even motorcycle racing can escape. This week, MotoGP was canceled at Mugello and Barcelona. Last week, it was MotoGP at Le Mans, the week before that, Jerez MotoGP and Assen WorldSBK. Each race is canceled as it heaves into view on the calendar.

So when will we be able to go racing again? I don't know. You don't know. The truth is, nobody knows, not even Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta or FIM president Jorge Viegas. Because it is out of their hands. Organizing a world championship motorcycle race is complicated, and requires large numbers of people and equipment to cross multiple national borders using various modes of transport.

Freedom of movement

A couple of examples: For the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team to get to the first MotoGP race which has not been canceled, at the Sachsenring in Germany, they need to drive trucks from Gerno di Lesmo, near Milan in Italy, through either Switzerland or Austria and up through Germany to Hohenstein-Ernstthal, where the Sachsenring is.

There is a mixture of nationalities among the drivers of those trucks, making just getting to the trucks a complicated affair. One driver, for example, is a Dutchman living in Norway. His journey would involve flying from central Norway to Milan, then driving up from Milan to the Sachsenring. On his return to Norway, he would face a 14-day quarantine before being allowed to go home.

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Dorna Press Release: Carmelo Ezpeleta Interview On The 2020 MotoGP Season

Dorna today issued a press release containing an interview with CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, in which he updates everyone on the plans for the 2020 MotoGP season, and how they are handling the current coronavirus outbreak. You can also watch the interview with Ezpeleta on the website.

Interview: Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta
Thursday, 12 March 2020

Following the recent updates to the 2020 MotoGP™ calendar, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta sat down for an interview on the changes and how the sport is reacting to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Despite the recent difficulties faced by much of the sporting world, the message to the MotoGP™ community remains an optimistic one as work continues round the clock to get our tantalising 2020 season underway.

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MotoGP Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli Interview: The 2020 Aerodynamic Rules

What will change under MotoGP's revised aerodynamic rules for 2020?

In mid-July the Grand Prix Commission reached agreement on how to address 'grey areas' in the current regulations. Their focus had been sharpened by a rare public spat involving five of the six manufacturers over the legality of Ducati's swingarm spoiler, which went to the MotoGP Court of Appeal.

With the full 2020 amendments yet to be published, we spoke to MotoGP Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli to find out what to expect in terms of the future aerodynamic (and electronics) regulations…

Q: The unified electronics are not self-adapting, but they can still be programmed for each corner of the race track. Are there any plans to remove that capability from the software in the future?

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Dorna Press Release: Statement By Carmelo Ezpeleta On Argentina MotoGP Race

Dorna today issued a press release containing a statement from the company's CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, on the events at the Argentina round of MotoGP at the Termas De Rio Hondo circuit. The press release appears below, or you can watch a video of Ezpeleta's statement on the website:

Carmelo Ezpeleta: "I respect the decisions taken by the stewards"

A day after the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, has commented on the issues surrounding the start of the MotoGP™ race, which was delayed due to the changing weather conditions.

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Carmelo Ezpeleta's Grand Plan, Or The Long History Behind Tech3's Switch To KTM

Sometimes decisions are a long time in the making. Tech3's decision to leave Yamaha and sign with KTM may have been made in the space of a few months, but the genesis of that choice, the process that made it all possible is ten years in the making. If MotoGP hadn't switched from 990cc to 800cc at the start of the 2007 season, if the ban on tobacco sponsorship in sports hadn't been enforced from 2005, if the financial system hadn't collapsed under the weight of tranches of "ninja" loans, Tech3 would be a Yamaha satellite team for the foreseeable future. Whether they wanted to be or not.

How did MotoGP get to a place where Tech3 could switch to KTM? To make complete sense of the story, we have to go back to the end of the last century. Through the last 1990s, the popularity of Grand Prix racing was waning, while the World Superbike series went from strength to strength. The manufacturers were losing interest in the 500cc class, as two strokes were gradually disappearing from the road.

Big bore four strokes were the flavor of the month among motorcycle buyers, and the factories were investing less and less in their two stroke racers. The manufacturers expressed an interest in racing four strokes in the premier class, and Dorna sketched out a contract with the MSMA, the organization representing the manufacturers, and MotoGP was born.

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Dorna Sports Handed Multi-million Euro Fines For Tax Evasion

The Spanish Supreme Court has imposed multi-million dollar fines on Dorna Sports and its executives for tax offenses arising out of the sale of shares in 2003 and 2004. The court found that Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and COO & CFO Enrique Aldama had simulated the sale of shares in order to avoid paying income tax and to receive undeclared dividends from the shares the two men hold. 

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MotoGP Rule Update: Fuel Limit Raised To 22 Liters For 2016, SCAT3 Concussion Test Introduced, & More

The meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, held on Tuesday in Madrid, made a number of minor changes to the rules for all three Grand Prix classes, as well as a couple of more significant revisions. The biggest changes concerned the setting of the maximum fuel allocation from 2016 at 22 liters, and the adoption of the SCAT3 test for concussion for riders after a crash. But perhaps the most significant outcome of the meeting of the GPC is not what was decided, but what was not.

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