Ducati Announce They Will Be Racing As Open Class Entries In MotoGP In 2014

Ducati have officially confirmed that they will race as Open class entries in the 2014 MotoGP season. Speaking to the media at Sepang, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced that all four Ducati machines will be entered under Open regulations. The decision has been the worst-kept secret in the paddock for some time, with rumors emerging earlier this year that the Italian manufacturer would abandon Factory Option status to switch to the freer Open class.

Dall'Igna described the switch as 'the most interesting option for Ducati in the current situation'. Given the nature of Ducati's problems, they were left with virtually no option but to switch to the Open class. The engine freeze in place for Factory Option entries make it impossible to make significant changes to the bike layout, as the engine cases are fixed, right down to the engine mounting points. The freeze limits both engine development and chassis development as a result.

The disadvantage to choosing to go the Open route is that teams are limited to the spec software supplied by Magneti Marelli. Having tested with the software at Sepang with both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Ducati found that the disadvantages are far outweighed by the advantages of more testing and engine development. The spec software - referred to inside the paddock as the championship software - is already very sophisticated, despite it being less complex than the software used by the factories.

Ducati had already caused a bit of a stir prior to the second Sepang test. A new software update was made available to all of the Open teams ahead of the second test, which was such a large step several of the teams had been daunted by its complexity. The file containing the specifications of the software which Magneti Marelli sent out to the teams still had the words 'Ducati Motor Holding' in the header, Magneti Marelli having neglected to delete the name from the file. There is nothing in the rules preventing Ducati making their software available to Magneti Marelli, the only proviso being that the same software is available to all teams equally. However, as a factory, Ducati has both the experience and the electronics engineers to get the most out of the more sophisticated software, something which the smaller teams simply cannot afford.

Below is the official press release announcing Ducati's decision to go Open:

Ducati Team to compete in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship under the Open option

  • Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso will race their Desmosedici GP14 in the Open configuration.
  • Open option gives more freedom for development during the year.
  • Ducati Corse to keep developing their bikes during the championship to improve competitiveness.

Ducati Team has announced today that they will compete in the 2014 MotoGP Championship, taking advantage of the Open option.

The new MotoGP regulations, introduced this year, give each manufacturer the possibility to choose between two technical options: Factory and Open.

While in 2014 all bikes in the championship – Factory and Open - must use exactly the same Magneti Marelli ECU, the Open option also includes the obligation to use the standard DORNA software, however allowing more freedom in terms of engine development.

Ducati, after carefully considering the two options, has decided that the most suitable one for the current needs of the Bologna-based manufacturer is the Open one, which gives the possibility to the race department to continue the development of the bike and the engine throughout the entire season.

Recent tests carried out in Sepang by the Ducati Team riders, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, gave a positive feedback to the Ducati engineers and therefore, on the deadline of February 28, both riders have been entered into the championship with their Desmosedici GP14 bikes selecting the Open option.

The other Ducati contracted rider, Andrea Iannone, will also race for Pramac Racing Team with the same bike and option as the Ducati Team riders.

Luigi Dall'Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager, commented: "We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation. This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs. We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and DORNA has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes".

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So they're going to keep developing their own software while having more fuel and engines available. That's clever, that way they get the best of both worlds.

So Ducati Corse now get to use their own software algorithms AND have 24l of fuel, softer tyres and as much development as they want?

Now that IS funny!

... but they also have to share their work with all the open teams (in effect, everyone in the paddock) which any manufacturer is loathe to do.

I don't think Gigi or the race team will lose any sleep over other teams having access to their software.

Ducati as a company might, but the boys in the pit only care about one thing... racing!

I read that a bit different. They may use the same software.(Which has gotten a huge boost from Gigi himself) but after that I believe the sharing ends. One team doesn't know what settings the others are using. They just know they're using the same software. It's a brilliant move by not only Gigi but Carmelo. He has pretty much written the rules to get rid of Factories and their control over the rules. And then got them to agree to it.

I wonder what form the software takes, whether it's open source, whether it's easily obfuscated, etc.

Depending on the form the software takes, it would seem that a team could submit their highly obfuscated code, complete with easter eggs and injection vulnerabilities. The other teams would have access to it, but they might not be able to make much use of it.

That's borderline genius - give MM your software and let everyone have it, knowing that the other Open teams don't have the means to exploit it yet. I wonder if that's a development that Honda or Yamaha (or Dorna) had anticipated. True they'll still be limited by the spec software and it's options, but I think if anything is easier to adapt it will be software.

Looks like they took the "pirate" thing to heart.

As a die hard, long suffering Ducatista, I'm pissing myself laughing.
I so can't wait for Hondas complaints.
What a stroke on genius
All the benefits, and keep your software.
Nothing in the rules to say you can't give your bespoke software away.
Though I have to say, it is really taking the piss. Love it !
Go Duc

Backed into a corner by the other MSMA players Ducati has made a bold and cunning move in this game. Really the only logical course they could take but the software gift to Magneti Marelli is a brilliant twist. This is just the sort of thing that makes MotoGP so interesting and we can thank Dorna for setting the stage.

Ducati get an extra fuel load and weight penalty with the inside track into the spec ECU. Advantage to them is that they finally get to fiddle with the chassis/engine dynamics with the freedom they need to go forward.
I guess Bridgestone, after developing tyres with emphasis on Yamaha and Honda since 2008 are now also smarting. Ducati will exploit their access to the softer compound available in the open class which the factory boys can't use. HEH HEH !

Does this also mean that the Ducs can go test to Qatar, when HRC and Yam have to go to Australia? That will make the season opening even more interesting, with even stronger Ducatis. An additional test can make the difference, remember Rossi/Ducati on Misano 2012.

Well, testing at Philip Island will be important too because of the tires (remember the race last year)--in fact, having a chance to try the new tires on that track is the very reason that test was scheduled, I believe. So, come Australian GP time, the factories will have an advantage over the Open teams there.

For Ducati to continue to race in GP they have to make some progress, soon. This is the only way to achieve that with the development restrictions. And when Dovi is gong just as quick on the slightly inferior software Gigi didn't have to think twice.very interesting season ahead, maybe just not for the title itself.

It's not like Ducati gets to take the software they developed for the Factory ECU and simply apply it to the Open ECU. The Open ECU is way more limited (for example, the wheelie control setting, for which the Factory ECU can be adjusted corner by corner, while the Open ECU has only one overall setting).

That said, the ability to cast new engine components had to be the tipping point in the Factory/Open decision-making process. The thing I wonder is whether Ducati will take full advantage of it. They have thus far shown little willingness to question themselves. Like categorically refusing to alter their cylinders' 90-degree vee angle due to it being some kind of genetic predisposition. Once they make a decision, they seem stick to it, come hell or high water.

Hopefully, the new guy wasn't issued the same pair of blinders his predecessors wore.

It's Gigi. One only has to look at his track record to relize that he doesn't allow anyone to put blinders on. Plus, this move by him shows just who is in control of Ducati Corse now.

It is just like they get to use their software from the Factory bike.
If they've given it lock stock and barrel to Magneti, then it's exactly the same as they would have ran on a factory bike because the Factory bike HAS the same ECU , d'oh

Software is not magical, it needs sensors. MM brought a new inertia sensor that allows for different strategies in the software. MM will not have Ducati complete software because it will not have all the sensors that Ducati's bike have.

Ducati would never have won a SBK title if not for the rule breaks. If they win MotoGP with this subterfuge, that win would be similarly tainted.

What a dilemma ... I can't decide which of your two sentences I disagree with more strongly. On second thoughts, I guess it's the second one (the first one is a mere, subjective opinion after all). "Subterfuge"? "Tainted"? Aren't they simply choosing the best of the options given to them by the rulebook, as any team would do? Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

Troll statements, meant to invoke emotion. The SBK statement is a jab at Ducati fan-bois. The tie in to motogp is tenuous, but plausable... euro-centric rules body tweaks rules to bolster euro based mfgr... All that said, when I was racing, I'd exploit the rules book to the max.

GiGi is the mastermind no doubt. This ploy had to have been done a long time ago. Okay David... now besides the obvious benefits of the DUCATI championship hardware being the magic key for GiGi to do whatever he wants to make the newer bike for Ducati... what else did GiGi/Ducati get from Marelli??? Was money exchanged for the software? Did Audi/Ducati get get Marelli stock? GiGi is already ahead of the 2017 rule change with this move. Are Marelli/ducati electronic geeks working together now? Ducati can claim the future MotoGP/WSB champions via the electronics. We may soon see a bidding war for the championship ECU/Software between the factories. Forget seeing another Tire-War any time soon.

Its an L 4, just like Honda's copycat L-2 in SBK of yesteryear and blah. I'm being pedantic. HRC as much as I admire their engineering acumen, fail to understand their approach or stand, that being...'developed for the road on the track', much like Yamaha. Pneumatic valve train. Really ! How many Yamaha and Honda machines have been gracing roadbikes of any persuasion with pneumatic valve train since...whenever? I enjoy desmo everyday. I don't see Gigi interference with the L and why should he bother? No balance shafts. Ditto system, L, works for Honda. Some time back, I posted a mickey mouse comment supporting a Ducati switch to 'open'.
Glad they have done it. The fix is simply about winning titles,whether they be riders or contructors. Within current factory regs they have not a snowballs hope in hell. Within open,they can upset the applecart big time against the factory Yamaha/HRC/Bridgestone heirarchy. That soft option race tyre ? Bridgestone need to grow some balls this season. By saying that,I mean that they have to tell Yamaha and HRC to stay the hell out of 'open class' tyre options. We don't need to go around the same old block of Valentino wanting Casey's Bridgestones and by golly I don't want to hear those blokes whinging to the GPC that they want Aleix's Bridgestone soft compound.
At the end of the day,when the level is close,the tyres have the final say.

What a brilliant pirate move by Ducati to gain Open advantages while retaining most of their Factory software capabilities. I wish them well. And I hope we will soon have all teams using the "championship" software, 2017 or 2016 or ASAP. But once all teams are on the same deal, then we need to reduce the electronic rider aids. I hope the ultimate end game is to return traction control/wheelie control to the riders' right wrists!

Does that mean Hernandez will get his bike upgraded to a GP14 as well? It wouldn't make sense to leave him with the old bike as they try to develop the new one. They need all the feedback they can get.

I've been wondering the exact same thing myself. I hope he gets the new bike, which seems to be a definite improvement over the old one.

Though I admire the technology that Honda has created in all forms of motoring, I have never liked the company. I have no logical explanation for that, though. I think Honda is arrogant but adheres to the Japanese ethic of honour of their word. The combination of the two has ultimately created a "stupidity" in Honda which makes them a victim of the rules that they create. They dictated the rules and adhered to them and created a RCV 1000 R, which is nowhere near the clever strategy of Yamaha, who are presently running last year's Tech 3 bike with Aleix Espargaro. I think the delay by Forward Racing in clinching the Yamaha deal was deliberate, so that it could use the Tech3 bike. Pity Colin Edwards is not making the best out of this situation, while Espargaro is.

Ducati has gone a couple of steps ahead and dealt a death blow to Honda's plans. From next year I can see Yamaha supplying this years bikes to Forward Racing and Tech3. FTR is probably out now. Honda is saddled with a bike that is keeping in spirit of the rules but not likely to go fast. Even if the RCV 213 wins, the fact that the RCV 1000 R will be straggling at the back of the field is going to hurt them. I can see Moto 3 happening here. Next year Honda will try to strike back and in the process somehow will spend more money than they anticipated. So one can probably see Honda suffering terribly from the pain of the wound it has created by shooting itself in the foot. That is the problem when you think you can dominate because you have technology. Some tactical thinking is also necessary, and Honda does not seem to be realising it.

Come RaceDay the Open Hondas will not be too far behind. They played in the spirit of the game and the moves by Yamaha and to a larger extent, Ducati would light a fire under that Japanese Arse.

Honda will take advantage of the Open rules. The faster their open bikes are the better it is for the factory and satellite honda riders. What is stopping Honda from dropping in a couple of upgrades in Nickys lap as the underpinnings are the same [or very close] as the factory ride.

Those Honda upgrades are pneumatic valves and seamless transmissions, which are both *quite* costly.

Increased performance for the 'open' Hondas are dear indeed. $$$$

MM will be new Bridgestone. In the long run, changes in software will benefit one manufacturer or the
MM software is apparently very basic. Aleix lap times keep getting slower, while Lorenzo, with all the problems is slowing down much less.
Cost savings will be zero if MM starts updating their software/sensors package and new brands have to spend millions trying to get to grips with a MM system and/or trying to push the boundaries of the rules. You will still need the Computer Wiz to adjust the MM software. We just need to look a bit to F1 to see manufacturers trying new solutions (read spend lots of money) to bring back what they could do be doing with ABS or TC.
For now, very interesting development, in the long run, how will Dorna try to sell the cost saving measures?