MotoGP Rule Change Imminent: 'Intermediate' Category To Be Added Between Factory Option And Open Classes

The CRT-replacement Open class in MotoGP is causing an even bigger shake up of the class than was expected. The outright speed of the Forward Yamaha at the first two Sepang tests provoked a testy response from Honda, who claimed it was entirely against the spirit of the rules. Then came news that Ducati was to switch to an Open entry, giving them the freedom to develop their engines and use more fuel, in exchange for giving up their own ECU software. This provoked an even angrier response from Honda, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo telling the website that they were unhappy with the introduction of the new ECU software Magneti Marelli brought to the second Sepang test, which was much more sophisticated, though it was not used by the teams.

It seems Honda's complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. Today, in an interview with Spanish sports daily AS, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announced that a third, intermediate category is to be introduced for 2014. The new category, which Ezpeleta dubbed 'Factory 2', will see Ducati start the season under the full Open regulations: 24 liters of fuel per race, 12 engines per season, not subject to the engine development freeze, unlimited testing, and a softer rear tire, in exchange for using the spec championship software managed by Magneti Marelli. However, should Ducati win a race, or take 2 second places, or 3 third places, then they will lose some of their advantage. Fuel will be reduced from 24 to 22.5 liters, and the engine allocation will be reduced from 12 to 9 per season.

The measure is to be adopted as of 11th March, according to Ezpeleta. The Grand Prix Commission will meet to approve the new rules, though the FIM, Dorna and team association IRTA have already given their assent. Given that this proposal was most likely made in response to pressure from the two Japanese factories still adhering to the Factory Option regulations, the MSMA are also likely to approve it.

The proposal will leave MotoGP with three categories, instead of the existing two. Factory Option: 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season, all engine development frozen and restricted testing, in exchange for the freedom to use and develop their own ECU software. Open: 24 liters of fuel, 12 engines per season, engine development and testing unrestricted, and  a softer rear tire, but forced to use the Magneti Marelli software. And Factory 2: the same as Open, but with 22.5 liters of fuel and 9 engines. What is not clear is what other restrictions will be placed on Factory 2 teams, whether testing will be limited, whether they will have access to a softer tire, etc. It is also not clear whether they will be freed from some of the restrictions on the electronics package, such as the freedom to use their own dashboard or sensor packages. At Phillip Island, Ducati ran the full Open spec electronics package, including Magneti Marelli dashboard. It is also unclear whether the Factory 2 regulations will apply to the Forward Yamaha team as well, especially as the bike which Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will be racing is now being entered as a 'Forward Yamaha' in the latest entry lists, rather than the 'FTR Yamaha' which it was originallly called. It is also unclear whether weather conditions will be taken into account when assessing results. When the engine allocation rules were first brought in, an exception was made for factories which had not had a dry win, the same logic could be applied here.

The trigger for the latest spat over the Open class was the introduction of a new, much more sophisticated software package brought to Sepang 2 by Magneti Marelli. Initial reports were that the new package was basically Ducati's ECU software, handed over to Magneti Marelli. As Mat Oxley wrote yesterday, however, the new package was not yet in use at Sepang, the software only being loaded so that the Open class technicians could get used to the way it worked, and compare it with the 2013 software, which was far less complex. 

In the interview with AS, Ezpeleta explained that Magneti Marelli had had the software for some time. The factories were asked in November last year to help develop the spec ECU software, but Honda and Yamaha refused, Ezpeleta said. Ducati agreed, and provided assistance to the Italian ECU maker. Magneti Marelli then built their software based on the input provided by Ducati, and this was the software introduced at Sepang 2. Ezpeleta was clear on why the upgrade was applied. 'The objective is that in the end, everyone will run as Open entries,' Ezpeleta told AS.

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So let's see....Ducati cooperates when Dorna asks all the factories for software development help (HRC and Yamaha refuse) so now Ducati is going to be penalized if their's is successful???

I seem to remember something like this when I was 6 years old- if I didn't like the rules of a game, I would take my ball and go home.

DORNA wisdom and strength?
My 1st reaction - disbelief and disgust "convoluted capitulation to Honda!"

2nd thought - rational interest "wait, 22.5 liters and 9 engines is the sweet spot! Even Open Yamaha won't want 24 liters, perhaps DORNA is sticking it to Honda while making it clear that Honda has a place at the table AND wisely adjusting the regulations to the rapidly changing defacto Factory 2 Ducati (and hopefully Yamaha) situation." Insurance that Ducati can't run away with the 2014 title due to transitional rules.

3rd thought - Forward thinking?
DORNA has created space in which to work out how MotoGP will look for the future via Factory 2, room to ask Bstone to develop a Open Ducati/Yamaha tire and other such things we don't immediately see, to not fight Honda inch by inch away from where Factory is today. One view is that Factory 2 IS sticking it to Honda and moving things further Forward in a balanced way w/o handing too much to Ducati nor presenting Honda w an exit strategy.

Re their current customer production Open bike Honda isn't thinking too much about it at this time. It isn't the future, it is an unfortunate aside. And don't be mistaken, it is a legitimate injury to Honda that they put so much effort and $ into what "went poof in the air" when Forward's Open Yamaha came to be. They are going to be able to get new top ends on the Customer Honda motor for the 2nd iteration but are eating that $ themselves and that project will continue to go nowhere as it is not the future nor will compete with anyone but the non-existent Aprilia ART bike. Honda's struggle with this is not just fussing.

Interestingly with there being only 2 true "aliens" established now, one more fading from their ranks and one new arrival grabbing on to their tails a few things seem pretty solid. Marquez and HRC will be winning even while the second pack swells and Factory Honda has some healthy competition. Ducati are making legitimate gains that are primarily about what Gigi is instituting, and their chaos has made for opportunity in Factory 2. But Yamaha can also be the big winner here. Lorenzo staying with a Factory Yamaha that makes good use of Forward/A. Espargaro to quickly enter rapid change and become Factory 2 is a big deal. Telefonica-Movistar with their made-for-Yamaha livery and big $ can seal the deal with Lorenzo and plenty of hams.

Crystal ball consult - Next year Tech 3 will take over from Forward as the Open Yamaha project. Perhaps A.Espargaro and P.Espargaro as our first family team? Importantly, all the Honda satellite teams will be emulating Herve's lead (he is the next "big winner" after Forward/A. Espargaro and Ducati from Open rules) and jump ship from Factory rules, demanding the ability to run their bikes as Open, and how will Honda respond for 2015? Every single production Customer Production Honda will ditch their bike unless they have received a pneumatic top end and support adapting electronics and developing software from HRC that resulted in significant progress out of the gap between CRT's and the rest of the field. Scott Redding is aready penciled in with Gresini to stop riding it, and do you think Aspar has any attachment to it or relationship with Honda? Think Abraham's dad wants to buy him another one? Me either. The bike is "still born."

Don't get too caught up in the knee-jerk reactions for this immediate term, nor in what is or isn't said in press releases. The future of MotoGP has just hatched with Factory 2, Ducati right now, Yamaha and Suzuki soon, and it has a life of it's own. 22.5 liters and 9 engines, clear solid regulations announced by DORNA, and received by Suzuki and Aprilia as well as our envigorated trio of manufacturers.

How will we know if the Factory 2 regulations are good and viable? What to watch for? I am personally looking for:
*Factory Yamaha joining Ducati and going Factory 2 for 2015
*Herve and Tech 3 getting Factory 2 Yamaha's for 2015 and displaying the benchmark for a "new normal" in the paddock with respect to COST and performance.
*Bstone developing a tire specifically for Factory 2 bikes
*A.Espargaro podium in the dry
*Suzuki making strong gains as they shift to Open rules and championship software.
*Aprilia testing a new Open bike and showing return planning (2016?)
*Fausto Gresini or LCR even talking about testing their bike with championship software and 22.5 liters.

Let's do it!

Ducati have made decisions which will effect their racing and R&D budget based on the existing rules, but then the MSMA can just change those rules on the run? What a farce. This stinks nearly as much as when Bridgestone introduced the new front tyre when the season had already started in 2012.

I'd like to see Ducati:

1. File a lawsuit. They signed up to race under the proposed rules, only to have them illegally changed after the fact. That's got to be worth a half-dozen lawyers.

2. Ignore the rule change. Go ahead and win a race or bag a few podiums, then continue to field an Open-Spec MC for the rest of the year. Dare the stewards to ban them, and if that happens, withdraw from the series.

>>1. File a lawsuit.

Yes, get lawyers involved, that will surely help.

>>only to have them illegally changed after the fact

Illegally? If the appropriate committees pass the rule its official and all legal like.

>>2. Ignore the rule change. Go ahead and win a race or bag a few podiums, then continue to field an Open-Spec MC

I'll ignore the part where they would not follow race direction's rules and still be allowed to wheel their bike onto the grid and focus on the fact that a Factory 2 bike will still be open spec (Dorna/Ducati SW and soft tire access), they'll just have fewer engines and less gas. Since Ducati was not having troubles with 6 engines and 21l of fuel they will not have a problem with 9 engines and 22.5l.

This new 'category' is pretty meaningless as far as affecting bike performance or race results. I don't know why it was instituted but if someone was complaining about it and was satisfied with the class addition as reported as assuaging their concerns then they are pretty silly. Maybe the satellite teams just don't want to finish behind a bike classified as 'Open' and would feel better if they finished behind a bike called 'Factory 2'. I think that Bradl and Bautista should pull their fingers out and at least keep up with the 2 class rookies.

Yamaha is only giving Forward 3 engines with 2 rebuilds so they are not using 12 engines anyway. The Ducs don't have a fuel or durability issue, especially since they finagled a way to use their 2014-spec software as an open entry. They want to be able to test and make new cases with revised mounting mid-season, and they will still be allowed to do so even if they win the first 8 races. That covers all the non-factory bikes that have a possibility of a dry podium or better. So there is nothing in the new rules that will affect racing except a change of a name on an entry list.

Now about how kindergarden this situation makes Dorna look is an entirely different story. And I can't wait for the unforseen consequences to arise later in the season.


Does this mean we will have FIVE bikes in parc ferme this season ;)

Lets all vote with our wallets. I have decided to forgo the subscription to GP and WSBK this season and I wont watch it on the telly as well.I will be downloading the races for this season. Dorna has to be find this unprofitable sooner or later or my beloved sport will cease to exist.

Just tell the factories what the rules are for everyone. No discussion after a consultation with everyone, that's it.

If you don't like it, go home. The sport will be better in the long run, there will still be winners, good racing and stars will be born!

By trying to keep one or two people happy, they are creating a farce.

So defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory. MotoGP is a category of control tyres, so fundamentally there is only one answer to designing a motorcycle chassis capable of winning consistently. MotoGP is a category of fuel consumption competition, so fundamentally the factory with the best consumption controlling electronics is the one capable of winning consistently. If one brand masters both the tyres & the consumption conundrum, then it will do everything in its power to maintain its advantage. Whilst I despise Honda and its successful policy of stifling development in MotoGP to prevent the opposition from challenging their supremacy, especially the sealing of factory engines before the first race of the season (what a joke, prototype racing with greater design stagnation than production racing) if I was Honda I would do the same.

Bullying their path to victory is the Honda way. But Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has now blown the chance to wrestle control of MotoGP out of Hondas' hands given to him by Yamahas back door open effort & Ducatis' wholesale adoption of the open way by caving into the 10 tonne Honda gorilla at the last moment. It makes me sick to read this David. Sad & sick to the heart.

I was really looking forward to this season's racing and some quality racing from teams/riders not always at the sharpest end of late, perhaps in the latter stages of races as the factory bikes ecu's maybe would have been winding back the power to conserve fuel yet the open bikes not so..... but no! If this isn't staged/fixed racing I don't know what is. Obviously a knee jerk reaction to HRC's complaints that maybe the open rules were perhaps a little too open but didn't they gave them the nod to begin with? In short it's ruined what was possibly going to be the most interesting season!

I was told the Japanese are people of honour! Honda is proving this wrong. Sad days Honda!

what honour ?
japanese people, save from honourable exceptions, based their foolery on the "honour" label
Fukushma, their bribery to keep it working past 2005 and all that happened after, and it's still happening there, are too fresh to remind of this "honourable" people

add the Honda and Toyota walkout from F 1, their exploding airbags and auto accel cars that cost many people's lives and they candidly denied, the awful HRC dictatorship in motorcycle racing and there are lots of things together to prove this point

I am pissed, really angry

David's points around weather, and soft tyres are important.

I cannot see Ducati being too worried about the fuel and engine limits, as they have run within those for a while and all this will do is stop a Ducati WSBK-like runaway.

I don't know about Honey Badger, more Cat and Cream I suspect, considering what has happened over the past 3 years. The season hasn't started yet though. Sepang and PI are not 'typical' circuits, and neither is Losail. It could be that a few more than Rossi will wait until Mugello before making strategic decisions, or counting chickens.

which moron's came up with this idea ?
* what if Ducati could take their 2nd second place halfway the season ? will they take it, or decide to let one man pass them, just not to loose their advantage ? hard descission, because being able to develop at full force for the rest of the season might be the better option for 2015. will the final championship standings reflect the true order of competivness or will it be something else ?
* what if the season is already 3/4 under way, Ducati is using their 9th engine which happens to be a completly new version that also uses a new frame. they win the race and are than stuck to finish the rest of the season with that single engine ? or revert to an older spec engine/frame and just show up and do some laps, as the newer one was definitly the way to go and continuing with the older one is useless and just time lost ?

MORON's I tell you !!!

and scr*w Honda. instead of creating extra categories, I would delete one as of march the 11th ...

What happens when, on their 10th engine, Ducati wins in Motegi near the end of the season? Does that mean they have to start the next race from pit lane for having the audacity to win a race?

What we're really seeing is that Honda (Yamaha) are pissed that the free software is getting almost as good as the software they've spent season upon season developing. That if you take away the artificial conditions (fuel, # of engines) that necessitate the software then there's really not all that much in the lap time between the free stuff and the stuff they paid millions to develop. They're pissed that Ducati is more concerned with winning than they are with toeing the MSMA line. Ducati's brand is built more on racing than any of the other manufacturers in racing. They don't have a line of scooters they can apply research in maximum fuel efficiency at part throttle to.

I still fail to see why Honda (Yamaha) are so upset by this - this was the plan all along; why did they not consider someone might jump over early? They're so concerned about their precious software they never even considered the fact that someone else might not guard it with their life.

always despised Honda for their lack of personality in both cars and bikes, and its total absence of fairness in sport

now I just hate them for the damage they're doing on the sport, in F 1 waiting a season just to gather info from rivals and now in MotoGP, greasing Carmelo's arse for a fist f___ against the new rules
and still there are people who love the so called japanese "ethic"
what a joke, seriously

Incentivise the opportunity, get teams to go open which is what I believe Dorna want? Then penalise the teams that took the opportunity a week later so the order of things isn't upset?? What kind of a competition is that? I just don't get it at all it's so unbelievably unfair!

This is so ambiguous it's ridiculous. "The spirit of the rules" could be interpreted in any way you'd like. Just as much as the Forward/FTR Yamaha team is not following the "spirit of the rules", one could argue that the magical Honda gearbox isn't following the intended "spirit of the rules" in section item 2 - "Twin clutch transmission systems (DSG) are not permitted." - as one could argue that the functionality of the magical gearbox is similar enough to a DSG one.

The bottom line is, if Ducati are competitive in one race this season, it will have been a huge advantage handed to them based on last season... Dorna had to do something about hondas stranglehold, but they needed to stop short of taking the piss which making the ducati overnight a front runner with zero effort from ducati themselves would have been..Forward and yamaha have brought something genuinely new to the table and ducati have pissed on it by running a full factory effort in the same class now they want an advantage over the factory bikes as well using their own custom software.. If it happened on your own doorstep you'd be outraged.. Now can we ask bridgestone why the factories get a touring spec tyre??

Seriously? Ducati have done nothing - like helping Magneti Marelli develop the spec software at Dorna's request? And Yamaha brought something new to the table - last year's bike running the spec software? How is the 2013 M1 running the spec ECU and software "genuinely new"? Yonny Hernandez was doing the EXACT SAME THING all along and no one raised an eyebrow.

We need to race some bikes before anyone can realistically say that there's any improvement here. We don't know what's going to happen over race distance.

It's not Ducati's own software - now it's everyone's software. Honda can get the code from Aspar's team I'm sure. Yamaha from Forward.

Ducati's software has long been acknowledged as inferior to Honda's and Yamaha's, and it was never an advantage as a Factory entry, but now when they've gone open, and GAVE AWAY what they spent time and money developing, it's an advantage? I see.

It may not be fair, it may not be even but I rather see a much more exciting race with 6 or 7 riders fighting to make it to parc ferme rather than having JL and MM with a +4.5 over the rest and have just 1 'exciting' pass on the last lap.

Let's face it... for the past 2 years most racings have been BORING. It was time for a chance

Looks like we're heading towards a 2013 Phillip Island style debacle here. This is all becoming a very bad joke. I sorely miss the seventies, when GP racing was mostly a matter of riders and tuners, not the big money fiasco it is today.

I do feel this is a decent compromise.
Motogp is in a transition period when all three factories refuse to compete on a level playing field. While the struggle continues to force all team to compete as "Open" some controls have to be put in place to legitimize the eventual championship winning team for 2014. Would it be fair if Ducati wins half of the races this season? Could we honestly say they outperform the japanese manufacturers? It is a mess... Dorna is trying to salvage this season.

Honda have no interest in a level playing field. They simply want to win at all costs, and are happy to use their financial muscle to make it happen. Seamless gearboxes which are beyond the budget of other teams could also be considered an unfair advantage.
Dorna set the rules, and Honda agreed to them. It seems like they might have made a bad choice, and Ducati the right one - so Honda immediately start whining about the spirit of competition, and pressuring Dorna to change the rules to restore their advantage.
If anything - Dorna should have given Honda and Yamaha the option to go Open. This late rule change is a total mess and will encourage Honda to believe they can manipulate Dorna in the future. It will also discourage Suzuki and Kawasaki from making a real effort with their MotoGP development projects.
This decision brings the series into disrepute - Dorna should have told Honda where to stick it, and wished them a nice day.

I agree. I don't really think that Dorna or Ducati for that matter, think that Ducati are going to be regular front runners. This really means nothing in the scheme of things. All it's meant to do it appease the Japenesse factories for Ducati going open.

They've had some good test times. But they are just that. Test times. We'll see where they're at when the flag drops. I imagine, close to where they were last year. I look back and remember Suzuki having a killer testing season. But when the flag dropped. They weren't anywhere to be found.

Ducati may get in the box this year, but it'll be in the rain when half the field crashes. It'll be a miracle from God for them to step on the top step in the dry.

My understanding is HRC were asked for their input into open spec software but declined the opportunity Ducati on the other hand didn't and have been helping Magneti Marelli with the software development so it was always going to work with their bike naturally. It isn't their software they just helped develop it when everbody had thw opportunity to do so in the beginning.

April Fools when I saw this, but then checking my calendar...

Why on earth doesn't Dorna stand up this intimidation?! They say that having two classes is already confusing and they eventually want everyone to move to the Open and now they add a 3rd class just before the season begins? What happened to the idea of having consistent rules for several years instead of changing them on the fly year-by-year? As pointed out above, what do you do if Ducati breach these new rules 2/3 into the year? Don't they realize what a mess this will become and what a bunch of fools they will made out to be? This Honda creation looks fit to make Dorna look incompetent (and Honda omnipotent!) more than anything else as, avoiding injury, I don't see how we aren't still going to be having podiums with the same people as last year...

They should have just left it. I thought the whole point of the new Open class was to make it attractive to all the teams (looking at the results of Aleix on the Forwaha it certainly was!). If Ducati win races (which I see as unlikely due to the handling problems that are engrained in the bike) so what? It's a show, and everyone likes an underdog (Remember Button in the Brawn when he was WC?). Dorna should have stood their ground. No one in BSB complained when all bikes went EVO and WSB is now following suit. The racing in BSB sure as hell did not suffer!

With WSB and Motogp under the same umbrella what could Honda actually do? Send their Motogp bikes to the Isle of Man!?!

I'm fed up hearing this phrase 'it's against the spirit of the rules', it's either in the rulebook or it isn't. Ducati have used the rules as written, good on them and Honda should have read the rules a little better, like the little whoopsie at Philip Island.

Moto 3 they were beaten fair and square by KTM, and now in Motop GP Yamaha and Ducati have used the rules as written. Dorna should have simply said "Sorry, that's the rules you agreed to, either use the open rule or don't".

they should stop letting the marketing company make the rules.

That was the real start of the idiocy.

Never let the salesmen run the business, it never ends well.

In reality by not buying Honda products you are hurting your local dealers and their employees more than you are hurting Honda's coffers. These local dealers have nothing to do with decisions made by HRC and everything to do with hiring local people in your community and indirectly contributing to ensure you have a skilled employed, vibrant community.

Fair point for sure Matters, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to buy any motorcycle bits and pieces. I spend more money than I want to calculate on my race bike and my road bikes. I'll just concentrate my spending on Ducati, Suzuki and Husky, etc. Those sales people work in my neighborhood too. DORNA can be steamrolled by Honda, but i don't have to be.

This rule is totally ridiculous. I agree with everyone here. I thought this rule "Open Class" was about leveraging competition between all classes, but DORNA is sucumbing to pressure from HRC, so what is at stake here? money? how much is HRC investing in DORNA?

Is HRC pulls out of MotoGP, will Moto2 dissapears as well?

Time to use a fuel index. Replace the tier system with a single formula that adjusts as the teams and manufacturers achieve race wins and championships. Competition will always be present, regardless of budgetary/technological differences, because the teams will be competing against one another and the fuel index.

Manufacturers who win multiple championships in succession will be hailed for their achievement, rather than scorned for ruining the sport. Tech regulations can be relaxed. Riders may choose to switch teams after several successful campaigns because the rider doesn't want to redevelop the bike to incorporate new fuel-saving technology. Seasonal fuel index could also be used by creating 24L max fuel capacity for all teams, but adjusting the fuel allotment for the season. Seasonal fuel allotment encourages attack/defend strategies that create a season-long competitive narrative. Weather affects the competitive fuel narrative, which creates more unknown.

If the tier structure is taken to its extreme, MotoGP becomes more interesting for fans and participants alike. I suspect it would make more money as well.

I'm trying to remember a similar change being made to this and the closest I can come up to is when AMA/DMG changed the rules mid-season to give the Buell an advantage. That was pretty much the point I walked away from AMA racing. Once you start changing the rules to help pick winners & losers, it becomes a farce.

That being said, I actually sorta get Honda's anger. Open Spec was never intended to be competitive with the Factory Class- it was just there for filler. Once Ducati defected and gave their ECU software to Magneti-Marelli, the additional fuel, engines and softer compound rear tire become huge advantages for Open Class bikes since now they would have basically a Factory Spec ECU. Sure, maybe fewer/different sensors and what not, but it's clearly going to be a much better ECU now and a lot closer to the factories. Not only that, but they'll still have the entire year to continue to develop it.

Unfortunately, this is just another case of people coming up with too complex of a set of rules and it having unintended consequences. Bravo to Ducati to thinking out side of the box.

I would have been full of respect if they had decided Ducati were claiming an unreasonable advantage and trumped their hand by going open themselves to make it a fair fight.

And I can't believe that dorna blinked first and agreed a last minute rule change just as they had managed to wrestle control away from the manufactures. They chased kawasaki through the courts to stop them breaking their contact. Why shouldn't Honda suffer the same treatment (as well as facing the wrath of the bike buying world)?

I would LOVE to sit down it Nakamoto and listen to HIS opinion on all this, not HRC's but his own opinion. I'm guessing it would align very much with Hondas. But even he must be able to see what HRC are doing is effectively trying to ruin MotoGP. I also don't think Yamaha are whiter than white in all this. It just seems HRC have stamped their little feet the loudest.

All Dornas fault for handing too much control to the MSMA in the first place. Ezpaleta is going to ruin bike racing, some might say he already has.....

What a joke this is!! They are making a mockery of our favorite sport. This will further contribute to making MotoGP a niche sport.

How in the world do you explain this preposterous system to a potential new fan?

Try telling a current non-fan that your favorite motorsport has 3 sets of rules (thus machines) racing in the same race !!??

What a sad day for the sport.

I give up!

It is a joke isn't it? Or is the real joke on all of us who thought MotoGP was a sport? From what the article tells me Honda and Yamaha are the poorest sports in MotoGP.
Instead of being the sniveling servants to these two bullys the FIM and Dorna must immediately end the factory class option and have one equal class for all competitors in the MotoGP category. Anything else makes a mockery of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing. I will watch and read about the sport if Honda and Yamaha are not participants but I will turn my back on a sham promo for the benefit of those who have twisted the sport for their own gain.

Are they gonna change the rules again, on the day before Race 1? Everything is politics! How 'bout simple rules: 24L of fuel, 12 engines (w/specific rules---1000cc/81 mm bore/etc & here's your ECU......let's go racing! Too easy, right?

After reading lots on this throughout the day I don't think HRC are really concerned about open class bikes being involved in the top 3 places this season more about how woeful their RCV1000R is in comparison to EVERY other bike out there at the moment. Only Nicky has had the courage to speak plainly about it's lack of power as the other riders on them may not be in a position to express their disappointment with it. I guess threatening Dorna is way cheaper than supplying all the already sold RCV1000R's with pneumatic valves to make them competitive perhaps?

Has there ever been a better compliment to a riders talent than this? Aleix Esparago has so intimidated the factories that they have sunk to new lows in political manipulation.
Wouldn't it be better to just put Aleix on one of your bikes?

Yes, Honda is afraid that the Magneti Marelli software is ALMOST as good as their own. How dare they try to compete with Honda! Hahahahaha!

I dont think that anyone is actually going to use 24l of fuel at most tracks. I also think that espy1973 is right- Honda just wants to make sure that no one makes poor Nicky's bike look even slower.

If there really is a war going on between Ezpeleta and Honda, why would he announce such a rule change? Didn't he basically win when Ducati defected?

I think it's a lot more complicated than most commenters here want us to believe (Dorna the good guys vs Honda the bad guys).

This is silly, but it could avoid a boring season.

I was worried that Ducati would sort their issues by mid season and run away with championship in the second half of the season.

Once it was learned that Ducati is able to run their software on the MM ECU, everyone agreed they had only advantages by running as Open. In other words, if Ducati was in any way running a competent race program (which they just might be this season) they should run away with the championship. If you doubt that statement, ask yourself what the reaction and results would be if Honda was the only Open entrant.

It should have been this way from the start, and changing after the deadline for Ducati's decision denotes poor vision and leadership. That said, the only problem I have with the actual rule is with is the threshold. 3 race wins seems about right to me. I don't see how three thirds denotes an disproportionate advantage.

So back in November before the test ban HRC were shouting from the rooftops about how the RCV1000R was only 0.3 (I think that is the correct figure) off the RCV213V with Casey on board it.

Fast forwards 3 months and Nicky is telling everyone it's got no power. You have to wonder what the difference is between the bike then, and the bike now....electronics by any chance?

Question for David I guess, do you know if the testing at Motegi for the RCV1000R was using the "stock" Magneti Marelli software? Or an HRC derivative of their own software?

As much as I admire Stoners abilities, surely even he cannot make it a second quicker.

you are saying Nicky is as fast as Casey ? Only on february the 30th ...
Yes, I believe NH to be 1 sec slower than CS.

What I'm saying in that Nicky is not 1.3 seconds slower than the front 4 on comparable machinery. Clearly the test bike had something "more" at Motegi.

What possibility would it be that Honda doing the RCV1000R testing, did not use the MM hardware or the "championship" software when being tested by both Stoner and the HRC test rider.

Honda would just as likely say the bike is 1.3 seconds slower in the hands of Stoner. But we are also leaving out the part where we say that the RCV1000R was running identical or near identical software to the Repsol Factory Bike Casey was testing at the same exact time.

Did anyone ask what software they were on, or did we all just assume it was the MM-Championship software, you know, the one Honda hates to admit even exists.

Apparently Ezpeleta said that if Honda wanted to leave MotoGP and go WSBK that would be fine as "I'm also in Superbikes".

This whole situation seems extremely fluid at the moment, it wasn't foreseen that Yamaha would drop a satellite M1 into the Open class, nor that Ducati would exploit this either.

With limited knowledge of all the back story and details, it would appear that:
-Honda danced to Dorna's tune initially by creating the RCV1000R for the open class to enable more teams on the grid;
-Yamaha and Forward Racing started off with something that was half Satellite-half Open, which then due to other issues just became a satellite bike in Open clothing and provided some excellent times in testing (with AE#41 playing his part);
-at which point Ducati decided that the benefits outweighed the risks in the Open class.

I think a lot of this falls under Dorna's/MSMA's apparent inability to know that rules will always be exploited to their maximum benefit if it can gain an advantage for a team.

When they came up with the Open rules did they never ask the question "what if a Factory team decided to put a bike in under these rules?". Seems like very short-sighted rule making in my opinion.

Some of the 'what-ifs' on the engine usage situation posted above are excellent and shows this new rule to have been thought-up in less than the 4 business days since Ducati made the Open decision public.

... two steps back.
What makes the lack of backbone out of Espeleta? A snail?
He almost got handed to him by Ducati what he pretended was his dream for MotoGP's future ... and now he turns it into a nightmare.
Nice move Carmelo!

So, we see how much spine the CEO has. Does he realize he just blew away all future credibility he has in making future plans for the series? Everyone has just seen that he'll just do what Honda wants.

Oh, the spin is 'it's a compromise in the spirit of the rules'.

No, it's whiny Honda having a tantrum and Carmine not having the balls to make them behave.

Guess we should call this the HondaGP. They're running the show.

If I was in that circus on one of the teams, I'd be making up t-shirts for everyone in the paddock:

Picture of the head of HRC in the grumpy cat meme.

What a weakassed screwup.

the denial of DSG and the fact that seamless shift gearbox was allowed is the purest example of Honda's terrible influence into Carmelo and the ruling board, Honda had the means and the budget to use a system 5 x more expensive and complex than a DSG, and their rivals couldn't
this is their way

A Gigi can change the world, Honda N Yamaha, they dont want Ducati to be at the front ever, 2005-06,Ducati were winning races, japs says, lets bring 800cc engines, n then after 07 title win, control tyre because they be
ieved tires were a big reason for their victory,now introduction of intermideate class, especially against ducati, Ducati is alone as far as the factories(msma) goes, so they will always be f###### whenever they will start winning, so its no big deal if Ducati become the 'Pirate',because thats the only way they can win !

A Gigi can change the world, Honda N Yamaha, they dont want Ducati to be at the front ever, 2005-06,Ducati were winning races, japs says, lets bring 800cc engines, n then after 07 title win, control tyre because they
believed tires were a big reason for their victory,now introduction of intermideate class, especially against Ducati. Ducati is alone as far as the factories(msma) goes, so they will always be f###### whenever they will start winning, so its no big deal if Ducati become the 'Pirate',because thats the only way they can win !

I've left a few comments on this subject aleady but I think the over riding feeling I'm left with is dissappointment! I dearly love Moto GP and when it's the governing body that's making the sport look stupid I worry for the future of it. Rules are rules although not when Dorna write them. If they Can't exercise authority over the rule book why the hell should the teams? To many chiefs not enough Indians and that in itself is a slow death for any business. Perhaps they should call themselves mcDORNAlds and supply flappy meals to disgruntled competitors as reminder of the fact everything is subject to change if you flap hard enough!!

This is just outrageous and stupid. Honda can GTFO.

This is truly and utterly deplorable behaviour from Honda to Dorna and lots of it squarely at the feet of Ezpelata.

I have to agree with the comments being made about the Honda Prod racer...well...with it being shite and all.

Once again Honda throw some toys out of the pram and everybody else rushes to put them back in...and then some. Disgraceful.

I'm starting a petition....get Honda out of Motogp!!! We might see some racing then.

...and feck em, my mind is made up, a new ZX10 rather than the new Honda 1000....on principle, which I adhere to.


You can scream all you want. Ezpeleta and Dorna approved this rule change. They could have just not done so.

If they truly didn't care if Honda and Yamaha stayed in MotoGP they would have just let things be. In fact, they would have increased Open category benefits even more after Ducati joined.

Yet, they haven't. Why is that do you think?

This rule change is a bad idea. Winning, or doing well should never be penalized in racing. Ducati has already shown they can use a calculator when they decided to forego Factory status for Open. Now they have to decided if they want to win a race or are better off sandbagging to keep from being forced into Factory status. Bad, bad idea. I just want to see racing where everyone is trying their best to cross the finish line first.

Dorna was the one who imposed the 20L fuel limit to the factories on the condition that they run their own software. IIRC Honda and Yamaha were opposed to the spec ECU, so the negotiation was that if you want to use your own software you lose a liter of fuel.

How much money did Honda spend on the production racer only to have it crapped on by factory team switching over to open class?

I get Honda's resentment, but some of you are taking this a little too far. If you want to be pissed at someone, be pissed at Dorna for not having a backbone.

The MSMA decided to do this year on a liter less of fuel I believe.

Well Honda shouldn't have produced such a useless "open" bike.
So... in the interest of fairness we will soon be getting a further announcement from Dorna stating that should Honda/Yamaha win 1 race, come 2nd twice or 3rd three times they will forfeit their seamless gearboxes, then if they still make these results they will forfeit their pneumatic valves etc. etc.

.... or in the interest of keeping the rule changes uniform we reduce their fuel allowance to 19L & engine allocation to 5.

Both Ducati and Yamaha raced last year with 5 engines and 21 liters of fuel, so if Ducati or Forward will win race or be twice on podium, and then have to switch for 9 engines and 22,5 liters (whille enjoying freedom of engine development etc.), they will be more than fine, so that rule just seems like useless and made just for to make Honda happy....
But still - I cant wait to see them all racing under one rule..!

And at this moment that means making sure Marquez can keep winning. Nothing to do with Honda, other than keeping them in the game. Carmelo just got nervous not seeing his flagship out there. His position was far different with the previous occupant of that seat.

The likes of BT and the a similar deal in Spain for sole MotoGP rights- for a series that will have some odd things happening. Imagine AE pulling up on the last lap, when in contention for a podium
I can only hope, these daft rules need not be invoked.
Thems are the rules, live with it. . Seconds later..oh please don't leave. Ok we change it so MM win title by July, don't worry.
Basic rule is to say nothing & the other side will bend.

To make a rule change this late is absolute and utter farce.

In the unlikely event that Ducati did well (and let's not forget that their riders have a total of only one race win between them) then that should have served the factories right for requesting such draconian "engineering challenges". The rules were laid out for all to read.

And besides all that, I'm wondering if this stupidity is driven by Honda or by Repsol/Movistar/RedBull/Monster. I think the major sponsors probably have a lot more clout with Carmello than even Honda does.
Repsol and Movistar have assumed that the wins will be shared between them, the thought of different sponsor decals on the podium might have rattled them.
Money talks and Carmello listens - and it's the sponsors with all the money.

This is a farce. The 2014 rules were constructed and agreed to by all the parties involved, and plans were then developed by all the teams based on that structure.

Why was Honda surprised that someone put a factory bike on the grid with the Magneti Marelli software? That was in the rules after all. Indeed, that was the intent of the rules.

Why is it that teams which took the lead offered by the new framework are now to be suddenly and summarily penalised for doing precisely what was asked of them?

In my opinion (and I CAN see why Dorna would feel pressure not to push Honda out of the series) this is a complete joke. We create a class to be the future of MotoGP, encourage everyone to enter it, provide incentives in the form of fewer restrictions, and then because it seems to be working, we hobble it?! WTF?

And another quiet thought: does anyone know what the rules will actually be this year? Probably not. If they can be changed and moved around this close to the start of racing - almost at the end of pre-season testing - what's to stop changes again later should an important participant get all sooky. So how confident are we supposed to be that its all settled? I'm not. This is BS.

On first read it seems it didn't take long for HRC to get Carmelo to "adjust" the rules after they were already adjusted prior to the testing portion of the season. Hmm....
Not that Honda appears to be at a disadvantage as Ducati hasn't one anything yet and Yamaha hasn't still has to figured out how to live on six engines and now a new limit on fuel. When Marquez returns I don't think it will take him two to three days of practice to be on the front row, if not on pole for the first race

David - when did the idea of Factory 2 start being talked about? We knew about the Open "class" almost at the start of last season (maybe a little later), but from your article and comments by others, this seemed to have arisen out of the blue. Now I know that isn't the case; Dorna must have been thinking about this when the Ducati Open rumors started, but precisely when? I don't remember any of your articles or tweets over the last 2 months talking about this. I am not so interested in the rule as to when and by whom was the genesis of the idea.

As to the rule itself, the 3 classes does not bother me so much as to when the rule could happen. If Ducati was really sneaky, they could "jig" their finishing positions so as to lock them into Factory 2 when their design is a Honda/Yamaha monster beater. I doubt that would happen but the computer logic of stepping up to Factory 2 (IF, THEN, AND, OR, NOR gates) doesn't sit well with me.

On a completely different topic -

I am no Puritan, but can we please stop cussing and using foul language? We all have intelligent comments to make; using vulgarity adds nothing.

I know we live in a world of constant change, but really, Dorna's latest effort smacks somewhat of English Prime Minister David Cameron - making up the rules as they go along.

I doubt any of the major spenders will be happy about this. How can you have rules certainty when, as pre-season testing comes to an end, another layer of regulation is introduced?

I can imagine in board rooms in Japan and Germany, there will be some serious debate whether this MotoGP circus is worth investing in.

using profanity to reinforce what we are saying on this subject may be the way we are showing how frustrated we are with the current state of our beloved sport and how much the powers that be care what the fans think. some people may find this unnecessary. some people may decide to spend their hard earned money elsewhere. time will tell.

Why is everyone bitching on Honda? They are not the ones making stupid rule sets.

It's ridiculous to change rules just before the season. They keep doing this.

I would love to see Honda pull out of that farce and start up a decent series with one set of rules for all and those who can't win or can't afford to win then let them earn their proper place behind those who can.

Screw Dorna and this welfare state racing.

decided to change their own rules, shortly after Honda publicly complained about the performance of Espargaro and then Ducati switching over to open.

Dorna did it for no particular reason, just because it felt like it. It has never jumped through various hoops because of honda before. Honda had no influence on the moto2 formula, or the 800cc formula, or the switch back to 1000. nor the various fuel limits.

Its just Dorna dancing around with rules.

Could scarcely believe this when I read it. This is no longer a sport, but a plaything of HRC and Dorna.

I am pretty glad that each morning, I'm throwing my leg over a bike that isn't a Honda. As a racing fan - I'd feel pretty embarrassed doing that right now.

The Pointy Haired one strikes again!

Pay-per-view TV.
Wrestlemania Rules.
When will the incompetence end?

Gotta say my enthusiasm for the 'sport' has taken a real beating lately. Unless Fox/Speed coverage is vastly better than expected (LOL!), I can't see watching more than a handful of races. Hell, with the new rules making a complete farce of the racing, I wonder if I'll even bother to grab a torrent.


So does the new rules apply to the team, individual rider or to the make?

Does Pramac team get penalized if the factory team wins ?

Wow, you would think that Honda hasn't won a championship in, oh wait they are the DEFENDING CHAMPIONS god forbid the defense should actually take place ON the track ! No wonder sport bike sales are stagnant no one can figure out the rules to see who has the best bike. Sad times indeed !

So based on 2 tests the Duc is competitive now ?They haven't won a race in years let them develop the bike !

There we go again. Creating classes within classes, confusing everyone to the point that one day motorcycle racing will become a nuisance for the viewer. You see that bike that is going first, that will win the race right? No, no, that is running on 30 litres of fuel while the bike that is running eighth is running on 15 litres of fuel so if you equalize the times on the basis of the fuel, and the ECU, bike no.1 is using an ECU that is supposed to be created by MM but has Ducati software but bike no.5 (in fifth position) is MM hardware but its own software to its time will also be equalized and those machines which are using Ohlins suspension instead of Showa or KYB will have some seconds deducted from their lap times and so what we get to see in the end is random motorcycles running in various different places, none of which represent their true position. Track position will lose significance and winners will be announced a few minutes after the race after various calculations are done and then the audience will say does not matter, let us eff it all and do something more entertaining.

Since Carmelo Ezpelata has unequivocally declared that he sitting in WSBK as well, the time has come for real motorcycle racing enthusiasts to say bye to both the series and start their own. Have classes based in cubic capacity, buy your bike of choice from any legitimate showroom, make all the mods that you can afford and just go racing. That is how it started and that was when racing appeared like racing. These stupid rules, categories within categories are all screwing up the racing experience. Oh, Nicky Hayden is a very talented rider but he is in 10th place because his machine will not allow him to be further up. And Andrea Dovizioso is actually not all that good but he is competing for the podium because his machine enables him to do so.

I do not know if the responsibility for all this can be placed at any one door. This is collective madness leading to more and more competition in rule writing (read that as competitive politics) and less and less competition on the track. Is Rossi really great or is Marquez a genius? I don't now man, since it all upto the bikes. Just put an end to all this and please put us out of this suffering dear Dorna, MSMA and whoever else is responsible for this mess.

I suspect that it wasn't just Honda objecting, but Yamaha, Suzuki and anyone else who wasn't running a Ducati. Seriously, did anyone expect the Japanese companies to just sit by as Dorna conspired with Magneti Marelli and Ducati to sneak Ducati's Factory code into the "spec" box and then allow Ducati to have additional testing, more engines, more fuel and constant software upgrades as Ducati dictated? Why would anyone run a non-Ducati in MotoGP under these rules?

I doubt Dorna had another choice other than to institute the age-old concept of "success penalties" and create the bastard offspring of a series of unholy, ill-sighted, ill-planned decisions that it named Factory 2. I'm pretty sure Carmelo had received exactly one phone call from the MSMA, wishing him luck in trying to run the 2014 and 2015 seasons with no Hondas, no Yamahas, no Suzukis, no Aprilias, no engines for his Moto2 series and no Hondas on a Moto3 grid.

All these speculations of yours are based on . . . what exactly? Insider knowledge? Please.
On the other hand, what we do know is that the Japanese factories had plenty of time to study the new rules, and plan accordingly. Apparently, one of them was so puffed up with complacency about its engineering expertise that it overlooked the potential for the spec ECU. It arrogantly continued to refine its factory machines - expecting to monopolize the podium - while cynically producing a worthless over-priced, under-powered machine which they sold to privateer teams under false pretenses as a real contender.
Yesterday's late rule change is like demanding to take back a move in a World Championship chess match. Honda and DORNA look pathetic, MotoGP like an amateurish farce, and Carmelo like someone who folded his hand while holding a royal flush.

"Dorna conspired with Magneti Marelli and Ducati to sneak Ducati's Factory code into the "spec" "

Except, as clearly stated in the article, Honda/Yam had the opportunity to help develop the spec software and refused.

I'm just a guy who occasionally gets to talk to racers, from the tire changers to the department directors, about why they go racing. I don't sit in on their phone conversations. But after a few years of actually talking to the guys who do this, I've got a reasonably good idea of what motivates them.

Manufacturers go racing to prove that their machines are the best. End of story. See Soichiro Honda's letter to his employees. Take that away and you lose any interest from a factory. Once again, and let us be very clear: The Japanese factories have no interest whatsoever in Open-class machinery as the premier racing machines. They'd rather sit on the sidelines.

Why would any factory write code and give it to another factory? What's next? Let Kawasaki come on into the Yamaha factory and take a few chassis measurements? Or give Suzuki one of Honda's seamless gearboxes and let them reverse-engineer it? Of course Honda and Yamaha refused to give away their code. Does Microsoft give away its products for the amusement of simpletons?

Look, it's simple: Dorna paid MM and gave it free reign to write the software for the new box (so much for the utter bullshit peddled by Dorna and parroted by so many on the internet about how the Open class would have less sophisticated electronics). Dorna - which allegedly is so interested in controlling its software - didn't know or didn't care that Ducati's factory software would be the basis for its new "lower-spec" Open software. Most likely it knew, but didn't care, because they couldn't see that Open regulations + factory code = advantage. Sure, any Open team can use Ducati software. Go ahead and start slapping Aprilia parts on your Kawasaki and see how well it works.

Had Dorna stuck to the original idea - which was generic MM software that wasn't written to favor one team or another - Ducati wouldn't be running so well. David linked to a article in which a MM spokesman just goes on and on about how responsive the company is to Ducati's requests.

But it didn't. So what you have is Dorna paying MM to write Factory-level software for Ducati, while giving Ducati more fuel, more engines, more development, more testing and a special tire. As I mentioned, this would be more than a bit off-putting to anyone not running a Ducati.

It's funny. A few weeks ago, Kosman posted that his fear was that Dorna would keep introducing mid-season software revisions, hoping that somehow they would handicap the front-runners while helping the backmarkers. I don't think that even Kos feared that Dorna would just let a factory team run in the Open class with factory electronics.

I honestly cannot see why Honda and Yamaha will be racing in GPs come 2016.

Read this. Really.

I can't blame Honda for using every means at their disposal, whether on track or off of it, to try to gain an advantage.

But that's why you have a governing body. Dorna ceded too much power to the MSMA years ago and has been trying to wrest it back. Carmelo finally had the upper hand and now appears to have conceded some of Dorna's leverage. Time will tell whether or not it was worth the compromise.

It's been pretty well documented that Honda is the 800 lb. gorilla of the MSMA, and it's also not unreasonable to conclude that it's been influencing the rules to its own advantage for a long time.

So ask yourself, is it right that Honda is a competitor and also gets inordinate influence on the rules? Is it really good for a sport that is starving for sponsorship that Honda seems to be desperately trying to preserve the status quo so they can outspend everyone else?

Do you really want to see the Honda/Yamaha stranglehold continue? Four bikes with a realistic chance to place with the rest as grid filler? Never a surprise, never a chance for a rider like Aleix or a smaller team to win a damn thing?

Has the racing been consistently good for the last several years? Based on the reaction around the Web, the vast majority of fans are bored and frustrated with the current state of affairs.

I'm not so sure Mr. Honda would have approved.

From what I understand, Mr. Honda was an independent spirit and treasured the will of the individual. He didn't appreciate traditional Japanese conformity and business practices. I question whether he'd approve of a cabal led by his company.

In his heyday, Honda was the outsider. I doubt he'd disapprove of Ducati's strategy. He'd just get to work.

Someone better start worrying about what amuses the fans or MotoGP will continue to suffer and teams will go elsewhere. You're not going to convince the majority of fans that they should accept what amounts to a glorified test session.

I suspect that's not what Mr. Honda would have wanted, either.

The series organizer is paying an outside company to fix Ducati's problems. The series organizer has given Ducati huge perks. The series organizer says that if Honda (or Yamaha) want to access those same perks, they have to give GP-winning technology to their rivals. If that's not a fixed game, I don't know what is.

Amusement? Youtube is filled with videos of cats riding Roombas. If GP racing isn't exciting enough, maybe it should die. I'd rather see it go away than see the results-fixing and NASCAR-ization that Dorna seems hell-bent on pursuing in the quest for a better TV show.

"Does Microsoft give away its products for the amusement of simpletons?"

... and Linux only made computing a lot more expensive, by your logic ....

Simpletons PAY for Microsoft products.

Ducati gave away nothing. They handed something that was of little use to anyone but themselves to MM, and in exchange got a huge package of advantages. Smart move. Never should have been allowed. Hey, maybe I'm a complete dummy when it comes to business, and companies turn profits by giving away information that they've developed at great expense to their competitors. Somehow, I doubt it.

... in my book that's a give-away.
Moreover, their factory software was designed for maps tunable on a turn-by-turn basis. Since Ducati chose to go Open, they lost that luxury. Even taking Ducati's software, MM will recode their algorithms for maps tunable on a lap-average basis. So, in the beginning, the championship software will be as alien to Ducati as it is for any other Open class team. Of course, Ducati already has in place the experienced software engineers able to soon (2-3 races) come to grips with the new situation and to quickly squeeze out the most of the championship software 2.0. But, on one hand, Honda and Yamaha would enjoy the same "unfair" advantage as soon as they jump ship to the Open class, and on the other hand it is not Ducati's fault that other Open class teams can't be bothered to hire at least 2 software engineers per rider. Take them from Eastern Europe for example and you would be amazed how good they are and how cheap they come - 2000-3000 euros per month per software engineer would more than do the trick.
The real advantage for Ducati in the move to the Open class is the freedom to continue experimenting with engines and frames throughout the season. But that advantage might be more than offset by the tire choices available to Open class teams - only softer compounds wile Ducati's bikes are known to have no problems with shredding even the hardest tire option by 3/4 of the race.
So, all in all, I would call Ducati's (Dal'Igna's) move just a fair gamble.
And the knee-jerk reaction of Charmelo (pun intended) only gives back to Honda&Co the control over the rulebook.

"I'm pretty sure Carmelo had received exactly one phone call from the MSMA, wishing him luck in trying to run the 2014 and 2015 seasons with no Hondas, no Yamahas, no Suzukis, no Aprilias, no engines for his Moto2 series and no Hondas on a Moto3 grid."

More information gleaned from your contacts in the Japanese boardrooms? Don't you think there might be some fairly heavy penalty clauses concerning late pull-outs?
In any case DORNA would have the perfect response - first of all: "Go F*#k yourself! See you in court." Then inform the factories that World SBK is now renamed MotoGP, and Superstock is WorldSBK.
It would be amusing to see Honda try to win the premier class with Rea on that old Fireblade.

when you introduce them at the drop of a hat AND this close to the season start I can't help but wonder if some teams start to think "is it all worth it?".

WSB had restrictor limits, weight limits and a strict formula to calculate when these would be imposed (mid season if need be) but this was done well before the season.

Honda might have been the main instigator here but let's remember they previously ended up with an extra 3kg way way way too late in the off season to enable them to counteract the chatter incurred with the latest incarnation of tyres.


You insist ALL teams will be under the same rules by 2017 and then penalise the first one to say "OK, let's give it a go".

Frankly if Suzuki and Kawasaki never ever enter MOTOGP with the current "leadership" at the top I would not blame them.

This has really sucked a lot of interest out of the series this year, just when there was a glimmer of hope of something other than Marquez/Lorenzo cakewalks. I was totally hoping that Ducati could make the two other manufacturers look like right twats with their 20lt/5 engine "engineering challenges".

I'm still gobsmacked that they can make such a major change to the rules so close to the start of the season. Surely manufacturers investing millions to develop a bike for a certain rule set have some protection over the rules being changed on the fly like this?

It sends a very bad message to any other potential manufacturers/teams that there is no point trying to be clever and use the rules to your best advantage. The finishing order is currently pre-ordained and any threat to that order (perceived or real) will result in a rule change to maintain the status quo.

What a shambles. They seem to be basing their entire business model on the 2013 Phillip Island GP.

Let's flip this around. How about if a team in the Factory class is _too_ successful - ie on the podium frequently - they get demoted to the same standardised Magnetti Marelli software as Open? If the purpose is truly to get everyone racing in Open, isn't that how you'd be thinking?

Sorry what? Honda said what? Oh I see ...

Seriously I don't think the Factory 2 solution is a terrible one but the Open class should have been set up that way from the start, ie if you are in Open but able to run with the Factory bikes then you lose some of the fuel and engine perks.

I think Ezpeleta's comments so far have been a bit misleading, misunderstood or simply not detailed enough thus far because he only mentioned Factory 2 applying to Ducati (which he would, because Ducati are who everyone's up in arms about). I think we'll find that the Factory 2 rule will be applied to _all_ the Open bikes - so for example if Paul Bird Motorsport by some unholy miracle starts running up front, they'll face fuel and engine cutbacks too.

Yamaha can hardly complain about this, since FTR are basically running backdoor factory Yamahas in Open with extra fuel and more engines. Honda – well, they've been caught flat-footed with their crummy production racer but could easily remedy that by fitting out the proddie racers with some better tech (pneumo valves, seamless gearboxes etc) since they're not subject to the engine freeze.

So, if Ducati are competitive and get onto the podium they will be punished. Imagine the amount of advertising Ducati would get if they managed a 2nd, a 3rd and then, if about to be on the podium again in any future races, just pulled up before the line to let as many bikes as necessary past to avoid getting on the podium and Ducati being penalised. Remember the World-wide fuss in 2010 when Massa let Alonso through in FI (Ferrari got fined $100k) and in 2002 when Barrichello moved over to let Schumacher through in Austria? We would be talking about nothing else.

As a lot of comments have pointed out... this hasn't been thought through very well.

I wonder what Ducati's lawyers will think of this.....

I think I'm missing something. If thus still has yet to be put to the msma vote, could Ducati vote against it thus scuppering the change?

I've read so many comments since the article, perhaps I am missing something?

The decision - if confirmed - to change the rules two weeks before the start of the season speaks for itself.

Should we expect a space in parc ferme next to the podium finishers for the top Factory 2 bike as well as the top Open bike? ("prizes for everyone!")

One thing for sure is that MotoGP is getting a shit ton of press... that is usually a good thing for a series/championship platform/program etc... Come on Losail!!! :)

I thought we were already using stupid, selective rules but this gets the ball out of the park.

Next thing we know, the rules will say that the title belongs to Honda by default and that everyone has to take it away from them, but if a team happens to sniff around the rear tire of MM or DP bikes, they must lose a spark plug and run in 3 cylinders,huh?

All of the comments on here must be echoing the feelings of motorcycle racing fans around the world! This is a clear message to the FIM and Dorna, give us, your paying public, a proper race series encapsulating machine development, rider skills and close racing with a simple easy to understand formula!

If there are manufacturers or teams who do not want this, there is no place for them on the grid.
There will be new entrants, just as professional, just as competitive to take their place.

Sort the MotoGP class into a straightforward formula.
Ditch the obsolete road bike, single engined class and bring in 500cc twins (half a 1000cc engine) from multiple suppliers with regs similar to Moto3.
Enforce the original concept of Moto3!

Things were pretty simple before Dorna got involved with 'revolutionising' World Championship racing. Perhaps there needs to be a serious think about returning to the days of RG500's TZ500's etc etc where the bikes are raced around the world in domestic championships.

The sportsbike market is dying on it's feet, I predict that within 5 years there will be no 600cc sportsbikes to make a class out of. There is very little development on a huge scale of 1000cc superbikes, so what is the future?

Racing worldwide is a jumbled mess of classes and sub classes, time for a revolution I think?

I guess Gigi don't give a hoot and rightly so. 9 engines and 22.5 litres is well within the capabillities of Ducati and the OPEN switch to blast past the Yam and HRC bikes at circuits where a half decent straight is available. The general concensus is that HRC are in a quandary ECU wise. The Forward Yamaha outfit are getting more and more comfortable with the Ducati/Magneti Marelli shadow software.
Dorna and Carmello's quick anouncement is a point of concern. The general idea was to unite all facets of 1000cc into one wholesome competitive base for teams,riders and manufacturers. This crass stupid announcement has seen Dorna shoot themselves in the foot. Maybe its a Spanish/Japanese issue. Scratch my back and I scratch yours. I've harped on about this previously.
It sucks. HRC/YAMAHA/BRIDGESTONE. Judging by Bautista's Nissin/Showa progress Brembo and Ohlin's need to get worried.
Damned if I do say it, damned if I don't say it : Stoner saw this comming and retired. Rossi is still of paramount importance for TV viewership, hence his presence within Yamaha Factory. Suppo is a great guy, but he has to tow the HRC corporate line. I think he will have a great cackle outside of media if Ducati/Dovi/Cal/Yonny/CrazyJoe upset the pre-ordained and annointed 2 manufacturer MotoGP heirarchy. I guess Preziosi may have a good old laugh in Tuscany. Can't wait for Mugello 2014.

600cc. What a croc. Get the whole bloody thing in line and cut costs whilst enticing new manufacturers, teams and encumberments. 250 singles, 500cc twins and 1000cc 4's. If the manufacturer's can't stand that heat - get out of the kitchen. Race for the road! Huh! If the technology is NOT comapatible with street bike availalability....Ban it. ie Pneumatic valve gear. Why set an RPM limit ?
This only suits Yamaha and Honda. It does not gel with development for the road and yes you are right. So called sport bikes (road that is),sales are dwindling to the point of extinction for all manufacturers. Can Dorna not see this.
With this stupid Carmello compromise in favour of HRC/Yamaha, I am seriously considering saving a buck and just picking up the results on the web at any site on any Sunday rather than watching it live. Paddock post race ? Huh ? 5 bikes and 5 riders. Trophies for Factory X 3. Trophies for Factory 2, Trophies for Open .
I really feel for the racer's and the blokes who grind out the hard yards, like the blokes who tested the Bridgestones non stop Sepang and PI.
For GP to go from strength to strength, a dead simple set of rules needs to be imposed and all 'loopholes' clearly blocked. I could do it in one single afternoon, draconian style, but most of you have to weigh up and balance non-essentials pertaining to the sport.
Last but not least. Thanks for the relentless input and MotoMatters.

Passion! We all care so much, that itself is nice to see. As it settles, please remain curious about what is unfolding.

Is it bad news that the championship software that is on the advanced side of the spectrum?

Is a clause protecting Ducati from running away with the championship in a transitional year due to transitional rules bad news? If they had done so what sort of farce would that be? What might happen with our beloved sport if they did, particularly with manufacturer involvement, relationships, political stability?

Are "9 engines and 22.5 liters" draconian? Is this overly confusing for everyone really?

Where has MotoGP been and where are we going? How do we get there? Is it changing rapidly? Is rapid change in rules right at this very moment in time inherently bad?

How much change is there really going on with the addition of Factory 2 rules? What will their actual effect be? For whom? When?

DORNA has gotten ahold of the ship's steering wheel, Honda has let go of it and is staying on board. Many people are involved with the process of changing the direction of MotoGP, keep an eye out for them.

Who would be a good person to look to now for a balanced view? Not the ghost of Stoner. Not Suppo. Heck, Ezpeleta isn't even a great barometer. Keep an eye and ear out for people like Herve Poncheral. The guy is genuinely excited! Wait to hear from Fausto Gresini too. And LCR. And for sure Brivio.

Watch for a lovely season of surprises. Watch A.Espargaro, Cal, Dovi picking up slack and grinding forward. We were blessed with Marquez coming in. We were cursed with anemic rules dragging Lorenzo's bike out of the slipstream at the pointy end. Now we are blessed with a rapid change in MotoGP rules and power structure within the sport. More has just taken shape in this off season than has in the previous 10 years.

I am with Herve.

It seems to me Casey Stoner figured out what MOTOGP is and was going to be in the future. Good for him to get out when he did.

It's almost as if DMG has taken over MOTGP. Only the names are different imho.

So this is what the pinnacle of 2 wheeled racing has come to.
A farce run by megalomaniacs.
If I hadn't just paid the scumbags for their Video Pass, they could poke it where the sun....

If it continues like this, F1 will look interesting.

Question 1:
"Who pulls the strings in MotoGP?"
Choose answers from:
a) Horna;
b) Donda;
c) What's the difference?

Question 2:
"What should FIM say about the current situation?"
Choose answers from:
a) Nothing, they're impotent;
b) Nothing, they're omni-impotent;
c) Who's this guy, Fim, anyway?

You know who may hold the key to the outcome of this whole affair? Yamaha.

If Honda's the alpha dog of MotoGP, Yamaha is next in line. With Suzuki making ready to return and Aprilia looking to increase their profile in MotoGP the series could survive without Honda. But not without Honda and Yamaha – that would cause total collapse.

So the ball has moved – ever so quietly – into Yamaha's court. If they side with Honda they only get to be #2 dog in the MSMA pack, but it's a guaranteed spot... and they'd still have a fair shot at the championship. If they side with the "open" advocates they may face more competition for the championship, given the (more) level playing field. But if Honda decides to "take my ball and go home" Yamaha would become the alpha-dog amongst the manufacturers.

Who cares about the manufacturers? Not me, they are only there to sell bikes and dominate our sport under the pretence that they hold all of the cards!

Racing teams should be the controlling influence in the paddock, they are there for only one purpose, to race! Factories may support a team but should have NO say in how our sport is run.

Race teams will race no matter what, factories will desert and threaten the sport when times are tough.

The FIM need to step in and sort this mess which Dorna have created out without delay!

Nicky Hayden's bike has a 22.5L fuel tank. I just read this news story and they said 22.5L.

Give me a break HRC. I'm so tired of you and for Dorna caving into them.

This is a very big deal. What a joke, reminds me of Bernie and F1 it's so bad.

I'd make them all run open rules and if they don't like it, pack up and go home.

Tired of this shit. I'm no Ducati fan but geez, they didn't do anything wrong at all. If I was Gigi I'd talk to the Ducati bosses and pull out of the sport altogether. Go focus on WSBK and chunk the deuce at HRCGP.

If the Open designation really gives Ducati a huge advantage, let's assume they will win the first race and are demoted to Factory 2 status. And if they win the second race as a Factory2 team? Can we expect another rule change to penalize their success?

If we are going to penalize teams that violate the 'spirit of the rules', how about a penalty for teams winning with a dual clutch--oops, I mean a seamless gearbox? The first time they win they have to go to a 5 speed, the next time a 4 speed, etc. That should present Honda with an adequate engineering challenge!

So, the new 'Intermediate' category will not be made after Honda's "crying". I guess it was easier to blame Honda. It fits and it seems it is becoming a trend now.

David Emmet wrote:

"Dorna Events Director Javier Alonso explained the decision on the website as being a concession to the Open class teams. They had complained that they could not compete against Ducati, and did not have the resources to handle the much more sophisticated software update provided by Magneti Marelli. Fausto Gresini told that it was clear that Ducati's switch meant that the series had lost sight of the idea of the Open regulations, to cut costs. Lucio Cecchinello had also complained to that the switch by Ducati and the Open regulations were unfair on him and his rider, Stefan Bradl. This is clearly a soap opera that is set to run and run."

Javier Alonso:

“The proposal which has been made relates to Open entry manufacturers achieving podium results, specifically three third positions, two second places or one victory, in dry race conditions. They would then have certain limitations applied relating to the Open class (22.5 litres of fuel reduced from 24) and less engines available (the total reduced from 12 to 9),” states Alonso, Dorna Managing Director and Race Direction member.

He added, “We looked at the Sepang test results, especially the second test, and it’s clear that of the two software versions used, the second developed by Magneti Marelli offers great performance. The fact is that the only manufacturer ready to use that software is Ducati. That gives them some advantage when combined with the Open rules, so we have therefore made this plan to the GP Commission, to find a balance which does not give one manufacturer too much of an advantage.”