'Factory 2' Situation To Be Resolved On Monday

It has been ten days since Carmelo Ezpeleta announced to an unsuspecting world that a new category would be added to the MotoGP class to contain Ducati, the 'Factory 2' class. The change was to be ratified on Tuesday, 11th March, in a telephone meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, and Ezpeleta was confident that it would go through without too many problems.

Tuesday came and went, and no agreement had been reached. In fact, it has taken all week and much of this weekend for the situation to approach a resolution. Sources with knowledge of the situation have now confirmed that an agreement will be announced on Monday, allowing the rules to be set in place for the start of the season on Thursday, 20th March.

The precise details of the agreement are not clear, but the rules are unlikely to be very far off the proposal put forward by Dorna in response to complaints from the Open teams. The name looks set to change, the category no longer being called 'Factory 2', but merely as Open. According to the German language website Speedweek, the limits imposed by the Factory 2 status - reduction from 24 to 22.5 liters of fuel, and from 12 engines to 9 - will apply for each of the three Ducati riders separately, if they achieve a win, two 2nd places or three 3rds. The rest of the Open class rules - most importantly, not being subject to the Factory Option engine development freeze and free to test at any circuit they like - will remain in place.

The new system looks set to be applied only to the three factory-backed Ducati riders, Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone. All other Open teams will continue under the existing rules, as they use the less complex 2013 Magneti Marelli software, rather than the 2014 software which so far, only Ducati have expressed any interest in running. How the situation will change throughout the season is as yet unknown, with a meeting set to take place among the Open teams at the test after the Jerez round of MotoGP. A simpler solution would have been to simply force all of the teams - including Ducati - to run the simpler 2013 Magneti Marelli software, while development continued on the 2014 software. The 2013 software had not slowed Aleix Espargaro up on the Forward Yamaha, our source pointed out.

There appear to have been few concessions made to the MSMA under the deal. There were earlier rumors that Factory Option entries would be allowed switch to the Open class at any time during the season. However, given Honda's opposition to the spec championship software, the only team which this may have benefited is the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro. Speedweek suggest that the GPC has agreed to extend the deal to allow any team to retain Factory Option status and run their own software through 2017, an extra year after the original contract was due to terminate at the end of 2016. What is clear from all this, however, is that the days of factories developing their own software are numbered, and the spec software will be adopted soon enough. MotoGP is drawing ever closer to a single set of rules applying to all competitors equally, which has been the aim of Dorna, IRTA and the FIM all along.

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"MotoGP is drawing ever closer to a single set of rules applying to all competitors equally, which has been the aim of Dorna, IRTA and the FIM all along."

What a hollow victory it will be with only Ducati and maybe Suzuki still racing...

Hollow for who? Certainly not for the rider who had to beat the best riders in the world on similar equipment. All that hard work and talent for sure is not hollow.

Perhaps Yamaha and Honda could just publish their research findings in a few Academic journals. For sure we can read those when interested in the intricacies of embedded systems and sensor design and watch the GP weekend when we want to see the best racing in the world :)

The fact that Honda is making a major step back into F1 with engine backing to team McLaren in 2015 is a bit unsettling to the pragmatists.

But I hope you are right, the sport needs strong factories to truly thrive both on and off the track.

This right here has been in the back of my mind every time I read about Honda in MotoGP.

I've been following F1 really closely over the winter, and after watching everything that the veteran engine builders are going through I see no lack of demand for fast-paced engineering development. Getting it right with those new power units is an unfathomably difficult task, and it's going to take everything Honda has to get it right.

McLaren is running Mercedes engines this season, which are far and away the best option. If they switch to Honda next season and fall flat it will be devastatingly embarrassing for both parties. Honda will take no half measures here.

The current F1 formula of small, turbocharged engines with extremely advanced electronics and hybrid systems is aimed directly at relevance in the production automotive industry. The per-engineer return on investment of an F1 engine program is potentially monumental compared to that of a MotoGP racing program. Honda is going to need to allocate their resources accordingly.

I would pose that whenever Nakamoto has criticized the idea of spec software he means it with every intention of sustaining a successful HRC backed MotoGP team. With a spec software he cannot justify to the board to have 20 electronic engineers trackside. The value in motorcycle electronics is fuel efficiency, more or less at smaller scales but engine development has been maxed out for some time if we were looking at it on a development curve.

Would Honda still supply motorcycles to GP if they ceased to be HRC as we know them now?

Bold statement. Care to put some money on it?

Edit: So 2015 will be the final year of the MotoGP as we know it. And Ducati is going to enter as factory after all.

You could argue that 2006 was the last year of MotoGP as we know it. Or 2001. Or 1976. Or 1967. Or the point in the 1930s when superchargers - a technology making a comeback - were banned.

Yamaha have a five-year deal with Movistar. When Movistar signed that deal, they would have been aware that spec electronics were coming, so for Yamaha to pull out over spec electronics would likely be a very expensive breach of contract. If Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki are racing, can Honda afford to pull out?

Imagine having to try to explain this mess to the viewers in a way that is both clear and seems sensible. Ridiculous.

Have they at least done away with the extra bike in Parc Ferme, or are we adding to it this year too?

as if things weren't complicated enough for the layperson with CRTs.
I think the whole thing is ridiculous. They create the rules to entice teams to go Open for lower entry cost, THEN when a major manufacturer decides to play along they get penalized! For following the rules! Wasn't it the idea that all teams would eventually be Open? I guess its OK for some factories to exploit the rules but not others.
And this whole thing about the Open teams complaining and leading the charge? Doubt it! As if they have enough pull to get the Factory 2 rules put in place. C'mon man.

The extra bike has been dropped. The Open bikes will only appear in Parc Ferme if they get into the top 3 in qualifying or the race. Which may well happen...

"given Honda's opposition to the spec championship software". And because letting Bautista-Bradl run to Open rules would expose what a poor deal Hayden-Redding-Aoyama have got. And because Bautista-Bradl are almost within reach of the aliens already so 24L in the race might just be enough to get them fully on terms and take points from the Repsol riders and we can't have that.

Honda has complained and its lackeys have responded. True enough to have required one more year on the new program,but that is not Honda's beef...so that is not the solution they sought...instead,this convoluted mess is what we get...

Honda say one of the reasons they are in motogp is for software R&D purposes for road bikes. I would really like to know how honda implement their corner to corner race software to road bikes. Ok, electronics packages havie appeared on road bikes in recent years but surely the motogp software is far too sophisticated and irrelevant to be of any use to road sport bikes.

Considering the decline in sport bike sales and the increase in sales of less sophisticated 250's and scooters in developing nations (where motogp is huge) why would honda waste money in R&D for the former.
Personally I think they are just scared of loosing their advantage. Obviously part of their marketing strategy is to be perceived as the market leader and when you spend the most money in the current rules you can achieve that albeit by 4 points last year. Honda are scared that once dorna enforce championship software this could bring other teams closer to the front, bring in other manufactures and they will loose the advantage they have over their rivals. This in turn will have an effect on how the consumers especially in those developing nations perceives honda as a brand.
Right now honda and Yamaha dominate sales in those places which are some of the healthiest economies in
the world but if Suzuki and Kawasaki started concistantly challenging them in motogp for wins that would most probobly have an effect on these markets in the future.

The other reason of course is that they just don't want to loose. Pretty good reason.

If honda want to go that's ok. Lots of manafactures are going to come as soon as the costs go down and they got a chance of being competitive.

The season starts within a few days and the Rules are not yet finalised. This is a ridiculous situation for the teams. Dorna are a toothless organisation with neither direction nor common sense.
If Carmelo was a man of honour he would resign for getting the Sport into this mess.

Here's me, I thought the whole idea of the rule changes was to level the playing field, to the point where financial muscle didn't count. The whole silly 20 litre rule is to suit Honda, cause they can afford the R&D to run so little fuel and hence keep the others at a disadvantage. Point to Suzuki not entering in 2014, their bike can't run so little fuel.
Unless Dorna man up, we will continue to see Honda dominate MotoGP and set rules to keep others down,
Open was meant to change this, and by got A Esp has done just that.
I thot it was allowing less expensive bikes to go just as fast as the factory bikes. Honda obviously don't want that.
Second point of order, and as a brit and a ducatista in pains me to say it, but lets be honest Dovi and Carl aren't top riders. Dovi nearly always finished 3rd in a 3 man honda team. Carl almost always finished 2nd in a 2 man team to Dovi, so unless Ducati build a rocket ship, they aint beating the Aliens . So why the big Jap worry.

... we'll be getting a glimpse of things straight away in Qatar; a nice long front straight, soft tires and the Ducati's already noticeable improvement around corners may enrage the other factory teams from the get-go!

... Factory 2 is to be renamed Open, what is Open to be renamed?

hahaha why don't they just have 3 classifications:




... i hate that its come to this, but get out Honda! just leave! Call Carmelo's bluff and leave motoGP. Someone else mentioned it above, but they are the only ones who want he fuel limit and it is the VERY fuel limit (obviously among other things) that is making it so expensive and the other bikes less competitive.

"Whoa!!! You see how the fuel mapping limited Marquez' drive out of the last corner so he could make it to the end of the race?! This is what it's all about!" SAID NO ONE EVER!!!

When we're watching to see who's bike can run leaner what are we really watching? Is Marquez the best in the world or does his bike just consume less fuel? And why is this even a question?

Instead of Factory and Open lets just have Honda and Everybody else? Honda can pour as much money as they want into fuel mapping while the rest of the grid can focus on... racing?

... ok i'm a little worked up obviously, so if this sounds dumb, my apologies :)

Was it resolved?

It's still Monday here on the West Coast of the USA.

The GPC agreed on a solution on Monday, late afternoon. Press release being written by the FIM, but they tend to take their time. I expect to see the press release tomorrow.

I was not given all the details of the deal, but was told that it was more or less the proposal put forward by Dorna, with a few minor adjustments. Same fuel and engine penalties for success, though.

... Is just sh*t. The cbr hasn't been updated in a million years and the rumored v4 replacement has just been that, a rumor. Come on honda, just join the ranks and lets race under 1 rule. It wasn't much of a problem for you when you realized you can't beat the 2t's with your oval 4t's. Just get on with it and spank the whole field like you did before

Qatar is here, let us rejoice
Many in the chorus, all one voice
Look where we've been and where we're going
Rubber meets road and one thing that's showing
More than four bikes on which a race could be won
Makes MotoGP a bunch more fun
Fired up about Aleix Espargaro?
More fuel and less electronics is the way to go!

I hear there was a golfing tournament in the paddock after the last test. Ducati asked to play off the womens tees. They won but no one cared..

no one will care if Aleix gets a hole-in-one from the women's tee either?

Why do we need Factory 2 (or whatever it's now called) to be separate from the Open class? Why don't they just impose the Factory 2 rules to all the teams in the open class? Do the Open class teams really think they are going to have any of their riders get on the podium multiple times in the dry?