Engine Usage At The Halfway Mark: Yamaha Struggling, Honda Dominating, Ducati Managing

With the 2013 MotoGP season at its halfway mark, now is a good time to take a look back and examine the engine usage for the teams and riders. In 2012, with the engine durability regulations in their third full season, the factories appeared to have the situation pretty much under control. The only excitement arose when something unexpected happened, such as Jorge Lorenzo have an engine lunch itself after he was taken out by Alvaro Bautista at Assen last year. 

For 2013, the engine allocation was reduced from 6 to 5 per season. Each rider now has 5 engines to last the entire season, for use in all timed practice sessions during each race weekend. With three seasons already under their belt, no real drama was expected, yet that is not quite how it has turned out. While Honda and Ducati are right on course to last the season, Yamaha find themselves unexpectedly struggling. An unidentified design flaw has seen Yamaha losing engines too rapidly for comfort. Both factory Yamaha men have had an engine withdrawn, while there are question marks over the life left in one engine each allocated to Valentino Rossi and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders.

The trouble started for Yamaha with Jorge Lorenzo's #1 engine. That showed a problem at Jerez, clearly down on power to the other engine in use. The engine was withdrawn from Lorenzo's allocation and sent back to Japan for examination and testing, though Yamaha kept the fact that the engine had been withdrawn from both the media and from Lorenzo himself. Once an engine is active - in practical terms, once it has been sealed and leaves the pit lane for the first time - it cannot be run anywhere except for at races. The engines have either inlet or exhaust ports sealed by the Technical Director's staff at the end of each MotoGP event to prevent this from happening, and so by testing the engine, Yamaha had to breach the seals and withdraw it from Lorenzo's allocation. Lorenzo was not told until two races later, Yamaha not wishing to distract the reigning world champion from the defence of his title. Yamaha have a history of misleading Lorenzo, offering soothing words to give the Spaniard time to calm down and come to terms with an unpleasant reality. A previous example came last year, when Lorenzo lost an engine at Assen, and Yamaha allowed him to believe that Race Direction would give him an extra engine, in clear contradiction of the rules. By the next race, at the Sachsenring, Lorenzo had accepted his lot, and understood that he would not after all be given an additional engine.

Though his #1 engine has been withdrawn, Lorenzo's engine allocation is now more or less back on track. His #2 engine is now nearing the end of its life, while engines #3 and #4 still have plenty of sessions left on them. There may be some juggling required, but Lorenzo should make it to the end of the season without being forced to take an extra engine and suffer a penalty. If, that is, he suffers no mishaps like the one at Assen last year.

Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, appears to be in a little more trouble. Rossi had his number two engine withdrawn after Mugello, though that engine already had 28 sessions on it, and was coming to the end of its useful life. His #1 engine is more of a cause for concern. That hasn't seen action since Mugello either, and though it is still officially available, Rossi has shown no sign of using it. Having been used in just 18 session, it is too early for that engine to be withdrawn altogether, and Rossi has been racking up the miles on his #3 and #4 engines, with 27 and 23 sessions on them respectively. At the halfway point in the season, things are looking worryingly tight for Rossi.

Then, of course, there is the question of Yamaha's seamless gearbox. The gearbox is to be tested at Brno this week, and if both Rossi and Lorenzo approve, the factory Yamaha men will use the new gearbox some time before the end of the season. The big question is, will the seamless gearbox require a new engine to be taken, or can it be retrofitted to the existing M1 engine. Depending on the technology used, a seamless gearbox is physically larger than a conventional one, with the mechanism allowing two gears to be selected at the same time taking up more space than the traditional arrangement. Will that extra functionality demand new cases, and therefore a new engine, or can the new gearshift be shoehorned into the existing cases? The third possibility is that Yamaha has been using the gearbox housing for the new seamless transmission since the beginning of the year, but have adapated their conventional transmission to use the new cases. We shall see soon enough; once Yamaha starts using the seamless gearbox, we should be able to to tell if all of the Yamahas use it, or just a single bike for each of the four men on a YZR M1.

While the problems appear to be larger in the factory team, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith also need to tread carefully. Crutchlow appears to be in the best shape of the Yamaha riders, with one engine with 30 sessions currently shelved, but three more in use. Bradley Smith, however, has also had one engine with few sessions set aside, his #2 engine not having been on track since Mugello, and having racked up just 16 sessions, rather than the 35+ which are necessary to make it to the end of the season.

The contrast between the predicament of Yamaha and the comfort of Honda could hardly be greater. Of the four Honda riders, only Alvaro Bautista has had an engine withdrawn, his #2 motor having had its seals broken after Assen, with a healthy 38 sessions on it. All four Honda men still have two engines which have not yet been used, with just three engines each in play. And for all four Honda men, the #3 engines have barely seen much action at all, engines #1 and #2 having racked up serious mileages. Only Honda has managed to extract more than 40 sessions out of their engines, with Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez having one engine each with over 40 sessions, and Stefan Bradl having two such power units. It can hardly come as a surprise that HRC should be managing their engines so proficiently: the engineering genius of Honda saw them get it right first time, with Dani Pedrosa using just five engines in the first season of engine limits, in a period when six were allowed. Only sabotage or alien invasion will prevent Honda from making it to the end of the year with miles to spare on their engines.

Much the same could be said of Ducati. Though all four Ducati riders have had engines withdrawn, the situation is still well in hand. Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone all have low mileage on their #3 engines, helped in the case of both Spies and Iannone by missing events through injury. Andrea Dovizioso's #3 engine is a little more used, but with 18 sessions on it, there is still plenty of life left in them. The Ducati engines appear to be able to reach 35+ sessions with relative ease, where Yamaha struggle to make 30 sessions with each engine.

Ducati's engine situation means that all four men still have two engines each left. Ducati are known to be working on a larger upgrade to the Desmosedici, and though the frame has been the main focus of design, there is some speculation that the engine may be modified at some stage this year to make it more compact, though the 90° angle between the cylinder banks will remain. If Ducati do debut a modified engine, all four Ducati men could test it at Misano, before using them for the final five races of the season.

Looking at the CRT bikes, it is clear that they, too, are improving in their engine usage. A lot more CRT engines have been withdrawn, but only the situation of Hector Barbera is actively worrying, the Avintia Blusens rider having already had half his engines withdrawn from allocation.

What is also clear from the CRT engine allocation lists is that the Aprilia in its current state is incapable of making an entire season with just 5 engines. The current rules would allow Aprilia 9 engines, were they to return to MotoGP as an MSMA entry, and that seems a more achievable goal. Both Karel Abraham and Yonny Hernandez appear to be on target to make the season with 9 engines, though they may still use 12 this year. The Aspar pairing of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet, both with heavy support from Aprilia, are having a little more trouble. De Puniet is looking the more comfortable of the two, having used just 6 of his engines to Espargaro's 7, though De Puniet has had one more engine withdrawn. The question is, of course, whether Aprilia really are trying to make it to the end of the year inside of the limit which they will face next year, if they decide to race as an MSMA entry. That, too, will be clear soon enough.

Below is the full list of engine usage for each rider, with the sessions and races used on each engine. At the bottom follows a legend, explaining the various statuses and what is meant by a 'session'.

Honda

  26 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 38 4 Shelved
Engine #2 46 3 Active
Engine #3 5 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  93 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
  Sessions* Races* Status
Engine #1 39 3 Shelved
Engine #2 42 4 Active
Engine #3 8 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

* The engine usage chart for Marc Marquez was not complete, missing both warm up and the race from Laguna Seca

  6 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 40 4 Active
Engine #2 49 4 Active
Engine #3 11 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  19 Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 39 4 Active
Engine #2 38 4 WFA
Engine #3 12 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

Yamaha

  46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 18 0 Shelved
Engine #2 28 3 WFA
Engine #3 27 3 Active
Engine #4 23 3 Active
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 17 2 WFA
Engine #2 32 1 Active
Engine #3 19 3 Active
Engine #4 10 2 Active
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  35 Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 30 3 Shelved
Engine #2 22 1 Active
Engine #3 21 3 Active
Engine #4 15 2 Active
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  38 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 31 3 Active
Engine #2 16 0 Shelved
Engine #3 19 4 Active
Engine #4 7 2 Active
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

Ducati

  4 Andrea Dovizioso Factory Ducati
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 27 4 Active
Engine #2 34 2 WFA
Engine #3 18 3 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  69 Nicky Hayden Factory Ducati
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 30 6 Active
Engine #2 35 2 WFA
Engine #3 11 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  11 Ben Spies Pramac Ducati
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 32 2 Active
Engine #2 28 3 WFA
Engine #3 13 2 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

 

  29 Andrea Iannone Pramac Ducati
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 30 5 WFA
Engine #2 38 1 Active
Engine #3 4 1 Active
Engine #4 0 0 Unused
Engine #5 0 0 Unused

CRT Bikes

  14 Randy de Puniet Aspar ART
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 11 1 WFA
Engine #2 18 3 WFA
Engine #3 18 1 Active
Engine #4 17 1 Active
Engine #5 1 0 WFA
Engine #6 5 3 Active
Engine #7 0 0 Unused
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  41 Aleix Espargaro Aspar ART
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 15 0 Active
Engine #2 9 1 WFA
Engine #3 17 1 WFA
Engine #4 7 2 Active
Engine #5 17 2 Active
Engine #6 4 2 Active
Engine #7 3 0 Active
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  17 Karel Abraham Cardion AB ART
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 15 2 WFA
Engine #2 9 0 WFA
Engine #3 18 1 WFA
Engine #4 19 2 Active
Engine #5 6 2 Active
Engine #6 0 0 Unused
Engine #7 0 0 Unused
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  68 Yonny Hernandez PBM ART
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 7 1 WFA
Engine #2 22 1 WFA
Engine #3 11 1 WFA
Engine #4 15 2 WFA
Engine #5 9 2 Active
Engine #6 10 2 Active
Engine #7 0 0 Unused
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  70 Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 9 0 WFA
Engine #2 25 1 Active
Engine #3 13 3 WFA
Engine #4 17 3 WFA
Engine #5 2 0 WFA
Engine #6 7 1 Active
Engine #7 2 1 Active
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  5 Colin Edwards NGM Forward FTR Kawasaki
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 16 2 WFA
Engine #2 7 1 WFA
Engine #3 19 1 WFA
Engine #4 26 5 Active
Engine #5 6 0 Active
Engine #6 3 0 Active
Engine #7 0 0 Unused
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  71 Claudio Corti NGM Forward FTR Kawasaki
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 14 2 WFA
Engine #2 17 1 WFA
Engine #3 4 1 WFA
Engine #4 13 2 Shelved
Engine #5 16 1 Active
Engine #6 2 0 WFA
Engine #7 11 2 Active
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  7 Hiroshi Aoyama Avintia Blusens FTR Kawasaki
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 9 1 WFA
Engine #2 11 2 WFA
Engine #3 13 0 WFA
Engine #4 14 2 WFA
Engine #5 4 1 Shelved
Engine #6 4 2 Active
Engine #7 10 1 Active
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  8 Hector Barbera Avintia Blusens FTR Kawasaki
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 21 3 WFA
Engine #2 4 0 WFA
Engine #3 1 0 WFA
Engine #4 7 0 WFA
Engine #5 9 1 WFA
Engine #6 5 1 WFA
Engine #7 13 2 Active
Engine #8 10 2 Active
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  67 Bryan Staring Gresini Honda FTR Honda
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 18 3 WFA
Engine #2 7 0 Active
Engine #3 28 4 Active
Engine #4 21 2 WFA
Engine #5 0 0 Shelved
Engine #6 0 0 Unused
Engine #7 0 0 Unused
Engine #8 0 0 Unused
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  9 Danilo Petrucci IODA Racing Suter BMW
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 12 1 WFA
Engine #2 14 1 WFA
Engine #3 6 1 WFA
Engine #4 10 1 WFA
Engine #5 14 1 WFA
Engine #6 12 2 Active
Engine #7 10 1 WFA
Engine #8 3 1 Active
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

  52 Lukas Pesek IODA Racing Suter BMW
  Sessions Races Status
Engine #1 15 2 WFA
Engine #2 2 0 WFA
Engine #3 4 0 WFA
Engine #4 14 1 WFA
Engine #5 12 2 WFA
Engine #6 18 3 Active
Engine #7 5 0 Active
Engine #8 2 1 Active
Engine #9 0 0 Unused
Engine #10 0 0 Unused
Engine #11 0 0 Unused
Engine #12 0 0 Unused

 

Legend

Sessions: The number of sessions an engine has been used for. Sessions include free practice, qualifying practice, warm up and races.

Races: The number of races an engine has been used in.

Active: The current engine is still in active use. It was used in the last two races, and is likely to be used again in the coming races.

Unused: The engine has not yet been used. To be specific, the engine has not yet been sealed and exited pit lane. There are no restrictions on the engine (other than using the same bore and stroke as the previous engines) before it is sealed and used.

WFA: Withdrawn from allocation - the engine seals have been broken, and the engine is deducted from the allocation. The physical engine may be reused, but new seals must then be applied, and it will be regarded as exactly the same as a new engine as far as the rules are concerned.

Shelved: This is the only "unofficial" status. We are calling "shelved" all engines which have at one point already been active, but have not been used for at least two races. Usually, these engines have been used extensively, and are being kept back as reserve items, in case the rider starts having trouble with his engine allowance.

With the 2013 MotoGP season at its halfway mark, now is a good time to take a look back and examine the engine usage for the teams and riders. In 2012, with the engine durability regulations in their third full season, the factories appeared to have the situation pretty much under control. The only excitement arose when something unexpected happened, such as Jorge Lorenzo have an engine lunch itself after he was taken out by Alvaro Bautista at Assen last year. For 2013, the engine allocation was reduced from 6 to 5 per season. Each rider now has 5 engines to last the entire season, for use in all timed practice sessions during each race weekend. With three seasons already under their belt, no real drama was expected, yet that is not quite how it has turned out. While Honda and Ducati are right on course to last the season, Yamaha find themselves unexpectedly struggling. An unidentified design flaw has seen Yamaha losing engines too rapidly for comfort. Both factory Yamaha men have had an engine withdrawn, while there are question marks over the life left in one engine each allocated to Valentino Rossi and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders.

Comments

Thanks

Thanks David, interesting writeup. Amazing you can get this level of detail from the teams.

How much impact do you believe these figures will have on interest in the production racers? From my side of the fence I'd be thinking the Honda package would have one less worry - you'd be confident five engines would last the season, whereas the five Yamaha engines you get with the prod racer package may not be enough.

Total votes: 95

Production racers

The production racers (as non-MSMA entries) get 12 engines, though Yamaha have said they will only provide engine maintenance for 5 engines in the lease price, all extra engines will cost more.

And I can take little credit for gathering the data, that is the job of IRTA, who share the data with Dorna, who make it available to journalists. I just process and research the background of the data.

Total votes: 91

WSB?

It would be interesting to know how many engines and how many rebuilds the well-funded teams (like BMW and Aprilia) have in a WSB season. Dorna likes to confuse this issue by saying that Aprilia use some ridiculous number of engines when reality is there might be 6 engines for Laverty, each of which get stripped and refreshed 3 times. With the one bike rules now in force, I also wonder how often the teams deliberately swap engines during a weekend without being forced to due to crashes or failures.

All of that bears on strategies for next year for the current CRT teams that use what is mostly a WSB engine. One thing I really want to see next year is at least one non-factory team really push the limits but with the spec ECU and software. Good bike, good rider, 24 Litres and 12 engines. The problem is the current Aprilia engine is not quite good enough and Honda, Yamaha and probably Ducati won't want a non-factory team being too good.

Total votes: 88

6 engines stripped and

6 engines stripped and rebuilt 3 times = 18 engines. New engine =/= all new heads and cases, it will often mean stripped, measured, any out of spec parts replaced and rebuilt in the original cases.

Total votes: 83

As I with great interest

As I with great interest study the numbers presented here, I realise what a geek I am. And I used to make fun of those interested in horse racing keeping track of what jockey had the flu at the moment...

Great article as usual! I'll revel in my geekiness with pride.

Total votes: 99

Yes

it is interesting, but is it racing?
I am half-expecting an announcement that the championship for manufacturers will be decided by,or extra points awarded to, who uses the least engines and fuel during a season.

The chance of an end-of-season rush, or steady good work, by someone being halted in its tracks by the engine rule would make me wince.

Perhaps we could get more chain/sprocket/lubrication manufacturers sponsorship if we limited the allocations there too - I'm sure the advancement in technology for road bikes would be improved by better chain oilers and lubricants and I have been eagerly awaiting the 250k.km. sprocket for some time now.

David, I was wondering if you might set up a few polls of motomatter- quality where we could vote on some options for key issues such as this during the winter break. I'm sure that you could devise some interesting options/combinations to entertain us.

I am not thinking of the 'who will win the championship/is the GOAT' type - more ' what should the rules be' or 'should MotoGP be on 17" wheels'. I am not being serious about the chain oiler thing.....

Unless you hate polls, of course.....

Total votes: 110

Impressive Ducati figures

Just about on par with Honda. Same engine configuration,same power,same fuel efficiency. Clearly its a great mill. Yamaha are at the limit with their big bang transverse 4. They are even on the limit of fuel efficiency. Further down the field, Bryan Starring's CBR based figures are quite astonishing within the CRT class.

Total votes: 79

Ducati results may not be that impressive

Compared to the Hondas when you factor in lap times. When I switched from me riding my single cylinder development bike to having a faster rider engine life dropped drastically. When I viewed RPM histograms it became very clear why: the faster rider running lower lap times was using the engine higher in the RPM band for a greater percentage of time. I suspect that the longevity of the Ducati engines is partially due to a lack of pace letting the engines last a bit longer as they are not being used to the extreme limit that the Hondas and Yamahas are.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 91

Bit confused

Great, this is what I was waiting for, but...

How do you exactly define term session?

I am asking this because some riders (Bradl and Rossi for example), apparently, make more then 10 sessions per race weekend. Even if you count every free practice, qualifying practice, warm up and race as a one seesion (which I wouldn't because they all don't last for 45 minutes and they are not equally stressful for the engine) you would get a number of 8 sessions per weekend, right?

Also, I don't understand how Nicky has 76 sessions under his belt, while Bradl has 100. As far as I know, none of them have missed a single session... And this is just one of many examples.

Nevertheless, I did the math assuming that single Yamaha engine can last for 35 sessions and that each rider will make the same number of sessions as he did in previous 9 races and the results are as follows:

- Rossi will have to take one extra engine
- Lorenzo will barely make it

Total votes: 93

Sessions

By "session" I mean one practice session or a race. E.g. If engine #2 was used at Austin during FP2, then that would be one session added to the total number of sessions for that engine. However, often, riders will have two bikes ready, and will test on two bikes, each with a different engine in. When they do that, they as a rider have 2 sessions added to their total, but each engine only has one session added. Other riders prefer to stick with one bike, so they will accumulate sessions at a slower rate.

Confusing, I know, but the engine usage lists supplied by Dorna only show in which session each engine was used, not the total KM done on an engine. Sessions is the finest granularity available to journalists examining engine usage.

Total votes: 96

Aprilia engines

David, could it not be that Espargaro and other Aprilia riders have withdrawn more engines from their allocation just because they can? By withdrawing it from allocation you can rebuild and modify it. Also it looks very much like they are making progress on the engine power front, so when they have a faster engine, there is not much point in using an older engine anymore, even if it is perfectly healthy, since you have enough new ones in stock.
Just seems logical to me.

Total votes: 88

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

GTranslate