MotoGP Engine Usage Analysis Post Assen: Honda Leads, Yamaha Struggles, Ducati In Trouble

With seven races of the season gone, we can start to draw some conclusions from the engine allocation lists provided by the teams so far. Below is a factory-by-factory rundown of the engine situation, together with a table of the engine usage so far.  


Ducati

The story of Ducati's engines is a tale in two parts: the present, represented by the satellite machines; and the future, represented by the factory riders of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. 

The engine usage of the satellite teams shows that Ducati learned its lessons from last year and are producing pretty solid satellite engines. All of the satellite riders are just about right on schedule, with all of them having taken 3 engines each, and all 3 of those engines active. The only question mark hangs over Hector Barbera's #1 engine, which has 31 sessions on it and has not seen action since Silverstone. 

The factory Ducatis, on the other hand, tell a merry tale of development. The odds of at least one of the Marlboro riders being forced to start from pit lane are very high indeed, and that is due mainly to the pace at which changes to the engines are taking place. Both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden took a new engine at Barcelona, which incorporated a heavier crankshaft to soften the power delivery of the Ducati. That meant taking an extra engine slightly ahead of schedule, putting Rossi on 3 engines and Hayden on 4, after the American had lost an engine at Portugal. 

Those extra engines made reaching the end of the year feasible, if a little more demanding, but the next development iteration made it almost impossible. After successful tests of Ducati's 2012 MotoGP bike (capacity unknown, but likely to be significantly less than the 1000cc capacity, given that the 81mm maximum bore would add several centimeters to the length of the engine) at Jerez and Mugello, Ducati designer Filippo Preziosi destroked the 1000cc engine to comply with the 2011 MotoGP regulations, so that Rossi could use the new version of the bike. This meant that Rossi took 2 new engines at Assen, bringing him up to a total of 5 taken so far, with 11 rounds of the championship still left to race. With each engine required to last for roughly 6 events, getting to the end of the season looks very unlikely indeed, giving Rossi the option of either reverting to the previous (GP11.0) iteration of the bike, or taking an extra engine and starting from pit lane at some point in the season.  

The irony of the situation is that the Marlboro Ducati team's problems stem from the desire to use a new chassis, not a new engine. Ducati's problem is that the engine of the Desmosedici is a stressed member of the chassis, and forms part of the entire motorcycle. The suspension and swingarm of the GP11 attach to the rear of the engine rather than to a chassis, and this is what has been changed on the GP12. To use the new rear chassis subassembly (revised swingarm, suspension and suspension mounting point) Preziosi had to design new engine cases, and so when Rossi expressed a strong preference for the chassis of the GP12 (which solves the pumping issues which have plagued the Ducati for so many years), his only option was to provide a new engine to allow the chassis to be used.  

As a result, Rossi took 2 new engines at Assen to be able to use the new chassis, and Nicky Hayden will get the new bike at Laguna Seca, or possibly at the Sachsenring. Either way, their balance in the engine allocation bank is deeply into the red. With Valentino Rossi aboard the machine, they have no option, though. The factory needs to have results this year, and have a competitive bike for next year.  

Ducati  
Team Marlboro Ducati  
  Valentino Rossi  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 25 3 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-RAC
2 27 2 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-QP
3 4 1 Shelved CAT-QP GBR-WUP
4 5 1 Active NED-FP1 NED-RAC
5 3 0 Active NED-FP2 NED-WUP
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Nicky Hayden  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 13 0 Active QAT-FP3 NED-WUP
2 13 2 Withdrawn QAT-FP1 POR-FP1
3 23 3 Active POR-FP2 NED-RAC
4 4 2 Active CAT-QP GBR-RAC
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
Team Pramac Ducati  
  Randy de Puniet  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 24 1 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-FP2
2 27 7 Active QAT-WUP NED-RAC
3 5 0 Active GBR-FP3 NED-WUP
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Loris Capirossi  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 29 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-FP2
2 27 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-QP
3 5 2 Active CAT-QP GBR-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
Team Mapfre Aspar  
  Hector Barbera  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 31 3 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-QP
2 29 4 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
3 5 1 Active GBR-WUP NED-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
Team Cardion AB  
  Karel Abraham  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 30 3 Active QAT-FP1 NED-RAC
2 29 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-QP
3 5 3 Active CAT-WUP NED-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    

Honda

The engine situation at Honda is the mirror image of that at Ducati. Where the satellite Ducati riders are all right on schedule and the factory riders struggle with their allocation, at Honda, it is the exact opposite.  

HRC's top riders - Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa - are well ahead of their schedule, Stoner ending the Dutch MotoGP round at Assen on the same 2 motors here rolled at at Qatar at the start of the season. Pedrosa, too, has still only unsealed 2 engines, though he has even less miles on his engines due to missing three rounds of the championship, with only Hiroshi Aoyama putting a race weekend on Pedrosa's engines at Assen, where he subbed for the Spaniard. (The engines belong to the rider contracted by the team, not the rider put on the bike. So Aoyama was using Pedrosa's Repsol Honda engines at Assen, while his substitute, HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, was using Aoyama's engine allocation on his San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V. It is perhaps easiest to think of the engines as belonging to a particular pit box or garage, rather than a rider. The engines are allocated to a crew chief, not a rider.)  

Honda  
Team Repsol Honda  
  Andrea Dovizioso  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 26 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
2 27 4 Active QAT-FP1 NED-FP1
3 4 1 Active NED-FP2 NED-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Dani Pedrosa  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 22 4 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
2 18 1 Active QAT-FP1 NED-RAC
3 0 0 Unused    
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Casey Stoner  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 28 3 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
2 31 4 Active QAT-FP1 NED-RAC
3 0 0 Unused    
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
 
Team San Carlo Gresini  
  Hiroshi Aoyama  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 30 2 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-RAC
2 12 2 Withdrawn QAT-FP1 POR-RAC
3 20 3 Active FRA-FP1 NED-RAC
4 3 0 Active NED-FP1 NED-WUP
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Marco Simoncelli  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 28 2 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-RAC
2 33 5 Active QAT-FP1 NED-RAC
3 3 0 Active NED-FP1 NED-WUP
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
 
Team LCR Honda  
  Toni Elias  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 34 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
2 18 3 Withdrawn QAT-FP1 POR-RAC
3 7 0 Shelved FRA-FP1 CAT-FP2
4 13 2 Active CAT-FP3 NED-RAC
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    

 


Yamaha

Yamaha are in a similar situation to Ducati. The satellite Monster Tech 3 Yamaha pairing of Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards are bang on schedule, both riders having taken just 3 engines, Edwards taking #3 at Silverstone, Crutchlow a week earlier at Barcelona  

The factory riders are in a little more trouble, however. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is in the most trouble, having lost an engine in a very public and spectacular way at Le Mans, the engine blowing up after a crash in warm up. That forced Lorenzo to take an extra engine at Le Mans, the Spaniard then taking his 4th engine at Barcelona. The situation is not desperate, but with Lorenzo and Spies hoping for engine updates after Brno, Lorenzo will have to shuffle his existing stock of engines to make it until after the summer break.  

Spies is also on his 4th engine, taking an extra motor at Assen, but the Texan is in slightly better shape. Though engine #1 is just about at the limit, #2, which has been in play since Qatar, only has 17 sessions on it, so should still be good for a few more races. As for engines #3 and #4, they have not seen much track time, so Spies should make it through the year without incident.  

Yamaha  
Team Factory Yamaha  
  Jorge Lorenzo  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 16 1 Withdrawn QAT-FP1 FRA-WUP
2 29 3 Active QAT-FP1 NED-FP1
3 7 3 Active FRA-RAC NED-WUP
4 9 1 Active CAT-FP2 NED-RAC
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Ben Spies  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 24 2 Shelved QAT-FP1 GBR-FP2
2 17 5 Active QAT-WUP GBR-RAC
3 12 2 Active CAT-FP1 NED-RAC
4 2 0 Active NED-FP2 NED-WUP
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
Team Monster Tech 3 Yamaha  
  Colin Edwards  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 29 3 Active QAT-FP1 NED-QP
2 22 1 Active QAT-WUP NED-FP2
3 4 2 Active GBR-WUP NED-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    
 
  Cal Crutchlow  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 20 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-QP
2 30 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-WUP
3 4 2 Active CAT-WUP NED-RAC
4 0 0 Unused    
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    

 


Suzuki

It is hard to judge just how Suzuki are doing, especially as the factory has an extra three engines* to last the season with under the exception for manufacturers which have not won two races in the dry. Alvaro Bautista has 4 engines in play, with all 4 still seeing action. The interesting question for Suzuki is when they will go beyond the normal allocation of 6 engines, as this will be a clue as to the changes made to the engine. Last year's motor had a design problem which meant reliability was compromised just enough that the engines would not last the full season. There was reportedly one small part that Suzuki could not access to adjust without breaking the engine seals. If Bautista can make it to the end of the season without taking an extra engine, then that problem may have been addressed. There remain plenty of others, however.  

* It was pointed out to me after this was first published that this exception was ONLY for 2010, not for 2011. So Suzuki have only 6 engines for 2011, in which case Bautista may be in trouble. However, all of Bautista's engines are still in play, so he may still make it.

Suzuki  
Team Rizla Suzuki  
  Alvaro Bautista  
Engine Sessions Races Status First sess. Last sess.
1 21 1 Active QAT-FP1 NED-QP
2 21 2 Active QAT-FP1 NED-FP1
3 5 2 Active CAT-WUP NED-RAC
4 5 1 Active GBR-FP3 NED-WUP
5 0 0 Unused    
6 0 0 Unused    

Legend

Engine status:
Active - Currently in use, or used within the last two races
Unused - Engine still sealed and not yet used
Withdrawn - Engine has been officially withdrawn, and cannot be used again
Shelved - Engine has a lot of sessions on it and has not seen action for at least one full race.

The code used for first session and last session of each race consists of two parts: the three letter code for the country of the race, and the code for the session. 

Total votes: 265
Total votes: 46

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Comments

I guess Honda are okay and Rossi/Hayden will bump into some more trouble eventually.

Total votes: 232

I really have to wonder what that mystery part was in the Suzuki engine last year.

Total votes: 251

Making quality lumps as one would expect from the Big H.

Total votes: 242

Considering Ducati now knows their old bike is a pile of garbage, will the new engines for the sat teams be the GP11.1? It seems a waste to give them bikes that they obviously can't be competitive on. Giving all six riders the newer bike would mean they'd get a lot more data for next year.

A question to David, do you know if they've updated the chassis on any of the sat bikes since they supposedly fixed the front end feel on the GP11 a few races ago?

Total votes: 253

is that Abraham is still on the "winglets" Ducati, that is basically a GP10 (the version Rossi discarded after only 1 or maybe 2 tests).
Pramac and Aspar are probably running the same exact chassis that the first time they were allowed to test the GP11 (not at Valencia). Hayden is up to step 2 (second improvement in the GP11) but my guess is that they are still at step 0 (Abraham being at step -1).
Just a guess, hard to know the truth, not sure they would communicate on that...

Total votes: 234

Thanks for that David. Much appreciated. This season may well be turned on its head in such a way that Ducati will have to reconsider their Superstar signing.
I have not been as patient as you in getting the facts straight, then publishing them.
Generally looked at a whole bunch of zero's (unused engines).
The major protagonists have them by the bucket load, except for Rossi/Hayden and Lorenzo/Spies.
Rossi into his 5th engine beggars belief. May aswell use the 6th one this weekend.
The D16 engine is not to blame.
As evidenced by the sattelite efforts,the lump is good.
Hoping the all encompassing GP12 1000.46 or whatever turns 2011 around....BAH !!!
They need a result this weekend. Especially a certain Italian one to grace the top step.
Magnanimous I will be for a change.
If the Italian fans have a countryman to shout about this weekend, I hope its Dovi.

Total votes: 261

"Ducati to reconsider it's superstar signing"?

Really?

From a financial perspective, I would think that both parties have done rather well out of the deal.

Do you think that Ducati will fire Rossi and go back to Stoner on hands and knees and beg for forgiveness and his return? That they will abandon the new development direction and continue with the old bike? Ducati want to be in the same situation as Honda, where more than one rider has a realistic chance of winning a race.

Since winning the championship, Stoner looked less and less likely of winning it again on the current Ducati. He was fast, but the high amount of DNFs cost him. With the current Honda so dominant, his chances of winning the championship on the Ducati this year were no better than last year. Regardless, considering how happy he appears to be this year, there is no way that Stoner would even consider going back to Ducati.

Rossi's fans are not going to defect just because he isn't going to win at Mugello, this year's championship or even a race this season. In the same way that your opinions would not change if he won every remaining race this season.

Rossi's riding talent is not the only reason he is loved or hated.

Total votes: 250

that engines are per rider, not per team, or else Nicky would only have 3 engines (all used) remaining and Rossi a comfortable 5 (3 of them new).

Total votes: 262

This is a true statement.

I believe Nicky would get better results and more support from Suzuki than Ducati. Especially since Vale is now on the Duc.

Total votes: 263

Ducati has really screwed the pooch with their frame approach - not only does it not work, but because they elected to make the engine cases a part of the frame, they're limited on the changes they can make. I'm sure Phil Precious never envisioned a situation where they would need to make such radical changes during the season, but here it is, and his design decisions are making things much harder.

Total votes: 254

If they get the new chassis to work then they can live with the engine situation but if they don't get it to work than they are double screwed.

Total votes: 264

for a rider named "Stoner"...

Or perhaps a more correct way to say it was that Casey was the only one to be able to walk (run?) across the very narrow & slippery Ducati tightrope of performance ...
when it was "on" (albeit with pumping, understeer, etc.), Casey & the GP were winning races. So there is a certain amount of *yes*, it does work .. As compared to say the Suzuki, which is ridable, just not winnable (Sorry Suzuki, I don't think even Casey could put the GSV-R on the podium).

I think the following is apropos for the Ducati:

Hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

As for Casey, Vale, Nicky, Jorge, Dani, Colin, and *all* the other riders in MotoGP:

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Total votes: 261

Thanks for another interesting article.

I think the most interesting conclusion is how the combination of the testing bans and the engine limits have so severely curtailed the capacity to do major bike development (I suppose that was the obective). Due to Ducati's (previous) design it's all the more restrictive, something even I was able to point out last year.
Also, the fact that this year the engine limits may directly impact upon the championship.

Still, the year is young, 11 rounds to go. In the past Assen marked the point in the season where a champion-elect had really emerged, these days it's simply too early to say. Sure, Stoner's strong, but there's still 275 points up for grabs. But I'm sure Casey's happy to have 4 engines up his sleeve rather than one!

Total votes: 263

What if Dorna were to modify the engine use rules slightly to allow for crashes? Perhaps crashing out of 2 races (not practice, the race) allows the rider 1 extra engine, once per season. Crashing and it's results are certainly not an incentive by which to receive an extra engine, but we may have seen the negative results of crashing pan out in terms of engine use/abuse so far this season. Maybe too early to tell but just a thought.

Not looking great for the factory Ducatis either btw.

Total votes: 211

David,

Great detail in that report. See that Stoner has completed 984 flying laps on the HONDA since last November, compared to Rossi's 1,184 on the Ducati.

Rossi sure isn't lacking in practise miles ( kilometers) .

Total votes: 245

which I think is of the order of 120 or so laps? OK, not totally comparable but even by Ducati's statements the GP11.1 is damn close to the GP 12, so they must count for something in terms of data-gathering and general riding experience.

Total votes: 265

Oscar.

More like 200 laps .. Rossi is spending 20% more track time than Stoner. Rossi 1,184 to Stoners 984 . There's 200 laps.

Total votes: 262

Ducati is reaping the whirlwind of hiring Rossi. Before he even went there, they said, "We are not going to build another Yamaha just to suit Vale." What have they done? They've started building another Yamaha. And it doesn't work. I don't know why, and, patently, they don't know either.

Total votes: 251

The 2012 Ducati has been on the drawing board since 2010 according to many reports. In addition, it has a 90 degree V4, CF subframes attached to the engine as a stressed member and so on. In what way is this bike a Yamaha?

Total votes: 254