Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP’s Dorna versus MSMA showdown on shapeshifters

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


MotoGP’s Dorna versus MSMA showdown on shapeshifters

Most factories want to get rid of so-called shapeshifters, but the current system doesn’t allow a ban. Yet. Here’s the latest on MotoGP’s politics of technology

MotoGP rights-holder Dorna is running out of patience with the MSMA as it tries to get a grip on controversial technologies like shapeshifters.

Shapeshifters adjust the geometry of motorcycles exiting corners to improve traction and reduce wheelies, which limit acceleration. Ducati introduced this tech a few years ago, dropping the rear of its Desmosedici via a complex mechanical/hydraulic/pneumatic system (because electronic adjustments are banned). All the other factories followed. This year Ducati has a front-end shapeshifter that further reduces wheelies

Dorna originally approached the MSMA – the Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers Association, which represents all six MotoGP factories, and controls MotoGP’s technical rules – before the start of the season. It is concerned that shapeshifter tech is too complex, too costly and is spoiling the racing.

Five of the manufacturers agree with Dorna, but one doesn’t. (I’ll leave you to guess which is which.) The MSMA operates on a unanimity voting system, so rules are only written or dismissed if all six manufacturers agree. So one factory can dominate the regulations, against the wishes of the other five, or indeed against the wishes of all MotoGP’s interested groups.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Comments

closed the popup window with a click to big 'X' in upper right, and read the full article, then read an F1 article.. Matt probably does not write 5 articles a month, so maybe that is why I haven't crossed a limit to hit paywall ;]

This majority vote can't come soon enough. Ducati just keeps trying to game the system and does not innovate in any meaningful way with their gadgets. They just come up with applications of F1 technology everybody else has thought of twenty times over but neglected to pursue because it falls outside of the spirit of the rules and would just harm the sport for everyone. But oh no, not Ducati, because they are so special. Everyone can see shapeshifters will be banned sooner or later.

Disagree.

I want to see shape shifters go simply because they add nothing to the essence of the sport, spoken as a race fan. The essence of MotoGP, in my opinion, is fast bikes battling. The requirements for this are very limited. If they banned it for next year there would be one less talking point and nothing else would change.

I do think Ducati are gaming the system and in that respect they are no different to every other manufacturer. If the rules allow it then it will be exploited. All innovation occurs within limitations. You could say it achieves something despite limitations and in this case the limitations include the rule book. I think Gigi would have a very thin rule book because he's an engineer and what fun he could have if the rules allowed it.

I think the current impasse could be linked to investment and it's a fair argument. Ducati have innovated, it has cost money, time and deep lines arounds eyes. The result of this is an advantage over the other manufacturers in this particular area. The general opinion is that a good performance in this area is needed to be competitive. To close the gap to Ducati the other manufacturers will need to invest money and time. Possibly more money than Ducati in order to get results quickly and the time needed could mean a manufacturer not winning for a season or more.

Or....it gets banned.

I think from Gigi's perspective it must be horrid. OK, he loses the shape shifter...what should he do next ? What's the point ? If he innovates again and it's successful....another ban. What's the point ? Also Ducati have pushed resources in this direction, if (still an if until results show otherwise) they enjoy some success as a result, it is deserved and they should be allowed to enjoy it. 

It's very easy to look at Ducati and say 'ahhh of course they don't want a ban' but that works both ways. The other teams possibly want the ban for an inverse of the same reason but with the same motivation...success in racing.

I don't know but if I was Gigi the issue of the shape shifters going is an inevitability. However, I would not simply roll over until some understanding was reached about how to cope with this situation in the future. If innovation within the rules results in success there must be some provision to allow the innovator to reap the rewards.

Interesting piece in GPone on this topic ...

https://www.gpone.com/en/2022/03/10/motogp/ciabatti-ducati-understands-b...

I'd like to boot anything that doesn't apply to street bikes, but how do you know? Pneumatic valves and carbon brakes, for sure. Aero? In an age of ever-decreasing speed limits, what's the point? Shapeshifters similar, although it's certainly true that a few street bikes do have electronic lowering devices now, albeit for a completely different reason. Certainly a can of worms for everybody.

Agreed, no ride height devices. The tide has been rising on that. Things get banned in various ways for different expressed and actual reasons. I love that, for example, LarryT (usually WaveyD but not today, but you get the idea) can be way over here with particular analysis, and me way over there with "they are just distasteful," and we are saying the same thing. The rulebook ebbs and flows. We have been in an OUTSTANDING rulebook era since Dorna took on Honda to grab the gavel back and bring the electronics back into moderation. 

Same here please. Can't tell which way this goes, smelling a compromise partial ban to start device only.

V Whatever Cloverleaf says, I disagree. Oh! We actually do this time! I think they shouldn't be here for the good of the sport, but suspect they may stay. People are funny.

HEY CLOVERLEAF, belatedly as an afterthought, there is a shirt for you as a "beat all those other poor saps in the 2021 MM Tipping." 

Just send your name, address and standard t shirt size to:

Cloverleafbested@geezermail.com (will remove after getting your email)

Cheers!

:)

^ 51yrs, but decidedly low tech/luddite -- right back to the above tech discussion. Hotmail = pre electronics altogether right? But I like the Championship Electronics compromise.

Whaddaya think D9's, keep ride height devices or ditch? Think it will happen?

You've got a few years on me but not too many! Time mate, where does it go? 

I love the tech side don't get me wrong but I'm mixed on ride height devices. Perhaps just have it at the start and leave everything else alone.

I'm a Ducati guy at heart and without innovation they will always be out-spent by the big guys. I'm not sure where the line needs to be drawn. I'd love to hear more arguments for and against though. 

It takes great skill to launch a motorcycle. A shapeshifter makes it easier, requiring less skill, bringing less skilled launchers closer to more skilled launchers. I don't like helping the lesser at the expense of the greater.  I would like to see all ride height devices banned. They have become, for all intents and purposes, corner-raising devices since they are low like dragsters more of the time than not. I would rather see the more skilled riders rewarded for their mastery of the machine, rather than less skilled riders artificially brought closer to the front by a smarter motorcycle. But then, I despise anti-lock brakes, traction control and ride modes so I'm far out of step. Bars, seat, pegs, engine, wheels - the rest is otb, imo. Oh, and a radar detector, my concession to electronics.

Just take it a few more steps and love points and drum brakes, then you won't need the radar detector. 

Yeah, you're right. People only started going fast in 2011.

 

I sincerely think the sub 200hp no electronics Superbikes that handled are going to age well and hold popularity.

Previous trends had older sport bikes --> "Streetfighter" customs. They'd get chopped up, more upright Tuono-esque bars, painted weird usually fairings pulled, beat to shite.

I think we will be appreciating these as a beauty to keep orig. "Real bikes." Post carburetors, pre electronics. 

If you want to see a slice of something interesting, in the USA the Daytona 200 will for the first time have the Duc Twin and Triumph Triple added to the R6 Cup. Last yr winner and neat kid Brandon Paasch is on Triumph, there are a number of riders participating from other countries but mostly S America, plus S Africa. Older American national riders. Should be interesting, cheering Paasch. Q today ended early because rain. R6 provisional pole.

Interesting race. 200 miles, pit stops. High speed banking for a good chunk, you don't see that much! Old school. And, why it is now Supersport. The Superbikes got too fast and it was unsafe, tire blow outs esp. 

Now, Supersport is damn near what Superbike was back in the old days 20 yrs ago. GSXR750 even homologated. Nearly 1000cc big twin, 800cc triple (Superstock motor). To 636cc 4 cyl, Superbike tune for now? Not sure exactly what the scoop is on those. 

150 to 180 Horsepower, good grunty torque, pretty light, zero gadgets = heaven to ride. 

MotoGP 230HP no electronics was great to watch. 2017 thru 2021 has been GORGEOUS in MotoGP. Nothing stays still, the past is gone, but please don't bugger it Dorna!

I miss my ‘07 R1.  Brilliant bike to ride. Go faster, go fast and wet mode. Otherwise all yours. Looked good in red and white too!

I miss my M600 Monster from when I was on my learners/probationary licence in the same way. Didn't need traction control or anti-wheelie, it was all in the wrist! I could barely keep the front wheel on the ground!

I miss my 1986 GSXR-1100, the ride mode was 'if you can't ride it get a slower bike'.

I don't though miss my 2010 CBR1000RR. It crossed over into bitter, was no longer sweet? Either that or I came up short on skill and 3alls. It was a ceiling, went back down to Triumph 675R from there where I'm nearly happy but wish it were a 850cc. 

We're a funny lot eh? "Can I please have an Aprilia RSV4 no electronics in an 800cc too just in case? And a Yamaha no electronics R8 to try? And..."

I have to say I had as much pure fun on my 1976 Honda 550F as on any street bike. I could wring its neck and it would fight and submit and relax and work with me and all under 70. By the time I was on GSXR1100 nothing was much fun under 130, not practical at all times. When stuck near the speed limits it was one long pushup.

I love the analog, carbs that I can fettle and tickle, petcocks, chokes, plugs to read, cams to index, I remember well, but not as fondly, points. Put electronic on the 550 even. Round is the correct shape for gauges and headlights when I really get overly protective of my lawn.

Perfection is nice but a throbbing, beating inline 4 under the tank talks to me in ways a smooth, sanitized-for-your-protection powerplant never will. I had a 'perfect primary balance' V-4 in 1982. Most perfect and least favorite engine I've ever owned. Also, shortest lived but that's a whole nother column.

For modern bikes, I believe a Thruxton would do just fine for the street and a 765 on track. Although 959s would scare me at the track...

Cheers, Shrink, thanks for jogging some memories. Medicare coverage starts in a couple weeks - someone is getting old but it can't be me. It can't be. G'day and I'm off on the MTB.

 

Did a resto-mod 1977 Honda CB550 Supersport. Green w gold stripes. New stiffer rear shocks, front springs and heavier oil. Dropped the front, raised the rear. Nice modern tires. The motor ripped! Looked good (tasteful cafe, good bars/grips, wee silver bullet turn signals etc). The brakes were minimal. Did sport bike street rides with it giving it the full business with modern bike folks.

If you wanted it to change direction you had to force it. It would think about it for a while, then wag and wiggle in protest as it pondered something resembling the new line. There was a hinge somewhere in the middle of the frame, it moved around in some godawful ways. Still, passed on the inside and outside where no bike should go. I am still not sure if it was more fun or a nightmare. Looked stylish though! Last one, no more vintage thanks. 

Barry Sheene had some serious balls and disregard for basic self preservation to ride like that on an old beast. The older RR road course bias ply fellows? Plain nuts.

Enjoy Brian! Come back without a filter and offend your friends again soon.

:)

I had the blue metallic with brown seat. You could ride around the hinge once you were intimate with the bike. I got more than one ticket because I was leading the 750s since their hinge had more mass to waggle and buck. S&W shocks with hd springs, heavier fork oil, Ferodo pads, electronic ignition, Continental tires smh, 400F bars, felt like riding on wind. Maybe I'm remembering it a tad too fondly, eh?

Barry was amazing. Bravery and heedlessness look the same so I'm not sure which it was, but impressive either way. We won't see his like nor any of the playboy racers again. Now the boys have to train, diet, bike, sleep, train again. No time for birds and cigs with all this money and glory on the line. The racing is so good that I am happy to have seen it evolve to this, the closest and best racing we've ever seen.

No offense. :-))

on this:  "...We won't see his like nor any of the playboy racers again..."

I don't know how much was playboy and how much was narcissism, maybe a combination of factors. But I think the last one was Andrea Iannone?

A sad story, but maybe AI29 was born too late? He would have been right at home in the 80's/90's crop of GP racers.

Or maybe in the cockpit of a WWII fighter plane.  :)

AI29 would've fit right in given how he acquired his nickname. heh heh heh Still remember 'the pass',,,he certainly had the requisite talent but he may as well have saved money and bought $10 helmets.

His greatest highlight in the premier class involved a seagull.

Andrea Iannone broke the drought for Ducati. Winless after Casey left, the Maniac won Ducati's first MotoGp in years. Stoner won at Philip Island in 2010. Then no victories for red until the RedFlagring 2016. Dovizioso didn't win on the Duc until Sepang 2016.

 

Yes A.I.29 was a loose cannon.

Dovi & Iannone on corse for a 1,2 finish in Argentina 2016, the Maniac wants to win and takes them both down with a bonehead move!

A.I.29 left Ducati, left Aprilia and exited the sport. I met Andrea in the Sama Sama hotel and got an autograph.

Life would be boring without characters like Iannone, flawed characters.

Argentina 2016 the Ducati duo were in 2nd and 3rd which they'd only just taken from a fading Rossi. Next lap, last lap, they gave it back. Was a good battle between Marquez and Rossi early on before the bike swap. After that it was the usual Termas Marquez show.

I'd love to have that bike. I'm getting more into old stuff as I age, no doubt regressing to my youth, lol. Bought a 1988 Honda GT650 Hawk last year, love it. Might do some suspension stuff this year but if not, I'll just enjoy riding it.

for the footprints I left on your lawn.  ;-)

My dream bike before I was even licensed was the Honda 400 4.

I rode a friend's 400F,,,like riding in a dream. Lawns grow back, all good.

I've been on the hunt for a good deal on that 400 4 cyl for two yrs for a friend/mechanic in town. The prices on the old ohc Hondas have gone way up. The twins are cheap. 

Reminded to say I also had a 2 stroke Suzuki and a Yamaha XS. The Honda was a WAY better bike. It could be argued that the 750 with the cool double exhaust was the first Superbike? Upped the game. 

Larry I love your 650 Hawk! Sorry to sound critical but the wheels seem to bug me. 

Most of the bikes I've wanted to own I have (GSXR750 approx 2010 on is exception. At one point I had 12, down to 5. If I praise my Triumph 675R again I am going to finally wear out my welcome with the last of you. "Forever bike" finally. 

It's fun, and at my advanced age (73) more than fast enough for riding through the Eastern Ontario roads near me. Wheels? Can't see them when I'm riding, lol.

Cripes, I'm old enough to be your father! What I'd give to be 51 again ... :)

It’s very good of you, my friend. Entirely unexpected. If you’re sure, I’ll drop you an email. I promise to wear and treasure the shirt - no matter what slogan it has written on it. As one sap to another, I’ll do the same for you when you beat me this year.

^ You bet Sheffield mate! It shall arrive. Nice job last yr. Spot on re the 2021 Ducati. Got you a good one! Sched arrival 16 March. 

 

This the pinnacle. Nothing to do with road bikes - that’s what WSBK, AMA, BSB, ASBK etc are about. The best against the best, engineers, track personnel, riders etc etc. Ignore Oxley, he’s preternaturally opposed to technical advance. If we want a moribund sport then stifling innovation is the way to achieve it. But hey, that’s what more than half the grid seems to want. 

Yeah, problem is, it's already stifled. It's also drunk on 9 winners per season and mega battles. Everybody has different reasons to be interested in the sport but its main attraction for most people I suspect isn't innovation and technology.

It's a difficult one. If it's opened up speeds get higher. Then either the tracks change or the bikes change, bringing back the rules again. You could limit the amount of fuel a bike can carry. That would reduce speeds but we would end up with something a billion times worse than the 800's.

I think the trick to MotoGP is big power to weight and small rubber. Throw in talented riders and you get a spectacle. However, given that the bikes are by their nature very fast you have to limit what manufacturers can do or we'd be mourning riders or mourning tracks or mourning MotoGP.

I'm here for the show. And even with bowtie aeros and shape-shifting gizmos, the show has been quite spectacular of recent. As long as motogp doesn't regress to the parade races common during the 800cc era and the early years of the return to 1000cc engine configuration, I kinda don't have much of an opinion. The tech and innovation is drool worthy, though. 

The funny thing about this whole mess is that these devices are neither costly nor complex, but after they're banned the tech that replaces it will most surely be. If you're new, try asking why MotoGP bikes don't have double clutch gearboxes while some Honda and Ducati roadbikes do.

Eliminate all electronics and let the the right hand control wheel spin, just like the GP guys used to do. 

To be honest I'd be all for that but if it meant a large increase in the number of high sides then it would also mean a large increase in the number of broken bones. You could say, 'well, that's how it was for riders in the past' but I think a good number of those riders would love to have had some of the technology and less broken bones.

From what I’ve read, aero is the problem area in terms of spoiling the show. I would so hate to see bikes go the way of cars, where they now have to have artificial overtaking mechanisms as no one could ever pass. Besides which, it makes the bikes ugly. So that can go for a start.

Shapeshifters? Not that bothered. They’ll all catch up and negate any advantage. Though it’s not a good idea to get faster and faster coming out of corners, for safety reasons.

However… if innovation is stifled they might as well go back to racing Norton Commando’s etc right now, because they’ll be racing the modern equivalents in 10 or 15 years time. Otherwise maybe it’s time to give bonus points for the best paint job or something, because that’s one area sorely in need of attention. I spent half of Sunday rooting for the wrong riders, they all look so similar (and boring).

^ I hear you Lilyv, even if disagreeing re aero and ride height gizmos. But damn right on blech black bikes. The more Mrs G's Lavender/red/pink Duc was on screen the more I liked the satin sizzler.

** Did folks see this yet? Moto2 added some sort of points for cool things, winner gets a special Triumph Triple at season end...

7 points for the rider who makes up the most positions during the race, 6 points for pole position, 5 points for fastest lap.

Isn't that fun?

Please don’t go that way with the points system.

I already dislike the 1 point for the fastest lap system in F1, let alone other artificial nonsense.

If it ain’t fun with a normal points system,then just don’t bother, they must have wrecked the show somehow.
(basically what they managed to do to F1)

I don't understand the talk about Mat's column being behind a paywall and all this F1 talk. I have never seen a paywall and I read all the articles. I have also never been asked to register. There is a dedicated Motogp section that you can bookmark and see no F1. Someone explain to me what's going on. I feel as though I'm missing out by just clicking on links and reading articles. I see a whole lot of complaints but I can't find the problem

I'm in the US so maybe it's different other places?  I didn't ever see the paywall for the first year and I was regularly reading pretty much everything Mat wrote.  Then the max of 5 free articles showed up, and it's not limited to 5 per month with a reset at the start of the next month.  It's 5 and you're done.  I'd keep going back and articles were blacked out.  Then for no known reason I could start with 5 more.  I finally subscribed but cancelled last fall at the end of the season because I don't care about the bulk of their journalism, which is F1.   

Mat posted 3 new articles following Qatar on 3/7 and 3/8.  You can hit the paywall, if you are subject to it, in a very short time.

I'm in Florida. I'm reading Mat in another tab right now. No paywall, no registration. I am not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't know what is going on.

... popup window that loaded after I scrolled down a bit (ie after you have been shown to be engaged in the article).  It asked for First Name, Last Name and email address and a 'sign up' button below.

But there's an X button top right, just click that and it goes away and you can read on unhindered.  The close button is just an X in the top corner, not an "I'm not interested" button next to the "Sign Up" one.  Peeps complaining probably didn't see or try the X button so assume it's paywall only.

Maybe also based on region it does something different, either doesn't show the popup at all or doesn't let you cancel it.

I love all the innovation--Gigi, keep pushing! But, unfortunately, the innovation makes the bikes go faster. Which means our favorite tracks are no longer safe. Obviously.

So, additional restrictions to performance are required or the best tracks--and, therefore the best racing--will be gone. 

For me, it's Mugello 2017, what a race! Choose your own favorite. But if the bikes keep getting faster the great tracks (RIP Laguna Seca) will be history.

This is MotoGP not Spec Ninja 300. If manufacturers can't experiment with new technology here, where can they do it?

The two biggest complaints- the cost and the lack of "purity"- are nonsense IMO. There are ride height devices on $xx,xxx street bikes, so the idea that a ride height device would spike the costs on million dollar prototypes is ridiculous. IF anything they need to integrate that tech into the ECU to take the rider error out of it. People whine about purity but are OK with TC keeping riders from launching into orbit. Makes no sense.

Ohlins/WP probably have the tech ready to go. Let them at it.

Adjustable wheel bases (ignoring fork movement impacts), fork angles etc

So far the focus is on acceleration will it switch to mechanisms to make the bikes brake better or more agile?

I get the different points of view; I'd love to see the world's best on 500s again but, damn, those high sides hurt vs top 10 qualifiers within .5 sec but a lot of non-aliens diluting the gene pool. One argument I'm not seeing here is what riders are saying about greater corner exit speed leading to arriving at braking points at higher speeds with run-off areas not designed to accommodate them, ie safety and career preservation. 
It may not be Gigi's technological advance that leads to a ban but the result of the technology instead.

I live and work in Plymouth UK and a few years ago a customer of mine was working on developing a gizmo that extended and retracted the front forks on a racing bike. Similar to the shapeshifter but it lengthened or shortened the bike rather than just lowering the ride height.

Don't think it ever went any further than the engineers playing with a sports bike front end though.

And the term prototype implies innovation and development. So let the engineers do what they do best and create fast two wheeled mechanical masterpieces within the rules. It’s disappointing that when one manufacturer creates an advantage, Dorma isn’t encouraging the other manufacturers to up their game rather than allowing collusion to facilitate the easy option of simply having it banned. 

Agree with you and no matter the rules everyone will be pushing the boundaries at all times as they should. There has to be concern for safety and keeping speeds down is a good way to make racing safer. Making a bike a dragster for the straights and a GP bike in the corners makes them too fast for many tracks. And once all manufacturers have a certain device there is no longer any real advantage anyway so banning them makes no effective difference in the racing, just slows them a bit for safety's sake. Also the engineers will be on to the next esoteric thing soon and it's really good to keep engineers busy. Bored engineers are trouble looking for a place to happen.

I'd rather see MotoGP bikes lose 20-30ks through the speed trap than be 400km/h missiles with no more tech than my ER-6.

Dorna/FIM/whoever have brilliantly managed MotoGP over the last decade with more and more tech......... there's nothing of substance that indicates these devices are unsafe. Especially if they are managed through the ECU, no differently than traction control or fuel maps.

The problem is how to slow them down by 20-30kph ?

2007, Qatar, 800cc, Stoner, Qually, 324.7 kph.

2022, Qatar, 1000cc, Bastianini, Qually, 349.5 kph

Limiting the fuel flow is the simplest way to limit power and by extension top speed. I know corner speeds were dangerous in the 800cc era, but I feel like tire tech has moved forward enough that even if corner speeds go up corner safety shouldn't be an issue. Especially if active suspensions are enabled.

Fuel flow limits tend to just peg things. So there you go, a limitation and a restriction to innovation.

I can't even remember why they banned electronic suspension. Jack's bike went a bit bonkers in the race on Sunday though. A road bike isn't a prototype. Maybe we could have spec electronic suspension. A restriction and no innovation but at least we could say they had it.

Spec ECU, spec tires, spec engine config (81mm bore 4 cylinders).... still plenty of innovation happening in the paddock. Capping fuel flow/HP won't kill innovation, especially if it comes with more freedom for engine design elsewhere, perhaps with a focus on efficiency.

It is about people racing motorcycles. There is a rulebook, it isn't ever wide open prototype, no help in straw man arguments nor idealization. Nor slippery slopes.

There is safety. There is cost management. There is "the show." 

Whatever the sell on it and PR, whatever the rationale, there is a balance being struck that pulls the rules back closer to where it "should be" and hopefully this happens quickly enough.

The 2008 global recession "offered" us the correction in which Dorna took back power it should have from Honda the a$$hole dicktater and electronics, Saturday night tire specials before that. Short transition of CRT crap, followed by the best era we've seen in a LONG time. We accept this. It is good and the way of things.

Now? Ducati and adjustable ride height devices. Next chapter, same story. Put a clear end-limit on it in the book, it is self evident that these sorts of spec clarifications are continuously necessary. 

There is ALWAYS a line drawn, this never started nor ends. Start only is my pick. I dislike it, but you can have your Hayabusa button if you must. Then let riders ride motorcycles. Why? No thanks, just WHAT. Start devices for race bikes, not werewolf changelings of some other sort. 

Not so sure about the "MSMA must be unanimous" thing. Need to give it thought, what do you think? Does Ducati have too much power over our sport right now? I am in support of this Italian outfit with passion for racing shaking things up in their innovative tech manner. Desmo! Even aero! Lenovo laptop jockeys are cool! Yet, everything has a limit. Everything. It needs it. Platonic ideals are conceptual belly button indulgences. There will always be a push and pull of forces and a decision better approximating the moving and morphing best.

Shuck Fapeshifters

Whichever way you look at it, no one is involved in MotoGP for technology. For the factories it is a marketing instrument, for the followers it is entertainment, for the riders it is a (hopefully) fun and well paid job. Yes they are prototypes but dangerously high speeds and unstable airflows are beneficial to no one but the winner for a short while. Instead of eliminating certain tech, wouldn't it be easier to limit development to certain areas of the bikes and prohibit all other development? Good for the show and probably the economics... More fun for the riders as Stoner mentioned... 

Spec ECU, displacement/cylinder bore/cylinder count, passive suspension etc

Again if outright speed is the issue there are easy ways to limit that (spec fuel + fuel flow limits)

Factories are absolutely in MotoGP for technology......... if they can't innovate and push the limits here where can they do it? Definitely not any production based series.

IMO people are way too fixated on what they think a MotoGP motorcycle is supposed to be. I think there should be more technological freedom and development personally. We have years of experience to show that big money doesn't guarantee dominance- Suzuki's recent WC in the middle of COVID shows this. So let the factories lean into the prototype aspect of the series.

Conceptually, I'm in favour of no rules at all. Build your fastest machine and bring it to the track. Unfortunately, the last time that was actually put in place, to my knowledge, was the Can-Am sports car racing series back in the '60s. Some fantastic cars, very cool tech (especially the Chaparrals) but the racing sucked. McLaren did it right the conservative way and steam-rollered everyone until Porsche showed up with some cubic money, and steam-rollered everybody.

If there was some way to control the innovations to something remotely useful for future production bikes, I'd go for that. But how to do it?

 

I think they could trickle more tech into the series without costs spiraling out of control. 

Bear in mind, Ducati has been spending all this money on gadgets, but still hasn't brought Gigi a championship. So even if some factories turn on a tech firehose that's no guarantee of wins. Hell, with the limited testing schedule that can work against them, as we saw with Pecco at Qatar 2022. It was the same with KTM early on....... they had near unlimited money and resources but didn't know how to deploy them effectively. When they slowed down and focused on what worked they started winning races.

I'm not sold on the idea that riders manually having to deploy shapeshifters adds anything to the racing. Let the ECU control the whole suspension. I'd bet the racing would get even closer.

..then the show will get boring.

The current regulations have brought us the closest racing and possibly the best show ever and i would argue that anything that takes that away shouldn't be allowed. For example, the shapeshifters have taken away the wheelie, at the start, out of a corner etc, the show has been diminished, it's getting a bit sterile,  get rid of them.

Exactly that. Manufacturers will always perform R&D they don't need racing to do that. Furthermore the developments in MotoGP cannot be applied to all types anyway, it is very specific tech. For them marketing is the prime goal, development is secondary. For me, the show is everything....