Those New MotoGP Rules: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

As we reported earlier today, the Grand Prix Commission has announced a slew of new rules for MotoGP, supposedly aimed at cutting costs in MotoGP. The measures contain a mixture of news for MotoGP fans, some good, some bad, and some seemingly incomprehensible. Let's go through the measures one by one, and examine the possible impact.

First up is the revised weekend schedule, which sees the Friday morning practice dropped, and the other practice sessions severely shortened. A race weekend will now look as follows:

Friday

13:05-13:45125cc Free Practice 1
14:05-14:50MotoGP Free Practice 1
15:05-15:50250cc Free Practice 1

Saturday

09:05-09:45125cc Free Practice 2
10:05-10:50MotoGP Free Practice 2
11:05-11:50250cc Free Practice 2
13:05-13:45125cc Qualifying Practice
14:05-14:50MotoGP Qualifying Practice
15:05-15:50250cc Qualifying Practice

Sunday

08:40-09:00125cc Warm Up
09:10-09:30250cc Warm Up
09:40-10:00MotoGP Warm Up
11:00125cc Race
12:15250cc Race
14:00MotoGP Race

This change is both good and bad news for MotoGP fans. More specifically, it's good news for racegoing fans, and bad news for TV audiences. Fans actually attending races may be losing out on track time, but they are likely to be gaining something else instead. Rumors abound that the Friday morning will be turned into some kind of open paddock, or pit lane show, allowing fans a much better chance to get close to their heroes, and see the teams at work up close.

TV audiences, on the other hand, get the raw end of the stick. The shortened sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoons mean half an hour less MotoGP action on TV, and that's in areas such as Spain and Italy where both days of practice is televised. With the loss of Eurosport, Friday practice will go untelevised in most countries in Europe, and Saturday qualifying has been reduced by 15 minutes. The loss is not huge, but it is significant.

It may turn out to be significant for the teams, however. The money they save on reduced maintenance due to lower mileages may well be turn out not to be saved, but lost in sponsorship. Sponsorship deals are measured using exposure, using TV minutes as a starting point. By cutting the qualifying by 15 minutes, the Grand Prix Commission has basically cut exposure by 12% in most markets, and a little less in markets where Friday practice is screened. MotoGP may need to save money, but what they really can't afford to do is lose more sponsorship.

Increasing Costs

The next group of measures is aimed at reducing costs, but is unlikely to do any such thing:

  • From the Czech GP, a maximum of 5 engines can be used in 8 races. No changing of parts
    will be permitted except daily maintenance.
  • Only 2 post race tests at Catalunya and Czech GP for development purposes using test
    riders only are permitted.

To take the last point first, cutting the number of post-race tests from the 5 currently scheduled down to just 2 will surely save on maintenance. And if the rule had specified only current competitors, then even more might have been saved. But by specifying that only test riders may be used, then a whole chain of logistics is invoked which starts to increase tests once again. The riders have to be kept on retainer; they have to be flown to and from the track; and perhaps worst of all, there are very few test riders who are capable of running a fast enough pace to generate useful data. If a rider is 3 seconds off race pace, he will not be pushing the chassis hard enough to find the problems the riders will run into at race pace.

The adoption of a single tire has made this point even more critical. Before, riders could fix problems with a different tires, altering construction and compound to mitigate some of the worst effects of chatter, for example. But a single tire means that handling chatter means altering headstock, chassis and swingarm flexibility, to dampen the vibration. And speed is the only way of exposing these problems, as Yamaha found at the beginning of 2006. And so more simulations will have to be run, and more testing will have to be done to compensate for the lack of testing by current racers on current racetracks. What looks like easy savings soon gives way to more spending to compensate. Peter is robbed, to compensate Paul.

We have discussed the minimum engine life proposal at length and ad nauseam previously, but will go over the principal arguments once again. The intention of the rule is to get the factories to detune their engines, so that they last longer. The effect of the rule will be for the factories to increase testing and development of their engines, so that they last longer while still producing the same performance. The fear of losing will mandate that the money saved on maintenance goes straight into R&D.

The policing of this is difficult, if not downright treacherous. Which parts may be opened and which parts may be replaced will be argued over endlessly, as will the exact circumstances of every transgression of this rule. And depending on the severity of the penalty, it might even be worth disregarding it entirely, and just using as many engines as you like. After all, if your (one-race) bike is significantly faster than the (multiple-race) competition at Brno, then why worry about being put to the back of the grid, especially if it's just 6 rows deep? You can make your way through the field, and pick up the points you need anyway. Will it work like this? We can't be sure. Are the factories evaluating this as an option? You can be absolutely certain.

Banning The Future

The other measures in the rules are not so much an attempt at cost cutting, and more of a signpost for the future direction of MotoGP. Here's the full list of prohibitions:

  • Ceramic composite materials are not permitted for brake discs or pads.
  • Electronic controlled suspension is not permitted.
  • Launch control system is not permitted.

To begin with what is at first glance the most puzzling, the banning of a technology that is neither used, nor even under consideration for MotoGP. But the ban on ceramic disk brakes are aimed firmly at 2010, when the Grand Prix Commission is likely to ban carbon brakes. Without a ready alternative, the hope is that the teams will turn to steel disks, so that a one-bike-per-rider rule can be imposed, and the teams can also save the quarter of a million euros they drop on brake parts. Whether they do, or whether they spend more money looking at alternatives which aren't ceramic composites, remains to be seen.

Like ceramic brakes, electronically controlled suspension is little used currently in MotoGP. But once again, the single tire rule makes this a more attractive proposition. Some teams have experimented with it, but it is far from commonplace as yet. The purpose of the ban is little to do with what is currently happening in the paddock, and more as serving as a poster child for the Big Change coming, and one that is presaged by our final rule, and perhaps the most ridiculous one.

Launch control. Banning it seems like a perfectly sensible move, putting the emphasis on the rider once again, rather than the skill of the data engineer. As soon as you start to think about the practical implications, however, any semblance of common sense goes straight out the window. Question number one, and frankly, the only question that matters, is whether this can be enforced, and judging by the experience of Formula One, the answer is a big fat no. Even with a spec ECU, the cars leave the line with no wheel spin and without stalling, all getting away more or less as they lined up on the grid.

Without a spec ECU, policing launch control is going to be impossible. How will the scrutineers, the people charged with enforcing the rules, be able to distinguish between a "safety" engine map, or perhaps a "rain setting" engine map and launch control? Does a failure to lift the front wheel off the line indicate that launch control has been used, or just outstanding bike and throttle control? Without a complete understanding of the working of every ECU currently being used in MotoGP, and the engineering and computing knowledge to extract both the obvious and the hidden intent in any engine maps and embedded software, finding a launch control program is going to be a hopeless task, and doomed to failure at the very start.

But the point of the launch control ban is of course not to ban launch control. The point is to test the viability of imposing controls on electronics, and how that will work out in practice. Both Carmelo Ezpeleta and Vito Ippolito have spoken out against the increasing use of electronic controls, as have any number of riders. As ever, though, the devil is in the detail, and just how to achieve the intended goal is the million dollar question. After all, engineers love nothing better than a seemingly intractable problem, and imposing rules just provides the kind of challenge they thrive on.

However the ban on launch control works out, there is every reason to fear that the ban on electronics will be instigated anyway. It will be instituted for reasons of cost, and will unleash either an orgy of spending in an attempt to bypass the ban while staying inside the letter of the law, or else precipitate the withdrawal of yet more manufacturers, as the value they see in MotoGP as an R&D platform is reduced considerably. Suddenly, taking part in MotoGP becomes nothing more than a marketing exercise, and a way of boosting a manufacturer's image.

The problem here, of course, is that a race only has one winner. Of the four manufacturers in MotoGP, three are destined not to have a MotoGP champion, leaving those three to question the value of their MotoGP program. If you're using MotoGP to promote your brand as a high-performance product, and you get your behind kicked by your competitors, then why continue to throw good money after bad? Why not, like Kawasaki, pull out and find another way to promote your brand?

And ironically, this is the only way that costs will genuinely be cut in MotoGP. MotoGP racing costs what it costs because the racing department can persuade senior management that the marketing value provided by MotoGP matches the 50 or 60 million dollars that it takes to win a championship. If senior management decides that it is no longer worth that investment, they will not reduce that investment, they will simply cut it altogether. More bikes disappear from the grid, and the championship loses more and more of its luster with every departing manufacturer.

Fortunately for those that remain, every manufacturer that leaves increases the chances of winning for those that stay. Less competition means that instead of needing an extra three tenths, they only need one tenth, and the relentless pace of progress slows. Slower progress means less R&D costs, and makes satellite bikes more competitive, and cheaper to produce. If last year's bike is only a tenth slower than this year's bike, rather than half a second, then more teams might be interested in last year's bike, and grids might start to grow again.

Just as lap times stagnated during the 1990s, with Michelin's domination of the tire situation, then picked up again once Bridgestone stepped up to the mark, so it is likely to go with MotoGP. The thing that drives up costs in MotoGP is not technology. The thing that drives up costs is competition, and the relentless pursuit of victory. But then again, that's why they take part, and we watch.

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Comments

Won't it be humorous if the "Ben Spies Rule" actually opens the door for Elbowz to appear at those two post-race tests?

Catalunya is not so far from Misano, with a few days to travel, so count that is "inexpensive" testing...

And, Brno, right in the middle of the WSBK summer break - literally the last track he will have raced!  Maybe he won't want to stay there all 3 weeks, but could he be convinced to stay on the Continent?  He'll probably be happy to be there as a spectator, anyway...

If I were Brivio, or Furusawa, or someone higher up at Yamaha, this conversation is already happening - or the deal is already done.

Total votes: 165

That's a mighty fine helping of speculation, but let me offer an analogy: a lawyerless divorce. The parties decide that instead of giving their money to the attorneys decide instead to reach an agreement.

MotoGP factories are deciding that instead of trying to outspend each other, they enter a cartel-like agreement to control costs. Caring about lap times is like paying the divorce lawyer; what matters is the spectacle and the audience it brings. If steel brakes and longer-lasting engines slow down the times, it doesn't matter in comparison to the amount of money they save. You're kidding yourself if you think factories' R&D budgets aren't being reduced in tandem with the drop in their profit margins.

You can complain all you want that your blue-sky fantasy machines are being whittled away, but from the factories' and the racing standpoint they don't matter.

Total votes: 148

And, borrowing Old Man Jenkins apt turn of phrase, look where your blue sky fantasy machines have got the sport - firmly up a creek, and without a paddle. Global downturn or not - someone, at some stage, was going to cry enough. As to the Law of Unexpected Consequences - there will be influential factions within the MotoGP factories delighted to turn off the money hose.
Me? I vacillate. Fascinated by its technology, appalled by its waste.

Total votes: 165

Unfortunately, the point OMJ missed is that the technology isn't the problem. The spending results from trying to keep up with the other teams. If HRC could win by pulling an old beater out of the museum at Motegi adn throwing a VFR motor in it they would

Total votes: 119

I think I just disagree with the basic premise rather than missing the point. The basic premise seems to be that the factories, teams and promoters don't know what they're doing and bloggers know better. There are 3 possibilities: 1) MotoGP entities are stupid (they don't know how to save money); 2) MotoGP entities are lying (Ezpeleta is really just trying to copy SBK); 3) Motogpnatter is just shootin' the breeze.

Total votes: 127

Would you deny, then, that there are some with a global reach who act only in their selfish short-term interests to the detriment of others?

Are you suggesting that educated insights and historical perspectives are invalid because of a lack of marketing prowess?

Total votes: 130

Pretend I don't know anything about F1 (I don't) .

Can you provide some links to articles (not blog posts) that detail how cost-cutting measures in F1 failed?

Thanks.

The only thing I seem to be finding is stories like this: Williams: Cost-cutting rules saved team

Total votes: 138

Interesting story. Frank Williams is saying that the cost cutting measures to be introduced will save the team money. He's not saying how the rules have turned out. He's saying how he expects the rules to turn out. McLaren have just built a giant new headquarters, and every day, it seems as if more people head into the building than before. But maybe they've all taken a pay cut.

Total votes: 135

"He's saying how he expects the rules to turn out."

But what does he know?

I'm still waiting for the "cost-control in F1 was a failure" links.

Total votes: 152

It's too early to tell. The rules have only been introduced this season. But here's a quote for you, from Ron Dennis, taken from an Autosport article, and quoted on Sky Sports:

"Because every time the rules are changed, the result is almost always a cost increase. And, because the smaller teams are perhaps less able to meet those cost increases, they may not respond as effectively to a rule change as their more affluent competitors." 

 

Total votes: 156

Sure, but if you have a rule change that costs you $1 but saves you $2, sounds like you're ahead in the long run.

Total votes: 149

A lawyerless divorce is actually a fantastic analogy, because it contains all of the elements at play here. When two parties agree to a lawyerless divorce, they can indeed save themselves a heap of money, and come out of it relatively unharmed. However, a lawyerless divorce has a few essential prerequisites for it to be pulled off successfully, the main one of which is trust: all of the parties at the table need to believe that they are acting in good faith in order for it to succeed. If one of the parties finds that the other had secreted away a large chunk of cash in a bank in Liechtenstein, then all bets are off, and a lawyerless divorce can turn a lot more ugly, and more costly than one where both parties turned to lawyers in the first place. In effect, a lawyerless divorce is the equivalent of the game of Prisoner's Dilemma. If both players stay honest, they both win. If one player cheats, he might win, while the other loses, but maybe he'll lose too if the other player cheats as well.

So it is with the members of the Grand Prix Commission, only exponentially so. I have no doubt that each of the players individually wants to save money. And I also have no doubt that they are all aware that if they all play by the rules, they could all save money. But motorcycle racing is a zero sum game: One player can win, and the others can lose, and so the incentive for the factories - whether they want to or not - is to bend the rules. If they get away with it, then they can win the game of Prisoner's Dilemma. Afraid that the others might be cheating, the factories have to think long and hard about whether they should cheat. If they think the others will cheat, then they are forced to cheat just to level the field again.

Of course, if all of the factories believed the others were acting in good faith, then they would all save money. But then, if all of the factories believed the others were acting in good faith, they could just agree spending limits, and trust each other not to exceed them, and there'd be no need for the rule changes in the first place. To come back to your point about the factories acting like a cartel: Cartels exist only in situations which are non-zero sum, in which all parties gain from an agreement, usually at the expense of an outside party (usually consumers). In zero sum situations, cartels are much harder to sustain, as the incentive for the individual members is to cheat the cartel, winning while the other members are losing.

I was not trying to say in the article that costs should not be cut, or the technology should be limited, I was trying to say that he current proposals, as they have been framed, will have no effect on costs. They are too easy to bypass, and will merely shift costs from one area to the other. I am all in favor of cost-cutting proposals - by scrapping the demand that the engines and bikes must be prototypes, for a start - but when such proposals are drawn up, they should be examined with the eye of a cynic, of an accountant or a tax lawyer, looking not for the intended effect, but for the best way of using the rules to gain an advantage over your opponents.

If costs are to be cut in MotoGP, then the wrong people are at the table. The people sitting round the table at MSMA meetings should be Masao Furusawa and Filippo Preziosi, not the managers. The people who will be exploiting the rules should be drawing them up, under strict instructions from their bosses that they have to agree rules which will make the racing cheaper. I've made no secret of the way I believe racing could be made cheaper, and the engineers I have spoken to who are actually involved in designing racing engines told me they saw some merit in them. But they also said something far more interesting: the people involved in racing - at whatever level - will spend whatever they can persuade someone else to give to them in their pursuit of victory. In the end, cost-cutting comes down to the powers of persuasion of racing departments, rather than any set of rules imposed by sanctioning bodies.

And as you rightly say, R&D budgets are being slashed as profits fall: the Spanish press has reported that Yamaha has cut its MotoGP budget by 20%, and others are following suit. But again, these budget cuts have already been made, before the rules had been agreed, and in some cases, before the details had even been discussed. Cost-cutting is coming to MotoGP, but it is coming in spite of the rule changes, rather than because of them.

I certainly don't claim to know better than the people drawing up the rules. But anyone with a knowledge of history, politics, economics, and especially game theory, can point to countless cases of rules being drawn up with the best of intentions working out completely differently than the rulemakers had expected. Drawing up regulations to limit the ingenuity of engineers is just a little bit too much like trying to herd eels.

 

Total votes: 138

"But anyone with a knowledge of history, politics, economics, and especially game theory, can point to countless cases of rules being drawn up with the best of intentions working out completely differently than the rulemakers had expected."

And countless cases where it turned out better -- so?

"Drawing up regulations to limit the ingenuity of engineers is just a little bit too much like trying to herd eels."

Survival tends to focus the mind -- the Grand Prix Commission will come up with something, or else.

Total votes: 139

Or else is right. Costs will be cut in MotoGP. Not by rule changes, but because the factories and teams can't raise the money they would like to spend. 

 

Total votes: 141

Now I think you're getting there. They don't have as much money to spend, but some will get spent.

Suzuki cannot compete against Honda in terms of budget, but what they can hope for is a basic platform that they can afford and get decent results on. Without an agreement about an affordable machine, those smaller factories and teams will leave the series.

Total votes: 104

I think where we draw the line is the use of technology that has no practical purpose for the customers they are trying to entice to buy their product.

Carbon brakes, adaptive suspension (that uses GPS to set its parameters), launch control have no application outside of race bikes. Likewise with FI systems that change the mapping mid corner to reduce fuel consumption, great show of technology, complete waste of time for a road rider.

Now, traction control, ABS etc...have good practical use. And surely the R&D teams can persuade their management these are good things to fund. But with wholesale rule changes from Dorna and FIM, we're in danger of throwing the good out with the bad.

I actually watched a few F1 races last year when I noticed that the cars now slid through corners, none of this totally planted stuff from years gone by.

Total votes: 129

cejay - I would not be so quick to dismiss carbon brakes, active suspension, and launch control as irrelevant.

In automobiles, carbon brakes have started to be used on the most premium cars (e.g. Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Porsche). Their performance is without doubt, and the fact that they are being used on production cars shows that they can work in the "real world".

Active suspension is used on many automobiles. It is a natural development of current suspension systems. The tie-in to GPS is not that different from traffic / cruise control / diagnostic systems that are already in place and will become more common in the future.

Launch control is related to traction control. Production motorcycles are developing more and more power and torque - far in excess of what 99% of retail customers use on public roads. Traction control and launch control are developments that help manage that power and torque.

There is no need to comment on the relevance of ABS.

I am personally interested in KTM and their KERS system for their 125cc race bike. Although somewhat skeptical of the systems being used in F1, this intrigues me. In the motorcycle industry “bigger is better”, a fact confirmed as we watch manufacturers offer larger and larger engines with more and more power and torque than people can possibly use. But consider this. What if Harley-Davidson did not continue to grow their Big Twin engines – from 1450 cc (88 cu in) to 1584 cc (96 cu in) to 1690 cc (103 cu in) to 1800 cc (110 cu in)? What if they offered their top-of-the-line Ultra Classic Electra Glide with only the original Twin Cam 88 engine – and its associated better fuel economy and lower emissions – supplemented by a KERS system that stored braking energy and doled it out during acceleration? I imagine that H-D marketing would never go for this since their engines could never “compare” to the 1832 cc Honda Gold Wing or the 1700 cc Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager or the 1731 cc Victory Vision. But in terms of performance, I think the bike would do just fine.

It is the free thinking of (not current state but in years past) MotoGP, F1, IMSA GTP, WRC that developed many of the aerodynamic, structural, dynamic, and electronic systems that exist on production automobiles and motorcycles of today.

Total votes: 142

The loss of advertising from cutting the amount of MotoGP on television is a red herring. Audience minutes means the number of people watching multiplied by the number of minutes they watch. Practise sessions only get a fraction the number of viewers that the race gets. I think sponsors would far rather have good racing rather than longer practise sessions. Also, there will be no qualifying tyres, so there's no point having a full hour of qualifying anyway.

Total votes: 139

Animation about the new rules in F1 for this year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-edtA23ade4

Beautifully made, but informing as well.

I agree that in MotoGP the new technologies used needs to be applicable in real life riding. I hope the factories and Dorna can settle on a good set of rules.I
wish the factories would require Dorna to keep them the same for the next 5 years.

Total votes: 121

When the first race weekend rolls around I'll still wake up on the morning of day one to catch the first day lap times reported on Crash.net or MotoGP.com. I'll do the same on day two. After reading the qualifying results and consulting a few lap charts I'll make my picks for the game on motogp.com. On race day I'll arrange all my schedules around the start of the 125 race and sequester myself with headphones, my laptop and a few select snacks. Forty five minutes later I'll take a break and 30 minutes later I'll watch the 250 race. Then I'll get to take a long break until the main event. For the night race in Qatar I may be able to grab some lunch during this break. Other races I may grab a 5 a.m. nap with my headphones still on listening to Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett. I will then watch the MotoGP race and following podium awards and comments. I'll enjoy the entire experience without much concern for the new rules.

Total votes: 137

I'm not happy. If it'll keep people from getting upset with keeping to the facts about what is good racing, what is the draw, and what worked in the past, then I'll just say that '01 to '06 was a great time for racing. Am I allowed to say that?

F1 has enjoyed a resurgence, thanks to certain personalities and talents. Moto GP has just gotten bigger and bigger over the past decade for many of the same reasons. Moto GP has NEVER EVER been anywhere NEAR this big on the world stage. There are now TWO dates in the USA, up from ZERO a few years ago. WHO would argue that? Am I wrong? Is the worldwide press wrong? Are the track-builders wrong? Is Mike Scott wrong, too?

Intelligent, articulate, and well-read people can call a spade a spade. Before 800s, Moto GP was breathtakingly enjoyable, and it was CLOSE, exciting racing.

Now, we wonder who'll be first, and who'll be second.

Hoo-RAH.

Will that keep the reactionaries amongst us happy? I haven't named any names. GEEZ. I'll re-post, after I sanitize it for the convenience of our more sensitive readers. Like it or not, once-in-a-lifetime talents bless and prosper ALL of the fans of Moto GP.

Joining motogpmatters.com 30 minutes earlier JUST TO put in a post to defend a racer from one's home country isn't a way to effectively discuss the matter.

"Have it your way, Dude...but they're amateurs."--Walter Sobchak

Total votes: 136

The 990cc years were the best years of MotoGP, Crimson Tide, I would agree with you.  However, 2002 was a bit of a bloodbath, and '03 was only slightly better with the arrival of Ducati.  If the 2-strokes had been banned in that first year, the sport would have looked even worse than it does now.  2004 & '05 were more interesting because Rossi's switch to Yamaha coincided with the formula maturing to the point that Honda supplied many satellite bikes that were competitive (with each other) and were comparatively affordable.  Even though the true privateers got crushed, there was the odd race where they were respectable.  And, Suzuki and Kawasaki occasionally showed flashes of brilliance.  2006 was even better.

An oft-repeated opinion all over this site is the belief that the 990cc formula should have been allowed to continue, and the switch to 800cc (for all the wrong reasons) could not have happened at a worse time.

Total votes: 153

[Moderator edited...  we don't do mud-slinging here, thank you.]

Rossi is not the sport, he is only a hero of the sport. When he is gone perhaps normality will return to MotoGP and it will go on as a strong series again with a broad base of fans instead of a sport that has catered to one rider and one set of fans too long. If the sport dies when Rossi goes it will because Dorna did everything in their power to enure Rossi would win and no new heros were created.

Total votes: 129

[Also Moderator edited... for the same reason]

My Aussie friend ... I am glad you like Aussie riders. That's your right. Good on ya! There. ... Good. Let's be friends.

Total votes: 126

I have been a member of the forum for a long time just never felt the need to post a comment here. Wasn't defending a rider but was defending this site. This is the only place in the whole of MotoGP online world where riders aren't bagged by each others fans. I really respect that and enjoy coming here for that reason. The discussion is intelligent and informed.

Total votes: 151

I'm man enough to admit when I am wrong. I won't let pride or ego stand in the way of telling the TRUTH, and the Truth(with a CAPITAL "T") is that I owe Vigilanti (and all of you) an apology.

I was wrong to be rude, disrespectful, and inflammatory.

I was wrong to let my feelings get hurt, and then to act on those (hurt) feelings.

I have only immense respect for this website, its administrators, and all of my peers in this forum. Whether or not we've met, if we live on opposite sides of the globe, or if I never personally meet a single one of you in the flesh, I consider you my friends. I have no shortage of EXTREME frustration with the idiots who are seemingly trying to ruin my favorite sport, but it is of UTMOST importance that I never mistakenly take out that frustration on any of my friends here.

I did that exact thing, I was wrong to do it, so I hereby publicly apologise.

Now, on with the excitement!

Total votes: 149

Until this series is set up in a way that will attract new teams and sponsors, with a set of regulations that allows for independent, non-factory or even new-to-the-series factory teams to be able to even compete, let alone be competitive, against the big factories...then MotoGP will continue to fall apart at the seams. These new rules will do little to change that. Rather than help to fix the core problem with the series, they will only buy MotoGP a few more years at the very best before, if things continue to go the way they are going now, the series finally crumbles.

Total votes: 128

This is the longest thread I have seen on this site ever.. however to join the fray...
To start with this from the Independant:

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/red-bull-may-be-heading-...

basically stating that regardless of "frozen specs" and cost cuttting methods proposed budgets have not decreased however in most cases have increased due to the rule changes.

The thing about MotoGP and F1 is that they are the advertising and wet dream arms of the said manufacturers, and only the company who spends the most money gets the best equipment and ultimately the championship. Rule changes only seek to make things harder, and the rule changes hurt those who cannot afford it, and those who can will go on and keep spending until you have a two horse race, because the others have taken bat and ball and gone home a la Kawasaki, Honda (F1), Subaru, Suzuki(WRC) and those others (independant and smaller firms) who just don't want to spend the money or have the money to spend. Sure "cost cuting" is designed to make things cheaper but they never do. I would actually challenge you Mr. Jenkins to provide examples in plain print to actually prove that cost cutting in technological based series actually cuts costs. Technically it is impossible to go back on your self in this situation as technology advances, and the ability to create technological advances changes rapidly also. R+D departments don't stop developing just because there is a funding crisis. This year its a funding drisis, next year its a boom again.. the cycle never ends and these people will spend the money regardless, there is always something to develop and that development cost money. The difference is that when rule changes are not applied and modicum of stability remains, those that go above and beyond the norm in spending don't gain exponentially from a short sighted rule change. This is obvious in the change to 800cc with Ducati storming away and Honda going nowhere. Ultimately only those that are prepared to spend the money will remain in Motogp and no amount of rule changes will make this sport any cheaper, but will only add the price to keep things competitive. There will be no agreement and budgets will be spent where the company feels they will make the most out of their investment.

Total votes: 134

I am not sure whether your comment regarding the 800's is a valid one.

Without looking at the books we don't know whether Ducati spent more or less than Honda. What we do know is that Ducati used innovation and lateral thinking to link their fuel management systems with outside data to allow them to extract the most power for their engine. They correctly identified the restriction on fuel capacity as an issue and developed a solution that addressed that. On top of that, they located a cheap rider (Stoner was on a small retainer and high bonus) who turned out to much better at harnessing the bike they developed than their 'star' rider.

Whilst Ducati are bankrolled by a fag company, they simply do not have the resources in their R&D departments to match Honda. But sometimes have less means you come up with alternative solutions that someone with all money just don't see (remember the story about the Russian and NASA space programs and the pencil?).

But there is a general largesse in Motogp that Dorna have encouraged. All that glitz and glamour costs money. Massive teams, massive transporters, hospitality units, they all add to the cost. Dorna has looked like it is trying to follow F1 in so many areas and has serious delusions of grandeur. At the end of the day bike racing is always going to remain a relatively niche sport and therefore will never have the access to money that F1 does and Dorna need to set their sights a little lower.

Total votes: 95