MotoGP Engine Restrictions: An Analysis Of The Engines Used So Far

With MotoGP now one third through its 18 race season, the effect of the engine-life regulations - restricting each MotoGP rider to just 6 engines throughout the entire season - is starting to become clear. The latest engine information list - assembled by IRTA and MotoGP Technical Director Mike Webb, and distributed (if you can call it that) by Dorna - provides an interesting perspective on the impact the regulations are having, and how the factories have approached the problems posed by limited engines.

The clear winner that emerges from the list is surely Honda. Of their six riders, three (Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, and San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli) have used just two engines, and not had to have a third engine officially sealed. Dovizioso and Simoncelli have distributed their races equally, with three races on each of the two engines, while Dani Pedrosa has four races on his number 1 engine, and just two on his number 2 engine.

The one thing that Pedrosa, Dovizioso and Simoncelli all have in common is that they are all contracted to HRC, unlike Aoyama, De Puniet and Melandri, and the fact that the three riders most closely linked with Honda's racing department have all followed the same strategy suggests that this is the official HRC line. Taking just two engines so far would point to HRC making it possible to introduce two new engine specifications throughout the season, at the end of each six race period. Whether they will or not is a separate question, and one which will only be answered at Barcelona.

But even looking at the non-HRC riders, it is clear that Honda has managed to retain their legendary reliability. Interwetten's Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Gresini's Marco Melandri and LCR's Randy de Puniet have all taken a third engine already, but all those engines have just very light use on them, while their number 1 engines all appear to be approaching the end of their life.

While Honda's strategy is clear, Yamaha's is a little more confusing. With reigning world champion Valentino Rossi out since Mugello, it's hard to make sense of his engine use so far, but all three of the other Yamahas all follow exactly the same pattern. For Rossi's Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders Ben Spies and Colin Edwards have all used three engines, with each engine having been used for just two races.

Both Lorenzo and Spies have favored one engine heavily, with 22 and 19 sessions on the engine respectively, and 6 and 4 sessions on their third engine. Edwards has shifted engines around a little more, putting in more time on each of his engines.

While Honda have kept the option open to use three different engine specs for 2010, Yamaha appear to have opted for just two. If Yamaha can eke a 10th race out of their first three engines, by mixing and matching engines during practice and qualifying, they could give a new engine spec a run out during the test after the Brno MotoGP round, and use it from Indianapolis onwards. They could then use this same mix-and-match approach to make the remaining three engines last for eight more races, providing consistency of feel between each rider's two bikes, instead of forcing the riders to switch between different bikes with different engine characteristics.

While Yamaha and Honda appear to have dealt with the engine regulations with relative ease, Ducati have had one or two minor problems. All five of Ducati's riders have taken three engines each, but three riders - factory Marlboro Ducati riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, and the satellite Paginas Amarillas team's Hector Barbera - have all had engines withdrawn from the allocation, two of them as a certain result of crash damage, and the third (Barbera's) with the suspicion of crash damage hanging over it.

Casey Stoner has been hardest hit by crash damage, the Australian losing his engine at Qatar in the strange front-end crash he had while leading the first race of the season. That engine never saw action again, and was finally withdrawn from his allocation after the Le Mans round. Stoner's advantage is that he does so few laps during practice, which may buy the Marlboro Ducati rider a little more time on his remaining five engines.

Barbera and Hayden were luckier with their engines. Hayden's blew up at Assen, but already had three races and some pretty hard miles on it before it let go. On Friday at Assen, he told the press that he'd hoped to get a little bit more life out of the engine, but that the loss had only a minimal impact on their plans. Forced to take a third engine, the bike Hayden is now racing had a fresh motor for the race at Assen.

Barbera's engine also had plenty of miles on, and had been crashed at Silverstone and continued to run on its side. But that motor saw three more sessions at Assen before it was withdrawn, so the damage, if any, was limited.

The fortunes of the Pramac Ducati team are illustrative of the way the engine regulations are working. While Aleix Espargaro is still broadly on schedule, with three races on one engine, two more on a second and just Assen on the third, Mika Kallio is clearly having problems.

The Finn has taken three of the six engines in his allocation, but remarkably, one of those engines has never been raced. Kallio has five races on his number 1 engine, and no races at all on the number 2 engine, that lump being used only during free practice and warm up. The engine would appear to be either down on power or with a problem significant enough to render it unusable either during qualifying or the race. With his number 1 engine now obviously at the end of its life, and number 2 of little use, Kallio may struggle to get to the end of the year without incurring some form of penalty.

Kallio's predicament highlights the risks that engine limits bring. An engine which looks OK on the dyno may turn out to have a problem that leaves it unsuitable to race. The numbers on the HP graph may look just fine, but once the engine is fitted into a chassis, an inconsistency of response, or some structural weakness, or even an unpredictable power delivery mean that the engine is as good as useless out on the racetrack. But the only way to uncover those problems is to take it out on track, and once you do that, the engine is in your allocation, and you're stuck with it.

Kallio's problems pale into insignificance when compared to those at Suzuki, however. The factory's lack of investment in developing the engine has left Loris Capirossi in a hole, the Rizla Suzuki man having already used four of his allocation in just six races. One of those engines was withdrawn from the allocation after qualifying at Mugello, while the other remains in the allocation, but has seen no track action yet. If you were the gambling type, Capirossi would be the best bet to be the first rider to start a race from pit lane, with a fresh engine and a ten second penalty.

Alvaro Bautista has done significantly better, having taken three engines and no signs of taking a fourth. Bautista has been "helped" in this respect by broken shoulder he suffered in a motocross crash, causing the Spaniard to pull out of Le Mans, and to ride very gingerly at Mugello. In this case, injury has reduced the number of hard miles put on the bikes, which would disguise any problems which Suzuki may or may not be having.

The question I am sure you are asking is where I got all this information from, and where you can find the engine information lists so that you can dissect the info for yourselves. Well, the engine lists are available from Dorna, and the agreement with the teams is that the information is to be made public after Sunday morning warm up at every race. But unlike the rest of the information so efficiently supplied by Dorna in the press room and via their excellent results website, the engine lists live an almost secret existence, only available to those that know the right people to ask.

Why such secrecy exists is beyond comprehension, as the five states which an engine may have (not sealed, sealed, used, used in race, and withdrawn from allocation) are sufficiently opaque to readers - be they armchair engineers or MotoGP gurus - that they are open to multiple interpretations, and would therefore generate endless speculation. And speculation generates interest in the weeks when there isn't a race.

In an ideal world, the engine information lists would be available on the official MotoGP.com website, just as the results of practice and the race are. But when it comes to the internet, Dorna, IRTA and the MSMA seem to be utterly allergic to providing information that the fans could actually chew over for themselves. That is a lost opportunity, and a big one at that.

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Comments

I think the engine rule has made for closer racing this year and find it an interesting addition.

Thanks for the great article David.

Total votes: 181

Is it safe to assume that Suzuki won't be on the grid next year? Are they only sticking around this year so they don't get sued for breach of contract like what was threatened to Kawasaki?

Total votes: 191

Great article David.

With what all this being true it's a wonder if Suzuki will be around much longer. It appears that they aren't even the least bit concerned about investing time and money into development. Maybe this gives a hint at what their future plans are. Why bother if we aren't going to be around much longer? Or it could be that they really don't care, although I really find that hard to believe.

Total votes: 173

Thanks for the interesting "secret" information update. As an aside, your frequent updates and insider information are greatly appreciated, but I do miss the best race review articles on the planet. I know there is only so much time available, but your reviews were quite often more enjoyable than watching some of the races. :-)

Total votes: 181

When I get the time, I'll be writing a blog post about why I don't have the time to write the reviews any more. For what it's worth, I miss them too. 

Total votes: 164

go figure! as king kenny says 'there is only one engine company in japan'.

i'm surprised ducati was not hit harder by this. i would think pneumatic valve closing would be easier to keep in adjustment than a desmo system.

the engine life regulations are interesting and the results are concrete: the GP engines seem to be lasting longer at max power than modified production SBK engines do! amazing considering the higher rpms they run. i'd be completely for it if it were not for riders limiting the laps they do and even pulling in from a race to 'preserve the engine'. i think it puts an obstacle in front of new riders efforts to improve that previously did not exist. that is another unfortunate side effect.

chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 171

So, if an engine is 'Withdrawn from allocation', does that mean that they get a new one, or that they just can't ever use that engine again? In which case, if it means you can't use it again, why have that status at all?

Total votes: 184

It means they've taken it away and broken the seals. It can't be used again, or rather, it can be used again, but will be counted as a brand new engine. The status exists to denote an engine where the seals have been broken. It's more of an administrative status for Mike Webb than anything else.

Total votes: 177

Thanks a lot for sharing this and giving a bit of inside information, it definitely makes for an interesting read and prompts a few further questions on the plans and engine developments of each manufacturer.

For those already struggling after just six races I wonder how the additional hour of practice might affect them?

And since you've already mentioned the elusiveness of certain information for the ordinary mortal fan, do you possibly happen to know if there's any place to find the current crash statistics? Most magazines publish parts of it at the end of the season, but I'm not even sure which crashes they are counting. Only crashes during race weekends? Do they still count when they happen after the session ends? What about testing?

Total votes: 214

3 x 60 = 180
4 x 45 = 180

The new sessions will be shortened to 45 minutes each as opposed to the current 60.

:-)

Total votes: 173

Ah, silly me, math was obviously not my strongest subject in school.

Thanks for clearing the new rules up for me, appreciate it. :)

Total votes: 186

In the press room at all MotoGP races, the racks containing the timesheets also have a sheet showing the crash data. I have asked about this, but have been told that his information cannot be used by websites or published online. It can, I believe, be purchased from Dorna, but even then, I'm not sure I can publish it.

This is madness, of course, utter idiocy. But I get the feeling that Dorna is slowly starting to learn. Maybe we'll see that data on the MotoGP.com website soon. Along with the engine lists.

Total votes: 146

I asked Martin Raines the question about the rate of DNSs of riders of the last 20 years. Haven't heard any follow-up. I wonder if it's a stat that's not kept or if it's part of that data they don't want to share.

I could see them not being as forthcoming with those numbers as safety data may have commercial value or they may just not want to give detractors any ammunition. From a business perspective, I wouldn't want to share all that information unless I had to. From a fan perspective, .xls format please.

Total votes: 185

Noyes told me he had someone looking at that exact statistic, but it's really hard to do for any time before the start of the new millennium, I believe. I think he was doing it for a piece in the Spanish magazine Motociclismo. I'll ask him if he did get those numbers, and whether we are seeing a higher per capita rate of attrition now. My hunch is that riders crash at exactly the same rate they always have, as the most important factor in that equation is the amount of risk a rider is prepared to take. 

Total votes: 186

Crashes and injuries would be two different statistics, right? Hopefully the ratio of the 2 would approach zero as safety devices improve. The overall crash number remains relatively constant because as you say it is a rider's job to find the edge.

A lot of the rule changes are made in the name of safety so it would be interesting to get detailed numbers on the effects of these changes.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 166

I was thinking that the data that would be interesting to see would be the number of times a full time rider was ruled out due to injury (normalized to number of races in the season). If the rate of non-starts due to injury had increase while crashes or injuries fell (or stayed the same), it would suggest that while riders crashed less, or were injured less, when they did get injured the severity had increased. This would assume that the worse the injury, the more likely a rider would be ruled out of a following race. Trends could be analyzed for mechanical formula, age, tires, conditions, tracks etc. I have a feeling that his kind of data may be compiled and possibly publish, in Italian.

Total votes: 195

It would be very difficult to analyze that data to find much of value. Because the number of races has increased and the season has become shorter, the races are closer together. Additionally, the races have never been held on a uniform interval. So, knowing the x number of riders missed y number of races in z season compared with the same numbers from another season won't tell you much because all of the injuries in one year could have happened at a race just before a 3 week break while most of the injuries in another year could have happened at a time like now where we have 3 races in 3 weeks.

Additionally, the data pool is so small that single events can throw off the results: look at Catalunya 2006. That single event would show up a statistically significant when in fact, it should not as it was a crash that could have happened in any season, at any race.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 174

For certain you'd have to normalize for the increase in number of races per season. Also, I think the time between the injury and the DNS is more important data that could be an intersting parameter for interpretation.

Small data pools are common in studies like this, but I'd think the number of GP riders over the last 20 years would be plenty large enough to get a fair sample. If you search PubMed for motorcycle racing data there's only a handful of studies and many with smaller population sizes.

No study is perfect. That's what the discussion section is for in a paper! Though I think a sport safety study is due of someone is willing to pay for it. Detailed data is probably kept by Clinica Mobile. The hard work is mining it (and getting proper human subjects study approval from a legitimate institutional review board, if you'd want to publish in a respected journal).

Total votes: 176

For certain, it could be done. The problem is that since the sample size is so small, you would have to have the context for each data point. Was the crash the cause of the DNS? Was a previous crash the actual cause of injury and the recent one just made it worse? Did the rider fall through a coffee table while messing with some curtains?

More to my original point: how close was an injury to the next race? If a season has 10 injuries but none of them show up and DNS was it because they were less severe or was it because they all happened at races that were followed by a break?

In every study I have done looking for larger trends in MotoGP over time, the data has shown little that is actually interesting, typically showing random spikes and lulls that don't follow any pattern other than coincidence.

I am not saying that this would be the case with the crash data and I would love to see it, particularly broken down by session, I just believe the analysis would require a massive effort and historical perspective.

Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of historical record other than Kropotkin's race reviews and previews and those only cover 2006-2009.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 196

The efforts are not insignificant. This is why research costs so much money. It's what I do. I think the data must be kept by clinica mobile. If it were in the US, those records would be required to be kept for a very long time if not forever. To cull news reports would be like an archaeological study. I'm thinking more of a clinical study.

Total votes: 185

Very intriguing! But I'm curious as to what exactly makes that information so secret? It's not terribly hard to find reports on full race weekends in the past and we can see for ourselves who didn't start what session. Could it be the actual nature of the crashes themselves they don't like to give out?
You would think any sort of statistic would be made available, or found by another source. I say we start keeping track of these things ourselves, and you would be able to publish them yourself because they are your own findings. Then let's see how quickly Dorna decides to make the official documents public!

Total votes: 179

Late reply, but thanks a lot for that information. Very interesting to hear that they want to keep it more or less secret, for whatever reason. At least now I don't have to actively hunt for info on that anymore, knowing that there is none.

Total votes: 181

I have a feeling, as do many of you, that Suzuki won't be around next year. The fact that Suzuki haven't really done too much to make their engines last longer seems to me like they are planning on quitting soon. David, since you see a lot more than we do, what are your thoughts about Suzuki's future? Are they gonna be the next factory to pull out?

Total votes: 193

Suzuki has a contract with Dorna until 2012. They'll be here next year (they saw what happened to Kawasaki). Whether they'll be here in 2012 is a different matter altogether. 

Total votes: 185

I don't see this rule as helping to maintain parity. The weaker teams (read Suzuki) depend more on "in season" development to improve, than the others who start out strong. The strong get better and weak get weaker doesn't make for close racing. Once again Dorna have reacted foolishly and will probably cause another factory to withdraw. 1000cc engines limited to 6 won't fix the empty grid problem either. Now imagine a later race in a close championship season,, and a rider blows up his last engine in practice. Do headlines like "Championship decided by pit row 10 second start" make for a successful season? ,, hard to imagine the thought process that goes into making these rules.....

Total votes: 183

The engine limits were requested specifically by the factories, not Dorna. The GP commission merely acceded to the request of the MSMA (the manufacturers' association). This one is not Dorna's fault. 

Total votes: 177

I'm sorry...but I hate this rule. And the silly rookie rule as well. Despite the fact that the factories supposedly wanted this, in my opinion it adds nothing to the quality of the MotoGP series. It only seems to make things more needlessly complicated, and more difficult for smaller factories to be more competitive. So race engines have been made to last longer...big deal. If you've got to have this rule, it should be 9 engines for the year. Having only 6 engines for the year is too few.

Total votes: 185

No team has actually drawn all 6 engines into their allocation so as long as their quota is still open a manufacturer can introduce a new engine spec whenever they want.

I don't think suzuki will be anywhere near the top of the championship come end of season and those that are seem to have the situation under control.

The testing ban has hurt them more. That, and their refusal to invest the money needed to develop a competitive machine. Which includes providing for a satellite team. They will probably kill the factory prototype team and enter a semi-private modified gsxr effort in 2012 and get better results for less money.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 183

I had private concerns that inclusion to the GP circus may detract from a previous hard nosed attitude..this piece goes a long way to allay my fears with regard to Emmetts journalistic bent..you've got to be in it to win it and I applaud his stance..

The rules that the MSMA make up to suit themselves, and let's face it there are only three of them, are contrary to common sense and obviously have a not so hidden agenda.

Total votes: 209

Being on the inside has certainly changed my perspective. I now see that much of the blame that Dorna gets is undeserved, for most of the awful technical rule changes are entirely down to the MSMA, and Dorna's only sin is to go along with them. But when they do something wrong - in fact, when anyone does something wrong - then I hope I will have the courage to speak out about it. And if I don't, I hope my readers will point out my failings to me.

Total votes: 179

Great read, Krop. Thanks for the info. I agree with you about the value of the information. The manufacturers are surely hesitant to show their hand mid season, but the information is valuable to the fans, and the end of season information about reliability is particularly valuable for branding. Furthermore, the casual fan might not have any idea that MotoGP has engine rules, and they would probably never stumble across this information. I think they need an end of year prize for the team and manufacturer that run the most points-scoring races on a single engine. It would raise visibility and it would give another prize to the manufacturers. The riders already have champion, rookie of the year, best qualifier, and the informal top satellite runner. Manufacturers should have other prizes as well.

I have a great idea. Raise fuel capacity. Isn't that great? :) If the engine are rev limited in order to satisfy the reliability requirements, why not chuck the Group C prototype fuel regulations and put 24L back into the tanks so it has some formulaic similarity to Moto2?

If the revs start getting silly, extend the engine life requirements. How awesome would it be to walk into a museum with your kids or grand kids and say "Look over there. That is THE 800cc engine that [insert rider name] used to win the [insert year] MotoGP championship. The Dorna seals are still in tact"

Epic. Way better than the mock-ups they build from the spare parts bin. The rider contracts might have to be worked around b/c I know most of them want the bike they won on.

Total votes: 183

The bike they won on? Like the bike Valentino won the 2003 championship on? Where is that bike? Methinks it isn't in Italy....

FWIW, I dislike the engine restrictions, and the lack of track time for the riders makes me less likely to spend the $$ to see a race live, in person.

Perhaps there should be an organization that represents the fans. The manufacturers have the MSMA, the race organizers have DORNA. And the fans are left to suffer from the selfish decisions of the previous two bodies.

Total votes: 172

If you don't want to suffer through it, turn the channel or turn of the computer and stop buying bikes from the companies that participate in the sport. They are very aware of the number of eyeballs watching. Every one may not count, but together they send a biggest message of all.

Total votes: 190

You can't boycott a monopoly. These international manufacturers clubs (FIA, FIM) were created so the manufacturers could control global manufacturing by committee, particularly racing operations. For instance, a national racing series cannot race in more than 3 countries IIRC, without FIA sanctioning. Obviously, the FIA are not a real government and they have no power, but here's how it works. If NASCAR wanted to operate internationally and violate the 3 countries rule, the FIM would shun Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, GM, and Toyota. They'd probably be banned or heavily fined for participating in a series that is in breach of FIA rules. The political turmoil and the lawsuits and in fighting aren't worth it. The companies go along with the racing bureaucracy.

The same is true to some degree of the FIM. I don't know the specific rules, but a separate sanctioning body cannot listen to our pleas and start a competing international championship. Well, technically the could, but they would not get any of the major manufacturers whose allegiance lies with the FIM. The FIM also has a couple of members who are also in the FIA (BMW and Honda spring to mind) so messing with the FIM could have FIA repercussions.

The whole thing is a giant cartel racket that keeps racing stable, but also screws over the consumer and any upstart racing companies who want international notoriety and fame. Boycotting won't work, you have to make them listen by hook or by crook. The consequences of MotoGP collapse are not as innocuous as they would be in a more competitive industry.

Total votes: 181

I'm saying that if the show is so bad stop watching. If it's so bad that enough people stop watching then money dries up. Monopolies are only a problem of unfairness in markets of goods or services that are practical necessities. Real Champagne only comes from one place.

Total votes: 152

Okay, we all turn off our TVs without boycotting. What do we gain?

I'll cut to the chase. Nothing. It's like not voting in an election (government is another monopoly). MotoGP is a monopoly created by an international racing cartel of global oligarchical manufacturers who deficit spend to prop up the FIM and use it for marketing purposes. It is an impenetrable fortress unless you are willing to collapse the international corporate racing divisions that fund it.

The smart play is to tell them what we want via public forums like this and via their own website. Once they have a general idea of what we want, they run the numbers on what we would be willing to pay to get it. If the numbers crunch nicely, we might convince them to improve the officiating (reform the MSMA) and stop blowing those damn vuvuzelas (21L 800cc GP bikes).

We are dealing with a monopoly so it moves like a glacier. Do you think turning your back on a glacier is going to change its heading? It takes a mountain pushing against it. Press, riders, teams, fans, commercial rights holder, celebrities, politicians, and everyone else who cares.

A mountain pushing against a glacier cuts a nice lush valley. ;-) Much better.

Total votes: 180

I hope that guy that is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to watch the races doesn't come to my house.

Total votes: 177

There must be a man holding a gun to your head right now, forcing you to post in response to my posts?

I'm confused, how does your strategy work again? :-P

Total votes: 181

Ok, Guys.

I KNOW that if y'all met in person right now, you'd buy each other a beer, and you'd laugh and be best pals. That said, I must also comment:

OH, HELL YEAH!!!!! I know that I've said this on a multitude of occasions, but seriously, where else are we going to read about motorcycle racing...while at the same time reading about:

1) Oligarchies
2) GREAT analogies concerning:
A) Mountains
B) Glaciers
C) World Cup officiating
D) Vuvuzelas, and also about
3) Monopolies

So we have disagreements, but that's what makes us great. Our most brain-dead day here on MM EASILY tops the most clever day anywhere else. David has built (and maintains) that best Moto GP/WSBK ever.

And you two are a GREAT pair of examples why we continue to be the best.

I salute you BOTH. Great points.

(Oligarchical...vuvuzelas...TOO rich...) :)

Total votes: 174

You left off IRTA. Theoretically, IRTA and the fans have a lot of overlap in their interests. Giving IRTA more power gives the fans more control.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 175

Does IRTA stand for International Racing Teams Association? Because that doesn't have a motorcycle-related entry in the first page of results generated from a Google search. I know I have ran across this acronym before, but I don't know who they are, who they represent, nor what sort of power they wield in MotoGP. Can anyone ad some insight on this topic?

Lastly, as for the concept of not buying bikes from the MSMA manufacturers because I'm in disagreement with the engine rationing scheme currently employed..I assume that was tongue in cheek? I'm a racing fan because I love motorcycles, not the other way around. I assume most other MotoGP fans are in the same boat.

Total votes: 201

IRTA is the team's association, but they also represent the riders as well. Herve Poncharal is the head of IRTA (previously Sito Pons). I think IRTA are mainly responsible for negotiating the commercial rights contract between Dorna and the teams (including factory teams). I don't know exactly how the voting works within IRTA, but somehow everyone, including the factory teams IIRC, all vote on certain issues and then Herve casts single vote on behalf of the entire IRTA organization. IRTA is 1/4 of the Gran Prix Commission which is also comprised of Dorna, FIM, MSMA. GPC controls the sport. Dorna cast the tiebreaking vote in any 2-2 split decision. HOWEVER, Ezpeleta said a while back that all technical formula changes require a unanimous vote.

Dorna were the lone holdout in regards to the 800cc formula, but rather than go to war, Dorna acquiesced. I bet Ezpeleta wishes he could rent a time machine.

Total votes: 185

I agree about being a fan because I'm a fan of bikes. But it's also not all that simple. I like lots of bikes, but I'll likely never own a 1000cc sport bike or anything close. Just not my thing. I don't think the drive to be a fan of racing is about the specific bikes. Not buying bikes was a bit tongue in cheek, but I believe factories really are in racing to sell new bikes. They better be or they should be answering to their shareholders. If it was about R&D, World Endurance would be the most supported series and prototype parts would be allowed. This is something I'd like to see!

My overall point was that it's the market forces that will guide the sport in terms of viewership and that is how the fan collectively has a voice. No viewers, no sponsors, no money, no racing. I'm a bit disappointed in myself some mornings when I'm not making my voice heard. I often nod off a bit during the MotoGP race after being up since 3 or 4 am and sitting through two exciting races.

Total votes: 180

If you are not an ol' boy, you're not in the club. I witnessed this firsthand during the moto2 switchover. I had Dorna outright lying to me, people there would claim that they did not have any contacts for the MSMA. This being the day after a a PR was published showing the person I was speaking with sitting next to the MSMA representative at a conference. Nice. Find a contact for the IRTA what will actually respond to you? Good luck. Yes, I'm from the US.... hello......hello? Um, I must have gotten disconnected.

One day soon they will wake up and realize that Spain and Italy are only a small part of their audience. But as long as Spanish and Italian companies bankroll the sport they won't care.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 180

Although not an expert on this, the companies with the most money to invest have the upper hand when it comes to limiting resources. Also, if spec engines are all the same, one has to guess on reliability at the beginning of the season. Again advantage to the big companies with money to burn on the dyno..
Let's just let them run with the best engine they have even if they have to rebuild them after each race....things will be soon like Formula I...over regulated and a bore....I find my interest moving to Superbikes since there is some diversity in manufactures and engine configurations....over regulation moves manufactures out of the race business...

Total votes: 179

The engine limit seems to be working alright so far. I think it adds a little more strategy for the teams to deal with (not that they really need anymore I suppose). At the same time it seems like its intended purpose is actually working. Factory teams aren't doing whatever they want while satelite teams struggle to get the dregs. This year factory teams are closer on par with the satelites. I mean look, already this year we're seeing the satelite guys do lil better. Spies already got a podium and De Puniet is looking fast. We'll have to see what happens at the end of the season but it doesn't seem to be hindering anything too much. From this article it seems like most riders are right on schedule.

Total votes: 174

Of course there is room for improvement, but as a whole I think the Grand Prix Comission and DORNA as the party responsible in managing the whole show while making it a profitable enterprise do a pretty good job. To me it seems incredibly difficult to satisfy the individual interests of so many groups (manufacturers, teams, riders, media, fans etc.) and still manage to provide a sensible, financially viable and sufficiently entertaining championship. (I did say that there is room for improvement remember)

MM is a great place for us fans to voice our opinions, provide constructive criticism and comment on all aspects of the sport we love, but a great part of the "wish list" that arises from the collective comments would be difficult to implement in real life.

If I was to summarize what I think seems to come up-most often we get:

- full-grids but only the top riders
- zero technical restrictions but paired costs and room for independent race teams
- solutions to filter down to street bikes but no traction control, electronics or uber-sticky Bridgestones
- the pinnacle in engineering but back to two-strokes
- close racing but no spec engines
- new talent but Mladin, McCoy and Bayliss back on the grid...

And so the list goes on.

It simply is a difficult balance to keep the sport evolving and relevant while maintaing the essence. However, if we look at the sport as all three categories and not just MotoGP, I think everything is pretty much there.

The freshness of young talent learning race-craft in 125. Savagely close racing from consolidated riders in independant teams in the "funnel category" Moto2 and the real technical challenge at the hands of the real Top Guns in MotoGP.

If the future is a 3 tiered 4 stroke championship with modular (250 singles, 500 twins and 1000 fours) 81 mm bore production based engines, standard ECUs, rookie rules, maximum number of engine rules and what have you I don't mind.

They will try and maintain what works and thow out what doesn't. Its all down to evolution.

Total votes: 188

Sorry David, I haven't had a chance to read all the posts here, but I do have one question about Crash damaged engines. How did Nicky's engine fair after his 130mph get off at Jerez? Couldn't have faired much better then Casey's at Qatar or Le Mans did I would have thought!

Do love your articles and like most, miss the race reviews...will we see a return?

Total votes: 190

It all depends on whether the machine ingested any crap into the top end , or was starved of oil at the bottom running on its side for too long.

Ricky. I liked your summary of the issues faced. There's always a ying to any yang.

Total votes: 170

One would have thought the new engine rule should have made engine survival paramount, especially in the event of an 'off'. I know Ducati use a mesh filter over the exhaust exit to prevent ingestion of grit. Surely they should have incorporated a sort of lean angle engine stop system to prevent the motor running on its side . They know how much angle is available before gravity takes control. By the same token this 'cut out' can be linked to the traction control system electronically.
I guess the thinking was that should the rider go down, as long as the engine is running he can get back in the race. I for one don't believe the risk of losing an engine is worth rejoining the race under these circumstances right now.

Total votes: 178

I think all of the bikes have automatic cutoff, but it doesn't always work 100%. It's not a problem for the older riders b/c they are in the habit of checking the bike when it goes down to see if it's been shut off. The rookies have never ridden an 4-stroke GP bike that didn't have auto-stop system so some of them aren't in the habit. This was significant during one of Hector Barbera's crashes when the engine cut-off failed, and he didn't remember to check the bike. The reports surrounding the incident suggest that the engine was damaged as a result.

Total votes: 193

Very interesting, pheonix, I'm curious to know if Hector was reprimanded in anyway for being such a buttmunch?

Total votes: 179