The latest engine lists released by IRTA at Brno paint a revealing picture of the state of play with regards to engine reliability. Top of the class is Honda, whose reliability is not so much legendary as utterly intimidating. In fact, it might even be fair to say that Honda have done too good a job: The factory Honda riders have still only used three engines, despite the fact that Brno was the 10th race of the season. Of the 22 engines which have been used by the six Honda riders, just two have been withdrawn, a testament to HRC's engineering. Add this to the fact that the Honda is clearly the fastest bike on the grid, and you can see that Honda's competitors will be troubled.
Contrast Honda's fortunes to those of Suzuki. With just two riders on the grid, the Rizla Suzuki squad already has four retired engines and a total of 11 in play. Alvaro Bautista took his 6th engine at Brno, the engine extension permitted by the Grand Prix Commission coming just at the right time. Of the other riders, only Ben Spies looks to be in engine trouble, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider having taken his 5th engine at Brno, but then Spies' last two new engines coincide with rumors of upgraded parts, rumors bolstered by Spies' run close to the podium in the Czech Grand Prix.
The remaining Yamaha, Ducati and satellite Honda riders are already on their 4th engines, with the honorable exception of Mika Kallio, who has still only three engines so far, only two of which he has raced. Yamaha has had 2 engines withdrawn, while Ducati has had 5 withdrawn.
For full details of engine usage, see the table below. The table shows for each rider the number of sessions the engine was used in; the number of races each engine has been used for; when the engine first made an appearance; and the last session the egine was used in. A "session" refers to one of the five times the bikes are on track during a race weekend: FP1, FP2, qualifying practice, the warmup and the race. This means that the number of sessions includes races. As the riders have two bikes, they will often use two - or very occasionally, even three - engines in a session, though sessions on just a single engine are also common. There is no way of knowing how many laps a particular engine has done, the only parties privy to that knowledge have been admirably silent on that issue.
The number of races has been included separately, as use during a race stresses the engine more than during practice, as the engine is run at full power for 110 kilometers at a stretch. The first used and last used columns show the number of the event the engine was first used (01 was Qatar, 04 was Mugello, 09 was Laguna Seca, etc) and the abbreviation for the session. Under status, you can see whether an engine has been withdrawn, or has not yet been taken.
NS = Not Sealed - The engine has either not yet been submitted to scrutineering, or if it has, it has not yet been out of pit lane on a race weekend.
WFA = Withdrawn From Allocation - Either the seals have been broken on the engine, or else the team has officially notified MotoGP's Technical Director Mike Webb that they will no longer be using that engine. The engines can then be returned to the factory to be opened and examined. Once the seals are broken, the engine can only be returned to the allocation as a new engine.
|Fiat Yamaha team|
|Notes: Rossi's crash at Mugello leaves the Italian in the luxurious position of having fairly lightly used engines. However, now that Rossi has announced he is leaving for Ducati, engine wear will be the least of his concerns.|
|Notes: Jorge Lorenzo is running through his engines a little faster than he might like to, with three races already on his 4th engine, and still 8 races left to go. Every time team manager Wilco Zeelenberg is asked about his rider's engines, he says that the team is not worried, but this is almost certainly an attempt to blow smoke in the eyes of a naive reporter such as your humble correspondent. Zeelenberg does also point out, though, that with a championship lead of 77 points, they can easily afford to start from the pit lane at least once this year. As long as Lorenzo doesn't crash and injure himself, that is.
|Monster Tech 3 Yamaha|
|Notes: The Texas Tornado is looking pretty comfortable with his engine allowance. Edwards has had just one engine withdrawn, but that was a motor which already had plenty of miles on it.|
|Notes: At first glance, Ben Spies situation looks relatively worrying. The Texan has taken 5 engines so far, leaving him with just one more unsealed engine until the end of the year. But a new engine at Laguna Seca and another one at Brno might suggest to conspiracy theorists that the Texan received engine upgrades at those events, especially since those events were at the point where Yamaha was already fairly certain that they were about to lose Valentino Rossi. That kind of speculation will only meet with denials from the parties involved, leaving analysts none the wiser.|
|Repsol Honda Team|
|Notes: There is nothing to say about Andrea Dovizioso's engine usage, other than that it has been exemplary. There is reason to believe that his #2 engine is tired, as it hasn't been out of the box since Assen, but the Italian still has three engines left.|
|Notes: Like Dovzioso, Pedrosa's engine usage is terrifyingly efficient. It is the #1 engine that hasn't been used for a while in Pedrosa's case, but again, he still has plenty left.
|San Carlo Gresini Honda|
|Notes: Melandri probably has the weakest engine situation of the Hondas, though it is very far from worrying. His #1 engine is probably spent, but has not yet been withdrawn, just in case. Melandri did not race at Assen, saving two sessions on his engines.|
|Notes: What's the difference between an HRC rider and an HRC-supported rider? The difference is that Marco Simoncelli took a 4th engine bang on schedule at Brno, whereas Dovizioso and Pedrosa still have three engines left. In truth, Simoncelli's #2 engine is probably shot, not having been out of the truck since Mugello.
|Notes: While Valentino Rossi's engines got a break when he was injured, there was no such luck for Hiroshi Aoyama, who saw Alex de Angelis replace him from the very next race. Aoyama's #1 engine was withdrawn early - for a Honda - and his #2 engine hasn't been out recently either.
|Randy de Puniet|
|Notes: Like Aoyama, Randy de Puniet's engines didn't get any peace either, with Roger Lee Hayden stepping in to replace the Frenchman at Laguna Seca. De Puniet had an engine withdrawn after FP1 at Brno, but it was an engine which had seen a huge amount of action. His #1 engine has also been rested a while, but it has probably been shelved as a backup in case De Puniet finds himself short of engines at the end of the season.|
|Ducati Marlboro Team|
|Notes: Casey Stoner's season got off on the wrong foot. Not only did he crash out of the lead in the first race of the year, he also trashed an engine in the process. Since then, Stoner has lost another engine, though due to old age rather than misfortune, his #1 engine being withdrawn during the Laguna Seca weekend. The bright side for Stoner is that the Australian doesn't do very many laps in practice, keeping mileage low on his remaining engines. But the appearance of winglets on the Desmosedici GP10 hints at Ducati casting around for extra cooling, in order to help boost reliability.
|Notes: Like his teammate, Hayden is already on his 4th engine of the season, though the American has had just 1 engine withdrawn rather than 2, his #1 engine starting to belch smoke during practice at Assen. Since then Hayden has put a lot of miles on his #2 engine, which has not seen action since Germany, and has probably been shelved as a backup if Hayden runs low further down the line.|
|Notes: Mika Kallio has one of the most intriguing patterns of engine usage in the paddock. Attempts to get an explanation from Kallio's crew chief have so far failed, but the strategy is certainly interesting. The Pramac rider has raced just two engines and kept a third to use solely in practice, his #2 engine not having been raced at all so far. As Kallio is the only Ducati rider who has used just 3 engines, this might be a strategy that could work, using one engine for practice, and the other just for racing. The pattern is clearest on Kallio's #3 engine, which got a run out at Assen in FP2 and QP to loosen it up, but since then, has only been used during warmup and in the race, the remaining sessions being run on his other two engines. Kallio's #1 engine has now been withdrawn, and with 31 sessions and 5 races on, will be being studied very closely in Borgo Panigale. Kallio's engine usage clearly points to the Finn being used as a test mule for engine reliability.|
|Notes: Given the number of crashes that Esparagaro has had, his engine situation looks remarkably healthy. No engines withdrawn, and just his #1 engine looking tired and not being used since the Sachsenring. Espargaro's #4 engine was taken only at Brno, and has just a warmup and a race on it.|
|Paginas Amarillas Ducati|
|Notes: Hector Barbera is in a similiar situation to Aleix Espargaro, the Aspar rider having taken a 4th engine only at Brno. But unlike Espargaro, Barbera has officially lost one engine, an engine which had seen a lot of races, but had also run on its side at Silverstone, though Barbera also used that engine in three more sessions afterwards.|
|Notes: At Brno, the Grand Prix Commission confirmed that Suzuki will be allowed three extra engines to last until the end of the season, and looking at both Suzuki riders, they are really going to need them. And in Alvaro Bautista's case, three extra engines might not even be enough: The Spaniard has already taken his 6th engine, using #6 during the warmup at Brno, while having had two engines withdrawn from allocation. Bautista's poor crash record is not helping, but it's clear that Suzuki's reliability is just nowhere near where it needs to be. If I were a betting man, I would put a sizable sum on Bautista being the first rider to suffer a penalty for breaching the engine allocation rules. But I still would not see much of a return on my bet, as the odds given would be very, very short indeed.|
|Notes: Capirossi is in a similar boat to teammate Bautista, though his plight is not quite as dramatic. The Italian veteran has had two engines withdrawn, and is already on his #5 engine. So far, though, that #5 engine has not seen much use, and Capirex might actually make it through the remaining 8 races without suffering an engine penalty. But only just...|