The Engine Rules Start To Bite: Old Engines Dusted Off For FP1 At Misano

Ever since the introduction of the six-engine rule in MotoGP, keen MotoGP watchers have been wondering when the engine limits might bite. After FP1 at Misano, the 12th round of MotoGP, the answer seems to be about now.

A host of riders were left pulling old motors off the shelf to use to work on their race setup. Six riders went out on their #1 engine, which first saw action back in Qatar, while two more took out their #2 engines. Even the newer engines being used had racked up the miles. Both Mika Kallio and Casey Stoner took out engines for their 32nd sessions, Marco Melandri put the 30th session on his #2 engine, Aleix Espargaro's Ducati Desmosdici engine saw its 28th session, while the Suzuki of Loris Capirossi and the Honda of Andrea Dovizioso saw action for the 27th time.

Kings of the high mileage were Ducati. Four of the five Ducati riders went out on old engines, Stoner, Kallio and Espargaro taking the oldest engines, while Hector Barbera's engine had been used relatively lightly, with just 23 sessions under its belt.

Yamaha, on the other hand, were going to the very back of the truck, with Colin Edwards, Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi all using their #1 engines for at least part of the session. Those engines had not seen so much use as the Ducati motors, though, Rossi's engine seeing its 26th session, Edwards' its 24th and Ben Spies' #1 engine the freshest, at just 20 sessions old. Jorge Lorenzo used a newer unit (#3), but that motor too has already clocked up 24 sessions.

Lorenzo appears to be the most troubled about the engine usage. The championship leader has lost one engine to spectacular failure, his #2 M1 engine dumping its guts at the end of the front straight at the Sachsenring. What's more, Lorenzo's #1 engine is suspect, as although it hasn't been withdrawn from the allocation, it has been gathering dust in the Fiat Yamaha truck for the five races, having last seen action at Assen, despite only having 22 sessions on the motor.

Even the riders are starting to notice the problem. Casey Stoner complained that the engine he was using was starting to feel a little tired, and this was having an effect on his lap times. "We could have gone a little bit faster today with the setup we had, but I felt like we were losing a little bit of engine power," Stoner told reporters, before noting that the engine was old, so it should not be too much of a surprise.

The winner in the engine game is surely HRC. The Honda RC212V motors have all held up incredibly well, with the only Honda rider taking a 5th engine so far Interwetten's Hiroshi Aoyama. With each engine requiring a theoretical minimum of 27 sessions for riders to make the race at Valencia without starting from pit lane, the RC212V seems capable of doing all that and more.

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Comments

the limited engine rule is not so smart. recently suzuki was allowed to have more engines because they were running out, not to mention there v-4 engine sucks and they should just build an inline motor, which they have won many championships in ama & world super bike with. they should be allowed as many engines as they want to blow up and carry as much gas as they need. who makes these stupid rules.

Total votes: 86

The MSMA is in charge of drawing up the technical rules. The engine limits were introduced at the request of the manufacturers. 

Total votes: 103

I'd sure like to see an alternative to starting from pit lane for anyone who has to crack into another motor before the season ends. Perhaps the riders could carry on with only the manufacturer sacrificing "points" ...
After Suzuki was granted special dispensation, it'd be awful to see the engine rule effect the championship standings.

tuned in,
Lefty

Total votes: 102

I have not read anywhere about the actual dollar / Euro savings - any figures available on this?

I have to wonder how much it would save? Since they can't open the engines to rebuild or fix them - they can only send them back to Japan (to my understanding) and remove them from the alotment.

Further, with all the additional engineering, machining, more exotic materials(??). I bet the actual saving is close nil - if not more expensive?

Everyone seems to hate this rule including me

Total votes: 105

Looks like Honda may finally have found a rule they can exploit to win. They tried 800cc and 21L but that hasn't worked out so well :-P. Looks like reliability may be the ticket.

The engine rules have interfered with the spectacle, but they make sense. Hang all of the garbage about production relevance, the real reason they have engine restriction is b/c the bikes would not go substantially faster due to the fuel restriction. If performance is fixed at "x", would you prefer to buy 12 engines, or 30 engines?

I believe that was the line of reasoning. IRTA were spending lots of money on engine rebuilds, but it was only yielding about 1% reduction of total lap time.

Total votes: 102

You've nailed it. The real savings likely not huge but the cost for those motors was basically wasted for no benefit. At the same time, maybe they hoped it would distract us from complaining about fuel limits affecting The Show.

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Total votes: 92

How is Aoyama so far down on engines? By my calculations, he missed 6 races. Correct?
I thought the engine rule would at least give a break to the guys who have been absent some but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Total votes: 91

When a permanent rider is absent, his replacement uses that rider's engines. So De Angelis used Aoyama's engines, Roger Lee Hayden used De Puniet's engines, and Wataru Yoshikawa used Rossi's engines. Basically, De Angelis and Akiyoshi used up Aoyama's engines.

Total votes: 104

These engine rules seem to favor the Honda. They make an interesting intellectual race. However all the track side fans will get from this is more parades. Fast parades, but parades none the less. All the experts and fans are calling for a halt to this farce of racing/parading. The lesson of this article is that horsepower is easy. Controlling that horsepower electronically/mechanically is not easy or inexpensive. We all want the best riders. They are the best controllers of power and the 'show' would be better for it, and the overall cost of teams goes down. Quite simple really. This revelation is not lost by the riders. Comments by Melandri recently point this out. The manufactures can 'determine' who gets what electronics thereby determining who wins the race. Melandri should not be relegated to WSBK. He was good enough to win races before this electronic mess got out of hand. And he could again if it were different. Hopefully he and riders like him will be back in 2012 with CRT teams and with sensible rules.

Total votes: 85

It isn't a 'rule' when Suzuki burned through their allotment and was told ... "OK just add a couple more". I agree with this as it keeps them on the grid with their non-competing bikes vs. having the grid reduced even further. But the 'rule' really doesn't seem to be applicable.

I like the comment above about penalizing manufacturers (and NOT the riders) in their points total if more engines are used than the original allotment.

Total votes: 89

...but I'm losing it on the "number of sessions" figures.

18 races with 5 sessions each. Then, there's testing. So...90 sessions, plus testing...is...how many sessions?

I thought that 32 sessions on an engine would mean SIX ENTIRE race weekends...PLUS two extra sessions over and above that.

I know I must be going senile in some way, shape, or form. David, could you or Prof. Powervalve straighten me out here? It's late, and I need some sleep, but I seem to be a bit confused.

Silly question or not, what's the deal? (I know there's probably a chart somewhere that has the answer, but I just can't remember where...)

Total votes: 114

Here's the calculation. Each rider has two bikes, therefore a pair of engines need to last for 6 race weekends. There are 4 practice sessions and one race. Riders can go out on both bikes during practice, but only one during the race (unless it's a flag-to-flag race and they change bikes). So each engine needs to be available for practice at six events (24 sessions) plus 3 races (3 sessions). In practice, it's hard to know how many kilometers that is, though. An engine might go out for just 3 laps in one session, and 25 the next. That information is NOT published, and the teams are very keen to keep it that way. 

Total votes: 103

I've read time and time again that a huge problem in MotoGP today is all the electronics. To some extent maybe that is taking away from the older purer forms of racing but it does mean it's that much more to set up and I'd argue that today's riders and pit crews are working harder than ever even more than the legends of old because of the host of all this new stuff to set up right.

This engine rule is nothing but bad from a racing stand point imo. It's forcing teams to consider doing things like only running certain engines in practice to set up their bikes and a different one to race or using certain engines under different circumstances. Although this does add another hurdle for teams and manufacturers to overcome it isn't one that has or will produce better racing or really any more bikes on the grid which is what I thought the whole purpose of the rule was going hand in hand with lowering cost.

Total votes: 105

...the "Formula One of motorcycle racing".

These sorts of the things are typically the only interesting details in F1.  Why the MSMA thought that would be a good idea for motorcycles, too, escapes me.

Total votes: 96

I for one am really looking forward to watching Lorenzo start from pit lane at Philip Island, carving through the field and getting on the podium or even winning using a grenade motor in order to seal the championship.

There's another scenario in there as well. That's the one where Pedrosa's last 2 motors only appear in the last 2 races and are similar grenade/rocket motors that only have to last one race.

Total votes: 103

It would be a shame for Dorna to wait until the engine rule affects the 2010 MotoGP championship standings.

They had no problem jumping in there to help Suzuki out. Dorna needs to do something like letting the factory's freshen the existing sealed motors.

I just hope Dorna does not sit on their hands and wait until a team is backed into a corner and we see a 10 second penalty.

I really do not see the harm in allowing teams to rebuild their existing motors. They get to keep the intent of limiting riders to 6 engines.

Hopefully Dorna will make a decision before it becomes an issue.

Total votes: 98