Dorna Get Their Man: Corrado Cecchinelli appointed MotoGP Director of Technology

It's been hard being Carmelo Ezpeleta these past few years. Ever since the capacity reduction to 800cc, MotoGP fans all around the world have been baying for the Dorna CEO's blood. The fans blamed Ezpeleta personally for killing off the spectacular 990s and allowing the 800s to degenerate into the rather sterile racing that it has become.

Yet Ezpeleta had little say in the capacity change: under the terms of the contract between the MSMA (the manufacturers' association) and Dorna, the MSMA would get to draw up the technical regulations, and the other parties in the Grand Prix Commission (MotoGP's rulemaking body) would accept what the MSMA put forward. The MSMA, it was felt, knew what they wanted from the series, and as they were providing the bikes, they should get to make the rules.

What the 800cc era has made clear, however, is that what the factories want and what the fans want are two different things entirely. While the factories requested and got fuel limits and a capacity reduction, and learning extremely valuable lessons about electronically managing motorcycle engines to provide smooth throttle response and better fuel efficiency, the riders have been forced to hone error-free, smooth riding styles carrying as much corner speed as possible, robbing the fans of the spectacle they had become accustomed to with the 990s. Any objections Dorna presented to proposed rule changes were waved away by the MSMA; the manufacturers, after all, were the subject experts and the only people to fully understand how rules might affect the practice of building racing prototypes.

Dorna's problem was that they did not have the expertise to present counter-arguments. Dorna - and IRTA, the teams' association - knew all about running race teams and racing series, but not about the economics and technical aspects of producing racing machines. Though Dorna is stuffed to the gills with technical experts, none of them have the practical experience in manufacturing needed to face down the MSMA.

Dorna have now remedied that situation. Today, Dorna announced that they have appointed Corrado Cecchinelli as MotoGP Director of Technology. In that role, Cecchinelli will act as an intermediary between the manufacturers and the other members of the Grand Prix Commission, translating the requirements of the manufacturers for Dorna, IRTA and the FIM, and ensuring that the manufacturers understand their objections to the MSMA's proposals. MotoMatters.com reported on Dorna's search for somebody to fill this role back in August of last year, but Dorna were being very careful about finding the right person for the job. Dennis Noyes reported in the Spanish magazine Motociclismo in November that Cecchinelli had been contracted for the position, but Dorna have taken until now to announce the appointment

Cecchinelli's position is key in the political reshaping of MotoGP that is currently taking place. Changes have already been made in the contracts between the manufacturers and Dorna - each manufacturer signing a separate contract, rather than Dorna signing a collective agreement with all of the members of the MSMA - and the role of Director of Technology is aimed at placing a check on the technical ambitions of the MSMA. With 2012 fast approaching, and interest from teams entering under the new Claiming Rule Team regulations - which allows teams to enter non-factory bikes under slightly looser regulations (for a full explanation, see our background story here) - Dorna, the FIM and IRTA have to ensure that the MSMA does not price the cost of potential CRT entries out of reach of the teams through regulation. Cecchinelli seems ideally placed to prevent that from happening.

Below is the press release announcing Cecchinelli's appointment:


Corrado Cecchinelli appointed MotoGP Director of Technology

Corrado Cecchinelli has been appointed as the Director of Technology for the FIM MotoGP World Championship. The experienced Italian will oversee and be responsible for all technical developments relating to the three World Championship categories; 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP.

One of the main functions of Cecchinelli's role will include the development of new regulations regarding the implementation of the Moto3 category and the new 1000cc engine capacity in MotoGP, both of which come into effect in 2012. He will also play a key role in providing a technical link between manufacturers and suppliers and the organisations involved in the governing of the World Championship, which include the FIM, the MSMA, IRTA and Dorna.

Cecchinelli has an extensive amount of experience and knowledge in motorcycling, and after obtaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering – in which he specialised in automobile mechanics – he worked for Piaggio for two years. A five-year period working on Ducati's superbike project then followed between 1997 and 2002, and from 2003 to 2005 Cecchinelli was Technical Director for the Borgo Panigale factory's MotoGP team. In 2006 Cecchinelli took up the post of Vice Director General at Ducati Corse, a position he held until the end of 2010 prior to his appointment as MotoGP Director of Technology.

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Comments

If we are taking roll, count me in. I'd sooner see every manufacturer withdraw, than to continue the current charade (or the 1000cc 81mm rules). I'd rather watch Suter-Ilmors and Moriwaki-Protons than watch major manufacturing companies loot MotoGP for scooter technology and media exposure.

Why can't it be like the 500cc two stroke era when they made mostly two stroke street bikes and none of that technology ever made it into girly scooters...

Have you seen sales lately? Technology trickle down is just marketing rhetoric for people who want to help the manufacturers to their wallet. It's not working.

The cartel have no idea what they are doing. It's an antiquated bureaucracy on autopilot, and turning it around is like hanging a U-turn in an oil tanker. Get rid of them already. They are inflexible and unintelligent. The only reason they are still around is b/c their names draw TV companies and sponsors which build the B2B sport that Dorna are interested in. What does any of that have to do with the sport?

Don't buy into the nonsense, it only proliferates the problem. Dozens of companies can build fast bikes.

All these fast bikes that people can build?

You just used the idea of technology being looted in the last post. I don't think technology is related to overall sales. Especially not under current economic conditions. It's an competitive tool within the market rather than a driver for the market as a whole.

Which part is nonsense? The secret oligarchy conspiracy or that the sport is struggling in general?

"Get their Man?" Hahaha..more like the MSMAs man.

When it was revealed Dorna was looking for a technical advisor, I hoped it was a serious play at them putting the brakes on the MSMA and it's engineering boffins, limiting the total control they have over the rules that govern racing, also that control and the veto vote "privelege", were up for reconsideration at the end of this year...Kenny Roberts Snrs. name was amongst fans favourites to bang some heads.

Mr. Emmetts interview with Ezpeleta at the end of October blew those hopes to smitherines. A full year ahead of the date for contract renewal and without the benefit of a technical advisor being in place, Carmelo said nothing would change with regard to the politics..the MSMA would keep their right to hijack the sporting integrity of GP, forcing rules through that benefit them and blocking any opposition with the veto..

Corrado is probably a decent chap but he is just a puppet. He talks about his independence but will have no teeth to rein anybody in! In his technical capacity he will address matters "relating to the environment and security of the circuits."
Once again definition of the 2012 litre class will be put on the backburner, he says, in favour of Moto3 because..
"The details that remain to be defined for the MotoGP class are unlikely to delay the work of the new arrivals to the category, something that could happen in the case of Moto3."
read his interview on motogp.com.

My personal take is that we may never see the 1000cc class. The MSMA would be happy to race 800s and are worried that hot-rodded litre motors in GP chassis with 24 litres of fuel could be a bit too competitive for comfort.
Infront and the FIM met recently with the FIM praising Flamminis efforts in WSB. Flamminis are confident they have the rights on production based engines..
Would the MSMA and Dorna really be bothered if the FIM came out and said that they'd had lawyers examine the "production motor" contract that WSB has, and GP can't run them?

"Cecchinelli will act as an intermediary between the manufacturers and the other members of the Grand Prix Commission, translating the requirements of the manufacturers for Dorna, IRTA and the FIM, and ensuring that the manufacturers understand their objections to the MSMA's proposals."

Please help me better comprehend the role of the MotoGP Director of Technology. He will make sure that when the MSMA puts forth technical proposals that the other members really understand the impact to the sport. Similarly, he will communicate - in terms that engineers will understand - to the MSMA what Dorna and company want. But in the end the technical regulations are defined by the MSMA. There has been NO SHIFT in leadership roles or the decision making process.

This position sounds to me to be no more than an interpreter / liaison / translator. If I am right, then the Grand Prix Commission was even more broken than I imagined.

IIRC, there was an article here (or a link to an interview, or something...) that quoted Carmelo saying that the 'normal service' of the MSMA controlling the rules was going to cease.

..there is a lot of good stuff here. I've just had my First birthday at MM and am still unearthing stuff in the archives that provides valuable insight..not just from Mr Emmett, but the mostly informed posters too.

Talking of which..I believe it is Pheonix who, on several occasions, has talked about the MSMA and their objectives within the premier class being misplaced.
They have Carmelo over a barrell..he hasn't got the balls to show them the door like the Flamminis did to the factories in SBK. Without them he is worried his TV figures will drop like a stone, but with them in the drivers seat he has no control over his business and is a puppet-like figure watching the inexorable sporting demise of the oldest sanctioned form of motorsport in the world, with the richest history too.

The Japs ought to go back to their roots, the tiddler classes. The new Moto3 class is far more relevant to their goals of selling small capacity, enviromentally friendly machines to the biggest markets of Asia and other emerging economies, whose unit sales dwarf the US and Europe.
They should leave MotoGP to the folk who want to see the fastest mothersmoking bikes on the planet and the best riders, controlling an abundance of power over grip in a 'race'..not a fuel economy trial.

As we all know, neither Dorna nor the FIM really want to control the rulebook; instead, they want to control the manufacturers who write the rules. By utilizing individual contracts rather than paying the manufacturers as a collective, Dorna hope they can buy the votes they need to get the rules they want.

Divide and conquer didn't work in F1. It merely gave the FIA and Bernie what they wanted in the near term while the sport slowly disintegrated. I'm not terribly optimistic for the future of MotoGP either.

I know the Japanese make wonderful products, but the Japanese motorcycle cartel is directly responsible for the state of the sportbike industry and the state of motorcycle racing. The FIM need to nut up and throw them out for good. The Japanese have lost the plot.

In that case Valentino Rossi will have his next championship.

And how is the state of the sportsbike industry bad? I think a few true competitors to the Japanese, of course Ducati but now (especially) BMW and Aprilia makes the sportsbike industry better than it has been for the last couple of years. It wasn't the Japanese losing the plot, it was them losing their competetive edge and perhaps even passion due to a lack of competition.
The 'Blade is one hell of a good bike, but now it is a little old and a little 'safe'. The current R1 may be crossplane crank etc etc, but it's relatively fat and a little slow. Even the new ZX-10R is less a trackbike and a little 'safe' compared to the Aprilia and BMW. But it is a step in the right direction.

Look what a bit of competition has done for the RC212V so far this year, they've made it a racebike again. It is a hint of desire in HRC - the can sense the opportunity without Valentino/Yamaha. I'm hoping Honda and Yamaha see the situation with the roadbike products and do something special.

Rossi to Ducati for 2011 and the new MotoGP director of technology is an ex Ducati man whose move to Dorna apparently fits the same time frame as Rossi's Ducati signing.
What a coincidence.
Forgive me,I'm just being a conspiracy theorist ?

The real secret is how Dorna allows Rossi to go into Ben Spies pit and pour sand in his gas tank and let air out of his tires.

This is Ducati's make or break season in GP. A Rossi , Melandri'esque failure in Quatar will be disastrous.Somehow,I feel Ducati,actually know this.
Dorna,given the cash cow incentives need Ducati to be fast out of the box.
Man,are Ducati regretting their decision to offer Lorenzo umpteen times more Euro's than Stoner was contracted for.
This GPC move within Dorna Sports ambit,just re-affirms my take on 2012 and beyond.Which is : 2002 revisited...a contrived mess.

Let's not forget Caseys "Melandri'esque" start to last season..

Crash, Fifth, Crash, Fourth, Fifth..Eighth in the standings, 17 points behind his team-mate in Fifth..heading into July?