The Third Way: Aprilia Looking For Concessions To Join The Factory Ranks?

The performance of Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet has made it clear that Aprilia's ART machine is the bike to be on for any rider not on a factory or satellite machine. There are a lot of reasons for the bike's success: the engine in its standard state is very strong, the bike handles exceptionally well, and is very easy to ride. But perhaps the biggest advantage which the Aprilia has is the use of Aprilia's WSBK-derived electronics package, which is helping to make the bike extremely competitive. "Electronics are 75% of the bike," Aleix Espargaro said in a recent interview with the Dutch magazine MOTOR Magazine.

And here lies Aprilia's dilemma. From 2014, Aprilia will be forced to choose. If they wish to continue as a non-factory entry (as the category replacing the CRT will be called), they must use the Dorna-supplied spec software, written by Magneti Marelli for the spec ECU. Though the spec electronics has made huge bounds in the six months since it was introduced, it is still very much a project under development. Aprilia's software is a proven package, with many years of development behind it.

The alternative is to compete under the factory banner, and continue with their own proprietary software ported to the Magneti Marelli hardware. Though the electronics would be better, the problem will come with the engine durability and more especially, the requirement to race with just 20 liters of fuel on board. As a new manufacturer - Aprilia have not competed in the MotoGP class as an MSMA manufacturer since 2007 - Aprilia will be allowed 9 engines per season, rather than just the five the other factories must use, making engine durability less of a problem. Lasting an entire race with just 20 liters of fuel is too difficult for Aprilia at the moment. When asked about this recently by MotoMatters, Gino Borsoi said that they were finishing most races using very close to the current limit of 21 liters.

Aprilia are keen to resolve this problem. According to the ever-reliable GPOne.com, Aprilia asked the MSMA, the organization representing the existing manufacturers, for an exemption from the fuel limits, and an allowance of 22 liters rather than 20 liters. The MSMA rejected that application, on the grounds that there should be a single rule for all of the factories. GPOne.com rightly points out that when Suzuki asked for exceptions - extra engines, an exemption from the rule barring rookies joining factory teams - the Japanese manufacturer was granted them. Aprilia is now asking for an exception on similar grounds to Suzuki, but the MSMA is not prepared to make the same allowances for them as they were for Suzuki.

The fear, GPOne speculates, is that with an extra 2 liters of fuel and their proprietary software, the Aprilia could be a very attractive option. The ART has already proven its worth, and some bigger upgrades are on the cards. In an interview with the German website Motorsport Total, Aprilia test rider Alex Hofmann revealed that Aprilia has a new set of barrels and top end ready to test, with an 81mm bore rather than the current 78mm. This would allow the engine to rev more and make more power, and reduce the deficit to the Yamahas and Hondas in the area the ART is weakest. When added to the pneumatic valves which Aprilia believes could be easily implemented, this would give the ART even more power, and make it a very attractive option for the teams.

The real trouble with the Aprilia is of course the price. Where factory prototypes are being leased for upwards of two million euros, and Honda's and Yamaha's CRT replacements are on offer for around a million euros, Aprilia is offering its bike for around the half million euro mark. For a bike that could potentially be capable of troubling the satellite bikes, that is a very attractive price indeed, and could easily price the Hondas and Yamahas out of the market. The existing factories fear Aprilia taking over the class via the back door, and are therefore insisting that Aprilia compete under the rules as they stand: if they want to use their own software, they have to make do with 20 liters of fuel. 

The ball is now in Dorna's court. The fuel restrictions - a demand by the MSMA, as they present the kind of 'engineering challenge' which they can sell to their boards as a reason for competing - are deeply unloved by both senior Dorna staff and the teams. They are a massive barrier to entry for new competitors, and one of the major reasons for Suzuki delaying their reentry into the class until 2015, rather than 2014 as first planned. Dorna could impose an exception for new factories entering the class via the Permanent Bureau (consisting of a Dorna representative and an FIM representative), but that would be a direct challenge to the existing factories. How the factories would respond to that is the big question. But with Aprilia offering bikes at half a million euros a shot, it is hard to argue against it as a cost-cutting measure.

Back to top

Comments

...the MSMA has now become the tail wagging the dog.

Total votes: 145

This is insanity of the highest order.

The established factories are clearly controlling the series. When it becomes this blatant, it's time for a break-away series to slap the cartel back down to planet Earth.

I think Aprilia should simply enter with the 20 litre limit - we'd see a good 10+ Aprilias on the grid straight away. Over a season or two, there would obviously be two distinct 'championships' - the 'buy your championship' Japanese option, and the 'prove your mettle' Aprilia option.

After one or two seasons of this, the groundswell of support for one or the other would hopefully see the fans leaning towards the Aprilias, and the cartel would have to either follow suite and provide bikes at a similar price point to Aprilia, or pull out.

I never tired of watching the 250 battles when it was all Aprilia; if MotoGP goes that way I certainly won't be disappointed.

Total votes: 123

If the factories are unsportsmanlike guests, kick them out into the street. Don't give them the house, and move somewhere else. Dorna et al and the FIM are basically the custodians of MotoGP. They don't benefit by breaking away from something they own.

Total votes: 128

... a further note of excellence to Aprilia, I would suggest comparing moto2 with 250cc. Aprilia, despite having nothing to prove and barely no one to beat continued to develop the 250 bike and class whereas moto2 offer a mildly tuned not-even-supersport-spec engine and with no competition simply have yet to improve on that and I doubt they ever will. Is this is a philosophical difference, in the classically accepted Latin vs Japanese sense?

Total votes: 122

"Electronics are 75% of the bike," Aleix Espargaro said in a recent interview with the Dutch magazine MOTOR Magazine."

^ So very sad.

Total votes: 146

electronics are what separates the 19th century technology from the 21st century. i don't understand this dislike of electronics (yes i remember the backing it on smoking tires days too) - if it wasn't 75% electronics it would be 75% engine, or 75% tire...

Total votes: 163

Besides the marketing concepts of modernism and technology, what is the point of electronics? For all intents and purposes, the engineers have realized that GP riders are imperfect beings, and despite the riders' incredible skills, adapting to continuously variable conditions during MotoGP events (weather, tires, fuel, etc) is an extraordinarily difficult task for the riders. Computers, on the other hand, are very good at measuring continuously variable conditions, and computer hardware rarely fails once calibrated and designed properly. Therefore, the engineers have given themselves the task of using electronics to eliminate as much rider imperfection as possible. Since the throttle systems are nearly unregulated, the engineers have a great deal of leeway to control wheelies, slides, torque delivery, etc.

The situation has become more troublesome in the fuel-limited era. The engineers now run simulations to figure out which parts of the track are best for burning fuel and which parts of the track are best for saving fuel. The riders are no longer riding the circuit to discover new ways to make the bikes go faster. Instead, the riders are responsible for turning "ideal" lap times by riding on the simulated fuel-efficient racing line. Some fans may remember the praise heaped upon Lorenzo by Yamaha and Bridgestone in 2010 for his uncanny ability to match the ideal simulated times over race distance. An amazing accomplishment to be sure, but is a MotoGP rider supposed to be revered mainly for his ability to work seamlessly with the simulation computers?

MotoGP already bans active suspension, active-steering damping, anti-lock brakes, and auto clutch/gearbox because the sport (and the production market) is about a rider controlling his machine. The throttle systems, arguably the most important systems in speed-based competition, are basically unregulated, and the MSMA have exploited throttle controls in ways that are not particularly beneficial for the riders, fans, or street customers. I want MotoGP to have 21st century engineering challenges, but the engineers cannot control both the racing line with fuel simulation computers and the attitude of the bike with rider aids.

Total votes: 165

It made me think they are trying to re invent the wheel- Electronics 75%, something is wrong because it is suppose to be RACING.

Fuel limits = no fighting for positions, no catching rider in front and overtaking because you cant, might not finish the race. Its just my thoughts.

As a Motogp fan i want to see the best riders on the "BEST" bikes(motorcycles ill never be able to get my hands on). The Gp bikes are also my heroes, not just the riders.

I love going to GP's and yes you can tell when someone is on the gas going for it, Ducatis being a good example- when the throttle of the the Desmo is cracked open those bikes sound amazing, or what about the Honda rc211 rolling out of pit lane WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP man what sound.

Bring back the bikes Dorna.

Total votes: 129

when will Dorna finaly have the balls to tell HRC/Yamaha how it stands and that MotoGP isn't invented for them as a R&D, but that it actualy is a sport and that every sport has rules. sometimes the rules change and they should feel free not to participate any more if they don't like it anymore. MSMA should have absolutly nothing to say concerning the rules.

Total votes: 140

Well, without Honda or Yamaha, there is no show. Without the show there are no spectators... Without spectators there is no MotoGP...

Also, sports usually have the same rules for everyone who participates... Otherwise it's just a free-for-all...

Total votes: 139

Why would there be no show without Honda/yamaha ? Do you thinck you would notice if next year they wouldn't be on the grid, instead all CRT's, and 2 of them were painted in Repsol colours and 2 in Yamaha colours ? You wouldn't if you hadn't heared it somewhere, you would just wonder how it comes the others catched up so fast. And the race would be a lot more interesting to watch, so in the end : more show, more spectators. And then after a couple years, there woud be so many of them, HRC and Yamaha will jump in, no mather what rules, because they will only thinck it would be great advertising.

if the MSMA didn't make the rules soooo dificult to join in on a competitive level, there would be no need for different rules.

Total votes: 130

>>Do you thinck you would notice if next year they wouldn't be on the grid, instead all CRT's, and 2 of them were painted in Repsol colours and 2 in Yamaha colours ?

Fans would absolutely notice. If they did not notice the departure of the 2 biggest teams then they are brain dead. Not to mention wondering why this year everyone is as slow as the backmarkers of last year.

There would be a show, it would just be a lot smaller.

First off, most of the top riders' salaries are covered by the factories, the guys with the most money. WSBK would become a new destination for riders that want to make big money. Since GP would no longer be the best bikes and the top of the heap there is no reason to take a big pay cut to ride there. Then, would Repsol pay a private team the same amount of money that they pay Honda's factory effort? I don't think so. Yamaha leaves and since they don't have a title sponsor that is 30M+ out of the sport as I can't imagine them giving that money to a private team. There go the big transporters and hospitality units. As the show shrinks so does the price of the TV broadcast contracts, Dorna's lifeblood. Their production and transport costs do not decrease, leading to a shrinking profit margin. Less profit means smaller team payouts, which leads to smaller teams, which leads to a smaller show, until it disappears from disinterest. Basically where the AMA series is headed.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 157

I don't have nearly the same amount of confidence in the knowledge of the average fan as you do. Every year I go to Laguna I'm stunned by the ignorance of most people (of course many are incredibly knowledgeable, but they are the minority). So I'm not sure we know exactly what would happen if Yam/Hon pulled out. I think it would depend on Dorna's ability to continue marketing their product as unique -- I think they could since they would still use prototype chassis (unlike World Supers) and allow a broader range of engine mods as well.

Regardless, it's all academic -- Dorna is in bed the Yam/Hon and so it will remain... for the time being anyway.

Total votes: 131

You are correct that the average "fan" in the US would have no idea. Most people that go to Laguna go because that's where bikers are supposed to go. I would wager that 95% of people at Laguna can't name a single rider besides Rossi. So they would definitely NOT notice a change.

That being said, a lot of true fans watch MotoGP to see the best riders on the best bike. That means the pinnacle of technology. Not the best riders on some standard generic bike. When 1000s are having a hard time beating lap times of 800s from years back, that is the tragedy. So, the fuel limit should be eliminated... and with it, all this crap about standard ECUs, rev limits, etc. Unleash the beasts.

Total votes: 145

Chris, you are missing my point. IF (not possible, but IF) it would all be done in secrecy (no HRC/Yam factory, but instead 2 complete look-alike CRT-teams) so no news leaked out that HRC/yam pulled out and are replaced by slower teams/bikes. And IF these 2 teams would field the "aliens" or look-alike aliens who are also slightly better than the rest. who would notice ? The bikes would still be very very fast (can you ? can anyone ? tell that bikes need 2 more seconds to do a lap just by looking at the TV-screen or trackside on the racing track. I'm sure I couldn't) I'm sure 99% of all spectators wouldn't notice.

Total votes: 133

Secrecy? Look-alike aliens? C'mon, this is not dreamland it is discussions on MotoGP. If Honda and Yamaha pulled out it would not be possible to hide it and fool people as you suggest trying to do. Especially since when they list the qualifying times people will know they are slower than previous seasons. There would barely be any distinction between fast Moto2 times and slow MotoGP times. Or maybe they can just deduct 3 seconds form actual lap times to fool the sheep you seem to think fans are.

And yes, I can tell a 2 sec lap time difference while watching on TV. Its easy to tell when any rider is on a fast lap or not.

And you are missing my point. The factories have the money and are willing to spend it. Lose the factories and you lose the biggest source of cash and all the bling that it brings. Budgets will shrink, the paddock will shrink, and anyone who knows can tell you the way to grow a business is not to chase out the biggest resources.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 130

If the result was a set of rules amenable to Suzuki, Aprilia, BMW, Kawasaki and Ducati, as well as serious privateer entries. But I think Aprilia should have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. The choice is theirs whether they want to use the spec ecu or not.

I'd like to see fuel limits increased, but the problem then is the engineering challenges disappear for the factories. And also you might start to see really silly speeds if the total energy output of the bike isn't limited somehow. If and when a rev limit and spec ecu gets imposed that might mitigate the issue somewhat.

But what do we end up with then - fat, heavy MotoGP bikes with low rev ceilings. I think a 600cc formula with plenty of fuel and far lighter weight limits would be preferable. Rather than having big, heavy MotoGP bikes and expensively starving them of fuel, the emphasis being on extracting the max horsepower from small engines again. You still end up building more efficient engines but the cost for teams entering the series isn't as prohibitive, and the sound would be incredible!

Total votes: 146

it's all hypothetical, not meant to be ;-)

and it's not about the money factories are willing to spend, it's about the money outside-sponsors are willing to spend. and as long as there is a good show, those sponsors will pop up. those sponsors couldn't care less if the bikes are 2 or 5 sec slower.

Total votes: 126

There are a couple of energy drinks and Repsol. The current champ's team does not have a title sponsor for 3 years running. Dorna has been particularly ineffective in their lack of development of sponsorship opportunities.

Motorcycle racing has always been a niche market sport. It started through the largesse of rich European industrialists, continued with large amounts of tobacco and alcohol money, and how is on life support only waiting for the floor to fall out of the energy drink market. Dorna have again and again shown their inability to bring a major long term sponsors into the paddock.

So you are saying that removing the biggest brands from the sport will cause more sponsors to come in? How do you explain that?

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 123

automaticly asume Repsol would leave if HRC would leave, why ?
And why can't Yamaha attract a major sponsor ? maybe because the show given in return is shit ...

I don't know. all I know is that if someone/a team/a sponsor that was "big" in the sport pulled out, the sport (in general) always continued and the "pulled out one" was hardly missed ...

Total votes: 119

Yamaha employ the reigning world champion and a seven-times premier class champ with global fame; the factory can secure a sponsor. They choose, as Jarvis has explained, to keep Yamaha on the fairings b/c Yamaha is the brand they want to market most. They are not interested in pushing a cigarette company or an auto manufacturer for 7-digit-sums.

If a sponsor showed up with $20M, perhaps Yamaha would change their tune, but the shortage of 8-digit-sums can hardly be blamed on Dorna. The lack of sponsorship value is mostly attributable to the residual fallout caused by the half-baked 800cc formula and the strict fuel limitations. The 800cc formula brought a raft of nearly-scandalous rules changes and unpopular technical restrictions. As we all know by now, Dorna were perfectly happy to continue running the 990s with 24L of fuel, using such pragmatic, cheap restrictions as 5-gear-transmissions to keep the bikes within the runoff area. If the punters cried, the GPC could easily have mandated a useless 1st gear or 6th gear to keep the concept of 6-gear-transmission in play.

When you enter into an agreement with an organization, and you let them have control of the rulebook, supposedly to keep them happy and grow the B2B marketplace (sponsorship opportunity), you don't expect them to repay you by saying that they don't care about the show nor do they understand notion of sports competition. To be fair to the MSMA, they are royally pissed about the sale of the commercial rights in 2006, which put the sport in bad financial condition and cut into revenue-sharing. In the end, Dorna cannot overrule a European court nor can they tell CVC to accept less money than the market will offer, but the MSMA can stop with the shit technical regulations whenever they please.

Perhaps MotoGP is unfair or unjust or whatever you want to call it, but executives and directors are paid to produce successful ventures in all conditions and circumstances. Ezpeleta has saturated the Spanish market with races and TV contracts, and he has deleted Youtube vids to keep the Beeb happy (allegedly). Dorna have also slowly created what is probably the best online sports channel in the world. All of this in the name of money, which is their job according to you. Now Ezpeleta wants the rulebook.

I think the world is ready for the MSMA to stop sucking ass, but are the MSMA ready?

Total votes: 145

... neither do I want them to effectively stifle competition and make it almost a impossible for new factories to join. Participants shouldn't be part of rule making it doesn't work and will always favour the existing participants.

Suggesting somehow that money will be lost from the series is untrue, I suspect. Even this season Avintia seem to have one of the biggest hospitality suites and all teams have pretty, big and pretty big trucks.

There is so much talk of wanting cost cutting. All the factories claim to support this yet seem to be ensuring it cannot come about.

I have long thought the two series WSB and MotoGP should really be privateers adapting sports bikes (WSB) and prototypes developed by factories (GP). I still believe this could be reached but the situation now seems to support front factory teams and grid fillers in both series. It is this the factories currently involved want to protect.

When the rules ensure no manufacturers want to join and privateers can't afford to the situation is untenable.

Total votes: 112

... neither do I want them to effectively stifle competition and make it almost a impossible for new factories to join. Participants shouldn't be part of rule making it doesn't work and will always favour the existing participants.

Suggesting somehow that money will be lost from the series is untrue, I suspect. Even this season Avintia seem to have one of the biggest hospitality suites and all teams have pretty, big and pretty big trucks.

There is so much talk of wanting cost cutting. All the factories claim to support this yet seem to be ensuring it cannot come about.

I have long thought the two series WSB and MotoGP should really be privateers adapting sports bikes (WSB) and prototypes developed by factories (GP). I still believe this could be reached but the situation now seems to support front factory teams and grid fillers in both series. It is this the factories currently involved want to protect.

When the rules ensure no manufacturers want to join and privateers can't afford to the situation is untenable.

Total votes: 127

They could add a litre to the factory fuel max for next year rather than subtracting one, in which case Aprilia and possibly even Suzuki could enter.

uch a late change might not seem terribly fair to the existing triumvirate. Ducati, for example, could reasonably feel aggrieved if they trailed both newcomers.

But it could be a better show. (For 12 months or so, anyway.)

Total votes: 133

Should get together and sort out a suitably good software package that can compete with the factories - they would have more bikes/riders inputting data/ideas.
With a years collaboration ahead of the factories that should be a strong partnership/package and it seems that Aprilia will have to do it eventually.
Whatever Aprilia have software-wise will eventually become known or superseded anyway, so they just have to bite the bullet and commit.
With that package and the price point they will get a large enough contingent to make it worthwhile and the factories lock will be broken.
Then put 22 litres in , win/podium and get disqualified if necessary. Better to succeed and be disqualified than never succeed at all, with most fans not understanding what's holding them back.(Not sure if that could work at all/over a season, but....)

Total votes: 127

>>Aprilia/Marelli should get together and sort out a suitably good software package that can compete with the factories

Aprilia has already done this on their own with the RSV4 electronics but due to Dorna's rules can no longer enjoy the fruits of their labors. And why would Aprilia want to make all the information they obtained through testing and development available to MM and other teams?

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 136

In WSBK the rules are constantly tweaked to reduce factory dominance. In GP the rules are constantly tweaked to ensure factory dominance.

Hmmm. A half million euro bike that the team owns is nipping at the backsides of the rented 2 million euro machines? CRT looks like a very smart chess move by Dorna.

Total votes: 137

I wouldn't call it nipping.

At Sachsenring ART/Espargaro was between the factory Ducks when crossing the finish line.
At Assen ART/Espargaro was ahead of both.
At a number of other races (3?) ART/Espargaro was ahead of Yam/Smith.

At the big horsepower tracks (e.g. Mugello) the ART can't compete against even against the Ducks -- maybe the pneumatic valves will help, but I don't see how they can get away with 20L of fuel next year.

Looks to me like Yam/Honda/Duc have found an excellent way to crush the up-and-coming competition. First with Suzuki, and now Aprilia.

Total votes: 123

I've never quite understood the fuel limits, but I do understand that Honda/Yamaha could care less about the quality of the racing. They want championships and nothing else. I hope Aprilia can find a way to trim off that extra liter of fuel and beat them at their own game. All of the series are regulated, if you don't think Harley has a set of rules that insures their dominance in flat track, the you are mistaken.Aprilia has come along way since the "cube/fireball), give them all 21 and let them race.

Total votes: 132

I could be way off, but from the sources I've read, the fuel limits are Honda's doing. Honda is basically throwing down an engineering challenge knowing full well that they have more money to spend than everyone else. The engine limits were their idea too. Boycott Honda!

Total votes: 130

Yeah, ART's not a factory effort ...

I've read elsewhere that Aprilia is charging more like 1 million Euros for the bike that Espargaro and dePuniet are racing. 500,000 would be cheaper than the production-engined bastardizations that are running around at the back of the grid. Or it gets you the POS that Abraham is racing.

Engineers call it unintended consequences. In its desperation to cram its beloved save-all spec ECU/software into the class, Dorna has created a set of rules that will end up driving out Aprilia or making it less competitive. Or, to avoid that, you create yet another set of rules.

So now Honda, Yamaha and Ducati factory bikes will have one set of rules, their non-factory bikes another set of rules, and the 1.5 billion annual revenue Piaggio group will have a third set of rules.

It would be like watching a soccer match where players under 5'8" can shoot from X distance from the goal, players 5'8" to 6' can shoot from Y distance, and players 6' and taller can only take the field during the second half.

Jesus.

Total votes: 131

Found it. Roadracing World, July 2013 issue, p. 52, interview with (among others) Aspar team manager Jorge Martinez:

"The Aprilia costs (Euros) 1.2 million ($1.6 million) including engines and it keeps getting better, step by step."

Whether that means per rider or per bike the article does not say. Martinez seems to suggest that it is per rider later in the interview.

Is the Honda proddie racer at (Euros) 1.2 million per bike or per rider?

Total votes: 120

The 1.2 million price being quoted (all prices are always per rider, they are meaningless otherwise) is for the current year. It is my understanding that Aprilia is willing to make a big price cut for next year. Which in turn, tells you how profitable their ART program is this year.

Total votes: 118

Profitable, or perhaps:

- How willing the "non-factory" of Piaggio is to subsidize teams to get their machines on the grid, or

- How much money Piaggio Group already has spent on its electronics and engine package developing it in WSBK, money that it does not need to spend next year, or

- Even a reaction to the fact that, given the choice between the Honda proddie racer and the Aprilia machine at the same price next year, many teams won't even stop in Noale, so Aprilia is hanging out the "Memorial Day Non-Factory/Factory MotoGP Racer Blowout Sales Event" sign.

Hell, this is half the fun of speculating about factory involvement; when they sell something, no one on the outside has a real idea as to whether they are making a massive profit, a massive loss, or something in between.

Total votes: 134

managed to dominate 250GP, so that class became 600cc (Honda) four strokes. Then the Aprilias dominated 125GP class so that became 250cc Four strokes. Now their 'CRT' bikes are the dogs danglies in that class, and so the handicapping starts all over again.
Dorna is so beholden to MSMA that they don't have the balls to say 'go away and let us make the rules and then decide whether you want to compete or not'. Honda in particular have always spouted about wanting competition, but they only want it on their terms.
It's all bloody nonsense, isn't it?

Cheers
Barry

Total votes: 139

I call shenanigans on HRC/Yamaha.

Support your buddy Suzuki but not Aprillia? They obviously feel threatened.

The fuel limit only serves those with the most developed electronics. As the ART in its current spec uses nowhere near the 24 litre limit, then what is the benefit of this limit if in actual terms the factories only have to use slightly less?

It's also quite probable that the upgrades to the ART engine in a privateer bike could embarrass not only Ducati but also the leased M1 engined bikes and customer RCVs. To have an official MSMA entry doing the same to their factory bikes if conceded 22 litres would be too much to take. The concession would end after 2014 so what is their problem? HRC Yamaha want the electronics for the engineering challenge - well there it is. If the ART is too competitive out of the box in 2014 I'm sure the MSMA would have no qualms about ending that concession as early as possible. Dorna should listen and get more manufacturers on board ending their dependence on available competitive bikes from these guys.

Total votes: 134

Shockingly, I agree with morbidelli17. The Aspar ART is something quite different from the other ones. Espargaro is getting the absolute maximum out of it. You know how it is, the first steps are always the easiest ones. It's not hard finding a second a lap somewhere at the back.

But the cliff gets steeper. It would surprise me immensely if Aprilia manage to find more than three tenths a lap if they put in the 81mm bore and pneumatic valves. Don't get too excited, that thing won't ever be on the podium unless it rains or something catastrophic happens to 5/6 of the prototypes.

Total votes: 121

Yes, Suzuki got concessions but it was on a condition that they stay in MotoGP and they didn't hold up their end of the bargain - so Suzuki burned that bridge. Aprilia has to play by the same rules as everyone else. They need to either be a factory team or CRT team or STFU and GTFO.

Total votes: 134

Its with a little smile I'm reading all this support for plucky little Aprilia against the big bad establishment Honda and Yamaha bad men.

Aprilia ripped the ass out of 125's and 250's for years making huge profits on the back of teams who had no choice but put up with 5th / 6th hand spec kit from Aprilia for crazy prices whilst the Factory decided who won the world championship by what parts they where allowed to have;- the riders with the best kit seemed to be the ones who had the biggest fag packet budget behind them.

Allegedly.

I've got the same rose tinted memories of the two strokes as anyone else of a certain age. However, the final years of the smokers where terrible for competition and Aprilia at times behaved in what could be described as 'self serving' manner (could be called other things but we'll keep it clean)

Pity KTM didn't have the resources at the time to really put up the challenge they wanted too.

Sympathy? Nah, goes round comes round, Aprilia deserve a bit of karma biting them back.

Total votes: 137

That's what I thought.
Remember Lorenzos 250 cc championships in 06 and 07?
On which bike - a factory Aprilia. Can't remember any non-factory-Aprilia champ in the last years of 250cc.
In both years, 06 and 07, Dovi was 2nd and managed to grab race wins even though he was piloting a seriously underpowered Honda. But he never stood a serious chance at winning the championship. That was also due to the lacking support by Honda. They decided to stop developping the bike. But in those years, you either had a factory Aprilia, or you were fighting for a podium at max, more likely further down the ranks. And Aprilia was perfectly happy with that situation.

Total votes: 128

Hiroshi Aoyama was the last 250 champion. On a Honda. But I think aprillia had taken their toys home by that stage.

Total votes: 124

Yes, Aprilia in the end sort of dominated 125's and 250's (although the last 250 world champion was Aoyama on a Honda...), but that was simply because they made the best bikes within the rules as they already stood for many, many years. Apart from a very few minimum-weight changes, the regulations were very stable. And simple as well. Capacity, weight and number of cilinders and gears was just about all the boundaries there were.

There will always be a manufacturer that has the best bike at a given point in history, and in those last years it was Aprilia. So yes, they could charge more for their machinery. And they did. It is after all a company that wants to make money.

And let's not forget that part of the reason for their superiority was that they kept developing, while others did not want to invest because the GP bosses were talking about ending those categories for many years already. Not exactly a prospect that makes you want to invest your money in those classes. And then in the last year Dorna cs even said "You see we really need to replace this 250 class, there's only 24 permanent starters". While MotoGP had about 17...

KTM was seriously challenging for the 250cc championship in 2008, but then (understandably) pulled out for 2009 because it would be the last year and they did not want to waste money on development anymore.

Blaming Aprilia for the teams not having much choice seems very ironic to say the least.

Total votes: 119

What's with all the rule changes every dam year.. It's all their fault Suzuki isn't return for yet another season making develop more for better use of fuel... Who gives a damn about fuel or electronics .. Dayan 75% of the bike electronics and that's only the CRT imagine Yamaha factory or hrc.. Idk why they couldn't just leave the field alone like back before there was only 10% electronics just mainly the basic things I think we need to go back to from 2007 and back that's when it was a great sport now it's been trashed with all these CRT non entry msma crap n they should have kept the bike setup like before. If Yamaha and Honda leave that will preatty much be a big hole in Dorna and probably after Rossi retires idk how many people will have a passion for motogp again.. I say just lock the rules for 20 years n be the motogp it once was..

Total votes: 120

I think the main reason for these "new" rules are to keep Aprilia at bay and let MSMA sell their "production" engines and chassis for the 2014 season. Already HRC said that they had not sold all of their new engines to the privateers, IMO.

Total votes: 123

Once again, thank you David for this. However I am surprised at the news the Aprilia MotoGP bikes are sold for half a million Euros. It would be interesting to learn what the Althea and Red Devils Roma teams are paying for the Aprilia V4s they currently race in the Superbike World Championship. I had heard around 1 million Euro. And that may be a lease fee?

One would expect the engineers at Aprilia would have already been busy testing their engine with Dorna-supplied spec software, written by Magneti Marelli for the spec ECU. Isn't that basically what Karel Abraham is currently riding, along with the Paul Bird Motorsport team's Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty? So there are three Aprilia V4 engined bikes racing with the spec ECU and software and two racing with Aprilia's own electronics. It is the latter that are competitive but Aprilia may have access to the data from the other three bikes.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays. Hasn't Jorge Martinez indicated he is also weighing up the option of running a pair of Honda V4s next year, in place of the Aprilias?

Finally, I cannot let bultacofan's comment pass without response. The claim made is: "All of the series are regulated, if you don't think Harley has a set of rules that insures their dominance in flat track, then you are mistaken."

Actually it is bultacofan who is horribly mistaken. Those who bother to read rules will know that the 43-year-old push-rod, air-cooled, two valves per cylinder XR750 engine has to race with air intake restrictors while water-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve 650cc twins have no intake restrictors. This is because the XR750 motor is now considered a “purpose-built racing engine” – even though when it was produced, it met the AMA’s own rules as a "production-based" engine (derived from the 883 Sportster from 1969) to meet the Class C regulations that came into effect in 1970.

These intake restrictors have varied from 33mm (in 1987), down to 27mm, then to 33, then to 32 – which is where it currently is.

Would bultacofan care to elaborate how this intake restriction on a 43-year-old engine is designed to ensure Harley-Davidson's dominance in flat track?

If he was at the Sacramento mile he may just have noted that half the 32 bikes entered were NOT in fact Harley-Davidsons. He may also have noted that the race was not won by a Harley, and third place also went to another brand. So c'mon bultacofan, pony up!

Total votes: 119

http://www.motorsportsetc.com/champs/ama_gn.htm

Pretty sure it was Harley who asked for the restrictor plates so that Honda would stop beating them those rules took effect in 1988 if I'm not mistaken. If you think a factory backed XR750 motor is remotely related to a 1969 883 it is you that are mistaken("when it was produced" indicates that it is in fact a purpose built motor and not a production motor, it has to be currently produced to be production) Last I checked I can buy a Versys or an SV but not and XR at the dealership. The fact that they are now getting beat by modded sv650 motors at a fraction of the cost is exactly why they are now calling for the restrictors to be removed. BTW they run 33's on the mile. Wasn't trying to start a personal pissing match just pointing out that manufacturers have always sought out rules that benefit them and sometimes it comes back to bite them.

Total votes: 116

Is there any info on CRT engine usage/life, we keep hearing of 12 engines for the season. Do they use them all? I recall seeing at one GP Esparago was 10 Ks faster than any other Aprillia/CRT (280 odd vs 270 odd) Qualifing Engine Perhaps? I think if Hon/Yam were to leave in a hissy fit, by that time WSBK will be slowed to somewhere near Super Stock speed so the "best" riders will still find MotoGP the pinacle of the sport and technically the most interesting. The Factories have left before and undoubtably will do so again, the same thing happens in most forms of motorsport. They achieve their goal`s or new managment comes in hey presto no overt racing for a while. But the show go`s on. Just my point of view.
Thank`s Beamer12

Total votes: 127

Touring car racing has used ballast as handicap to keep the racing close, minimise the value of over spending and to allow the best drivers to demonstrate their skill. Could performance handicaps not be implemented in motoGP by taking fuel off riders based on their performance in the last round? It would give exposure to the minor teams who might get higher up the grid or even make the podium from time to time, and might provide encouragement to new or returning teams and manufacturers. It might also prevent the manufacturers choosing who they will equip with competitive machines. You could possibly weight championship points so that a race win on 20litres scored more than a win on 22?

Re the historic exemptions granted to Suzuki, it was clear they weren't about to start winning just because they had run out of engines and needed more of the same. In the current case of aprillia, they could threaten the big boys if allowed to race under 'third way' rules, so I can understand the resistance.

Total votes: 130

...so many of the rules dreamt up, is that it is making rules to plaster over the problems with rules that have already been made. Less rules will always be the preferred option.

Total votes: 119

What about tires? Do the ART bikes typically use the softer CRT-only option tire, or are they using the same tires the prototypes do? That's another potentially big handicap if they're currently using the CRT tire, though they at least have the "standard" tires to develop with this season.

Wouldn't the tires be the easiest way to regulate all this? Simply take away the harder "prototype" options and let everyone run the CRT tire. Sure the prototypes would be much faster in the short term, but they'd shag those tires relatively quickly and go backwards in a hurry, at least to my thinking.

Total votes: 130

For the MSMA to make 'fuel' one of their goals does suck for the sport in general but this is what helps make MotoGP relevant to their company.

I would instead prefer to open up other areas of exploration in engineering:

  • ABS (more and more important especially in nanny states)
  • Active Suspension
  • Twin Clutch transmissions (yes, there are ways of having affordable zero shift :P)
  • 12 engines
  • allow any hardware/software package (however see, item below)
  • Ban location/distance sensor mapping only allow mapping based on bike lean/throttle position (must be consistent or with limited manual adjustment)
  • REMOVE all fuel restrictions

There, MotoGP Solved. :)

Total votes: 135

Ban location/distance sensor mapping only allow mapping based on bike lean/throttle position (must be consistent or with limited manual adjustment)

+1

Total votes: 120

Ban location/distance sensor mapping only allow mapping based on bike lean/throttle position (must be consistent or with limited manual adjustment)

+1

Total votes: 112

Dare I speculate . . . Nicky Hayden on a Factory Aprilia????? Dorna isn't going to want to lose their top American rider in the series. They DO WANT to attract more manufactures to the series. So . . . pull the strings!! Get Hayden and Espargaro on a Factory Aprilia team and upset the whole apple cart!!

Total votes: 127

The FIM need to step up and stop taking a back seat in the rules. They should tell Honda and Yamaha to suck it up and allow Aprilia and Suzuki 22L with 9 engines for the first year or two but on the condition they have to join the grid in 2014.

The racing this year has been great, thanks to Vale, Marc and Cal, but we need more factory seats for good riders.

Total votes: 119

Many of the readers of this site will be well aware of the effects of fuel load on a race bike as we have heard from all the top Yamaha riders this season. Fuel is heavy and too much of it will slow you down fast! Because of this fact imposing fuel limits can only be a political gambit to eliminate competition as Mr. Emmitt has stated. Even without fuel limits it behooves teams to devise ways of using less of it to gain a competitive edge. Dorna should immediately challenge the MSMA using all means at it's disposal to end fuel limits. This will increase the number of competing manufacturers which can only benefit the series and strenghten Dorna's and the FIM's control of the series.

Total votes: 117

Hey, remember that Dorna signed off on the fuel limits sought by Honda, Yamaha and Ducati. No one held a gun to Dorna's head.

Dorna agreed because it was what the MSMA wanted in exchange for Dorna's beloved spec ECU/software, and Dorna was willing to pay whatever price was being asked in exchange for the spec ECU/software. Do you really think Dorna had no idea of the impact that the new fuel/engine limits would have? Come on. Dorna foresaw the impact just as well as us yahoos who post here. And that impact was acceptable to Dorna.

All this rage aimed at HRC, Yam and Duc is misplaced, IMHO. It was a negotiated deal, and one started by Dorna and its belief that spec electronics would save MotoGP.

Edit: DE linked to the Cycle World piece with Davide Brivio on the Suzuki MotoGP project. 20 liters of fuel is a problem. But an equally large problem is being forced to switch from the Mitsubushi electronics "which are working quite well" to the Magneti Marelli spec ECU demanded by Dorna. "20 liters and Marelli ECU will require more time," Brivio says.

Total votes: 103

couldn't a spec ECU control fuel delivery and in turn the need for more, down the road when it's not the factories code...? seems like a rule that tries to have an "intended" consequence (just me)

Total votes: 115

I am not privy to the dealings between Dorna and the MSMA but I think hard fuel limits are not a productive regulation in racing because it eliminates competitors rather than being a performance differentiator between them.

Total votes: 121

Fuel economy makes much more sense as a performance differentiator when fuel stops are part of the race sequence. For a sprint race as GP is (barring flag to flag of course), it simply becomes a barrier to entry. I'll add spec tires to this list as well, just one more engineering variable that is taken away, thereby creating a scenario where all development paths converge into a more singular direction.

Total votes: 122