The debate on the future of MotoGP continues in full force. On the one side of the argument, those who believe that the factories' freedom to develop electronics should not be constrained, and on the other side, those who say that technology has to be reined in to control costs, and increase the spectacle. On one side of the argument stand the manufacturers, led by Honda; on the other side stand the teams, with Dorna at the helm.
Or at least, that's the way it seems from the outside. The reality behind the politics of MotoGP is far more labyrinthine than it appears. The impending decision of Ducati to switch to being an Open class entry (officially, to be taken only after tests at Sepang, but well-informed sources suggest the decision has been all but taken) has cracked the lid on some of the politics, offering a glimpse of the power structures which underly the rule-making process. With Ducati poised to break ranks with the other manufacturers, the MotoGP series could be set to take an entirely different direction.
Yesterday, leading US magazine Cycle World published one of the best analyses of the situation I have read for years. Veteran technical journalist and eminence grise in the world of motorcycle racing Kevin Cameron lays out with incisive clarity how the current status quo came about, and how Ducati's decision to go Open could upset the delicate balance of power. For anyone interested in why MotoGP is the way it is today, it should be compulsory reading.
The article also links nicely with another piece on the German-language website Speedweek. There, Gunther Wiesinger takes a wider view of the subject, and talks to Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal about Yamaha's view of the Open class. If Yamaha were also to abandon their opposition to limits on electronics, then that would leave Honda standing alone, with a decision to make on their future participation.
With the first MotoGP test of the year due to start next week at Sepang, the new Open class will be a prime topic of conversation. In the run up to the test, we wil be publishing a number of articles explaining the rule changes, and what impact they will have. I will then be flying to Sepang to cover the test in person.