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Formerly WYD OPN
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The racing management people representing the motorcycle manufacturers involved in MotoGP have generally dealt with each other with a measure of respect and civility. This is still a business after all, and maintaining a professional level of dialogue helps ensure that the business of racing continues smoothly and efficiently for all involved.

The dialogue hasn’t been all that friendly lately, however. Talks between the MSMA representatives for each manufacturer have begun to determine the schedule and procedure for input on designing the “common software” to be mandated for use in 2016 by all competitors. Part of the agreement with the MSMA and MotoGP rightsholders Dorna to continue allowing proprietary software until the 2016 season was that the manufacturers would work together to design the common software to be implemented that year, thereby in theory preventing a manufacturer from being left at a disadvantage. But at the most recent meeting held during the Jerez GP weekend, sources say that the dialogue became heated between certain representatives of HRC and Ducati.

The Japanese OEM representatives were said to be proposing that all software development be frozen by midseason 2015 as part of the transition to the implementation of the common software in 2016. This did not sit well with Ducati’s race boss Gigi Dall’Igna, who stated that agreeing to freeze software development at a specified date with Ducati still struggling to be competitive would be counterproductive.

“Their proposal was to freeze the 2015 software and start working from that point...I can’t accept this,” said Dall’Igna. “I need to continue developing our software along the next season. I cannot accept finishing seventh or eighth throughout 2015; I need to be able to work to do it better. They wanted to freeze the development and Ducati simply can’t accept it. It’s a Japanese proposal we do not share.”

Although sources say that Dall’Igna was non-committal on joining the group responsible for designing the common software, the Italian denied it when we spoke with him afterward. “No, it is not like this,” Dall’Igna responded. “It is not that Ducati was undecided. What happened is that the Japanese wanted to create that software and I opposed because Ducati has to participate absolutely in this process. If we don’t, it cannot be called a ‘common’ electronics.” HRC’s Shuhei Nakamoto was said to be particularly incensed by Dall’Igna’s somewhat aloof attitude toward the group's proposal.

The increasing friction between HRC and Ducati stems from what the Japanese firm feels has been exploitation of the “spirit of the rules” concerning what exactly constitutes an “Open class” MotoGP machine. After producing a handful of examples of its $1.6 million RCV1000R “production” Open class racebike last year to insinuations by HRC personnel that it was only 0.3 seconds per lap slower than the Factory class RC213V prototype, the reality has turned out much differently. The performance gap between the Factory and production bike has proven to be far larger, and has left the three riders on the RCV1000R (Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama of the Drive M7 Aspar team, and Scott Redding of the Gresini Honda squad) struggling to even make the top ten.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that Yamaha and Ducati’s approach to the Open class has been entirely different, with their Open class riders usually finishing ahead of the RCV1000R pilots—and this has caused much consternation within the halls of HRC. Instead of producing a complete machine for sale as Honda did, Yamaha decided to lease engines to prospective teams to be installed in a privately built chassis. Giovanni Cuzari’s NGM Forward Racing team leased the Yamaha engines to be installed in an FTR chassis; but personnel issues with FTR caused that chassis delivery to be delayed, so Dorna OK’ed Yamaha to let the team use the old M1 factory chassis—basically making the bikes that Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards are riding de facto Factory machines using the Open class spec software...but gaining the possible advantage of extra fuel and softer tires.

Ducati caused even more red faces in the Honda camp when it declared that it all its riders would compete in the Open class for 2014. Because engine and chassis development are frozen in the Factory class, and with Ducati surely planning on changes in those areas throughout the season, the Italian manufacturer decided it was better to work with the spec software and continue work on its engine and chassis in order to regain competitiveness. That Ducati team rider Andrea Dovisioso has already scored a podium finish at Austin surely hasn’t sat well with HRC.

Thus, HRC has decided enough is enough. As a measure of revenge, HRC will produce a full Factory bike—but using the Open class software—to be given to the top RCV1000R rider at what will likely be the Motegi GP, to be used for the rest of the season. By doing this, Honda is hoping to have one of its riders win the Open class for 2014.

The Gresini and Cecchinello satellite Honda teams are obviously against this move, as it is quite possible that the extra power from the engine and softer tires (the extra fuel allotted won’t really matter because the factory bike’s fuel tank capacity is only 20 liters—unless HRC decides to attach a larger fuel tank) will allow the bike to beat the satellite team riders. But Honda is bent on exacting some sort of revenge.

With Ducati and Honda at odds regarding the 2016 software development, Dorna and the MotoGP Commission are reportedly not taking any chances, and are proceeding with their own software development program in case the MSMA cannot come to an agreement.

530 Posts
:) I love it.
I feel like I am watching a show like "the real housewives ", except at least I get a race instead of a commercial:p
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