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Thursday, 11 February 2016
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MotoGP, Factory teams allowed to go Open anytime?

- MotoGP

Nicky Hayden - GPOne.com The MotoGP soup is overcooking in the Dorna’s cauldron but the cook is haphazardly adding new ingredients everyday. A GP Commission meeting regarding the birth of the Factory 2 (class? sub-class? category?) was supposed to have been held on Tuesday this week. The conditional mood is necessary because the meeting has been delayed to maybe this afternoon maybe tomorrow, not sure that either.

In the meanwhile voices of another rules’ “updating” going-on have leaked out, to make things just a bit more confusing. In the maybe-today-maybe-tomorrow meeting it should be discussed the possibility for the teams that entered the Championship under the Factory Option, to change to the Open or Factory 2 option, as they please, during the season.

The Factory 2 option, unofficial announced by Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta in an interview to a Spanish newspaper (!), had already evoked surprise and abashment (“We are not very happy with that” had recently said Ducati Gen. Manager Gigi Dall’Igna) and now this new (possible) bombshell makes the MotoGP 2014 Championship becoming more and more similar to a science fiction B-movie.

At this point a short resume is due. So far:

The Teams racing under Factory rules can use 5 engines during the season and all of them will have to be sealed at the first venue, in Qatar. Fuel allowance: 20 litres.

The Teams racing under Open rules can use 12 engines, but more importantly their engines aren’t sealed (if they want, they can adjust bore and stroke). Fuel allowance: 24 litres.

The Teams racing under Factory 2 rules (yet not officially either confirmed or announced) “should be” able to use 9 (not sealed) engines. Fuel allowance: 22,5 litres.

The dead-line for the teams for taking their the final decision on the entry option choice was Feb. 28th. Today we understand that that decision could be not so final after all.

Honda had already pushed for the Factory 2 rule introduction and now, probably, is asking for some more guarantees (and in this case Yamaha is probably on the same line). The chance to move from Factory to Open anytime during the season is a sort of reserve parachute for the Japanese Constructors. Kind of playing poker with your opponent’s cards up front.

Inevitably, some mischievous questions come to mind. What if a team breaks a bit too many engines? Will it simply swap to another category to avoid the penalization? Same goes if someone find the 20 litres limit too tough to respect: why not to move to the Factory 2 or Open category, according to which is more suitable to his needs in that moment?

It would be pretty simple, in case of need, to escape the Factory rule restrictions. We must not lose sight of the fact that all the limits of the Factory rule have been imposed by Honda, always at the very forefront with the pursuing of new restricting rules to make his Engineers to “play with”.

Now, jokes apart, the MotoGP is sinking in a rules-mayhem not quite justifiable just one week to the start of the Championship.

Of course this new move, if confirmed, would bring Ezpeleta more and more close to accomplish his final target: an all Open MotoGP class. But if Machiavelli got to be quite famous with his “the ends justify the means”, he didn’t have to respond to the fans who buy GP tickets or Pay TV and that just want to enjoy a good show, correctly rules-based and easy to understand.

Translated by Federica De Zottis