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MotoGP, Single electronics: the same for everyone but with a touch of... Raphael

PART TWO Corrado Cecchinelli speaks: "Racing is all about going fast. HP and speed are not a problem. It shouldn't come down to the money invested"

MotoGP: Single electronics: the same for everyone but with a touch of... Raphael

Ideally, the racing world would enjoy a certain degree of regulatory stability.
Without the continuous changes, the development costs resulting from any sudden shake-ups would be reduced.

We'll leave the long-standing issue of aerodynamics until the next test in Thailand. One of the most important changes in MotoGP recently has been the introduction of obligatory single ECU and software.

Moving from a Marelli ECU to Dorna software has in fact reduced that gap in performance between factory and satellite teams.
But the difference hasn't been totally eliminated, given that the riders themselves are talking about the continuous development of software…

ELECTRONICS: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING... RAPHAEL - “Though everyone has the same basic software, it is powerful and complex and its calibration results in big differences -  explains Corrado Cecchinelli, Technology Director for the world championship, in this second part of an interview carried out during the recent Sepang test - it's like giving a piece of paper and a pencil to a 'normal' person and to Raphael: the basic tools are the same, but they will each use and exploit them differently”.

So the importance of being able to have a department dedicated to the development of electronics remains key. Particularly now that the engine unleash power in the range of 280 HP…

HORSEPOWER AND SPEED ARE NOT A DANGER - “Are you asking me if there should be a crackdown? - replies Cecchinelli - I'll answer by saying that racing is also about going fast, not slow, but without exaggerating. Everything is done in relation to the tracks at which we race and, right now, I don't see that the engines and relative top speeds pose an urgent safety issue. I think that the danger, still now, comes from corner speed and contact between riders. Reducing engine power has never guaranteed greater safety. Whether you head down the straight at 350 km/h or 330 km/h, nothing changes. If anything, i'd like to introduce a rev limiter that would contain development and management costs - each engine would cost less and last longer. Also, with a limiter, we could also look at more contained fuel consumption. Which would be useful in terms of standard production”.

Today, in reality, some production bikes are perhaps even more advanced than the race bikes. The Panigale V4 for example has ABS cornering as standard, missing from the GP bikes.... So why aren't we using tried and tested technologies like ABS in racing?

PRODUCTION BIKES MORE ADVANCED THAN THE PROTOTYPES - There are many technical and technological aspects that mean certain production bikes are more advanced than the race bikes. Philosophically-speaking, racing series have to combine two fundamental aspects. The first is marketing: those racing do so in order to sell a higher number of bikes and they don't necessary take part in the championship with the highest level of technology but rather in that which has the greatest advertising and interest from the media and public. The other reason has to do with the fact that the most interesting races see the involvement of the biggest names, so the most important manufacturers in the sector, interested in technical and technological freedom. The MotoGP works from this standpoint. It allows those who participate significant room to propose and develop their technologies, so we wouldn't be opposed to new technologies proposed by manufacturers, things such as ABS, electronic suspension, robotic gearing.... we will open the door, but our approval will always come with an eye to containing costs. While the money available is of course important, it shouldn't be that the richest or he who spends the most wins in MotoGP . We would like a certain balance”.

Moto2, which is the exact opposite thanks to a standard engine, makes for an enjoyable show, but is of little interest to purists.

MISUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN CLASSES. RIDE BY WIRE ARRIVES IN MOTO2 - “There is a basic misunderstanding - we shouldn't compare today's categories to those of the past. Or rather: Moto3 is not 125, Moto2 is not 250 and MotoGP is not this era's 500. It's different now and we shouldn't think that moving up in category means also moving up in terms of technology. Moto3 is more technological and technical than Moto2; the Middle Class was established in order to retain contained costs and budgets, encouraging teams that didn't want to spend crazy amounts to sign up. This category makes sense from a business standpoint: many teams want to take part but we don't have enough spaces available. In effect, though, Moto2 is in need of a certain technical realignment compared to Moto3 and MotoGP: it will remain a single engine category - with the arrival of Triumph as supplier in 2019 - but we will introduce some new technical features, particularly in terms of engine management. The chassis will remain a free choice, while engine management will see a step up, technologically speaking, with the introduction of the ride by wire system. Costs won't increase, only the technical level, which will be closer to that of the other two categories. Moto2 will be more technological than Moto3, completing the ideal scale of growing value from class to class”.

Are you not worried about the reliability of the Triumph engines?

FROM HONDA TO TRIUMPH - “We are carrying out many tests together with the English firm. Sure, with the Honda supply, we have reached truly excellent levels of reliability, and we will work in order to have the same guarantees from the Triumph three-cylinders”.

What should we expect to see in the racing world's in the short-term?

THE FUTURE OF RACING - “You should expect an electric bike (he laughs). In 2019 we will introduce the electric category and it will be a 'single everything' similar to the Red Bull Cup in concept. I was involved in the decision regarding the supplier. The Energica project is big and important, the first three seasons will see the same supply for everyone. There is great potential. After three seasons, the door may open to new electric bike brands and manufacturers. Is three years with the same supply going to too long? I think that technical stability pays off in terms of entertainment”.


Translated by Heather Watson

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