MotoGP has changed a lot in recent seasons, with the centre of gravity appearing to have shifted from Japan to Europe in a very short time. In fact, we often forget that from 2008 to 2021 there was an incessant dominance of the Japanese manufacturers, before Ducati returned to winning a world championship in 2022. But Honda, dominating with Marquez until 2019, seems to have evaporated. Suzuki, which gave Mir the title in 2020 and won the last race in 2022, withdrew and Yamaha, champion with Quartararo in 2021, insists on using an M1 that is now in net horsepower debt to rival bikes .
Today the most competitive bikes are Ducati, KTM and Aprilia and Rins' victory in Austin with Honda was only the result of a series of factors that are unlikely to be repeated this year. Many in the paddock are worried that this drop in competitiveness could also convince the two surviving Japanese manufacturers to abandon their commitment to MotoGP and above all nobody likes the idea of having champions like Marquez and Quartararo trudging around the track.
As reported by Speedweek, Dorna is fully aware of the importance of restoring balance between competitors, and it seems that something is moving to obtain changes in the current scenario. From a certain point of view, the scenario recalls the one experienced by Ducati after the Stoner era, when the Borgo Panigale manufacturer found itself having to deal with a bike that was indigestible to any rider. The Open era began, with bikes on which it was possible to intervene massively during the season to try to bring the fastest on the track closer together. More private testing, more engine freedom, plenty of room to manoeuvre for any engineer to use wisely.
Having access to this possibility, Ducati quickly returned to the top as early as 2015, when the first concrete signs of a newfound competitiveness arrived with the first real bike designed by Dall'Igna. Giving Honda and Yamaha a similar advantage today would seem to be the only solution to speed up a rapprochement between these two manufacturers at the top of the standings.
The concessions rule still exists, but now no manufacturer takes advantage of it with Aprilia being the last to get rid of this advantage through its results. Honda's 2022 podiums with Espargarò and Marquez, and Rins' victory in Austin this year, wiped out any possibility of having concessions at the end of the season. Quartararo's podium in Austin also dispelled this possibility for Yamaha.
Dorna is therefore reported to be asking Ducati, KTM and Aprilia to grant concessions to Honda and Yamaha ahead of time, probably to avoid the risk that the two giants really decide to give up their commitment in MotoGP. But will these European manufacturers be in favour of granting this advantage?
Ducati has already vetoed the possibility of changing the format of the race weekend from this season. The idea was to make only the FP2 session valid for direct access to Q2, leaving FP1 in the role of a free practice session, with no implications on the classification. Ducati didn't want to accept, aware today that it has a clear technical advantage that it wants to maintain.
Massimo Rivola of Aprilia responded clearly to Speedweek on the issue of concessions for the Japanese: "They don't meet the requirements to get 'concessions', so we won't accept."
In short, the road ahead appears long and certainly an exhausting tug of war would do no one any good. On the one hand there is Japanese pride, but on the other there is also the pride of those who have worked hard to obtain technical dominance and the words spoken by Davide Tardozzi in our last Bar Sport come to mind (see the video HERE): "If you have the balls, you work and try to get back in front, otherwise you run away".