Launch control banned, practices shortened as MotoGP reduces costs

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MotoGP_2009_rules.jpgPhoto: Milagro

MotoGP is banning the use of launch control, limiting the use of other electronics and reducing the number and duration of practice sessions in an effort to make racing cheaper for the remaining teams involved. Last month Kawasaki pulled out of the series citing costs and its rumored several other major manufacturers have struggled to justify the expense. The problem is that while cutting costs is a sensible goal, the new rules may be ineffective at doing so.
Here’s the new rules:

1. Standard time schedule

13:05-13:45 125cc Free Practice 1
14:05-14:50 MotoGP Free Practice 1
15:05-15:50 250cc Free Practice 1

09:05-09:45 125cc Free Practice 2
10:05-10:50 MotoGP Free Practice 2
11:05-11:50 250cc Free Practice 2
13:05-13:45 125cc Qualifying Practice
14:05-14:50 MotoGP Qualifying Practice
15:05-15:50 250cc Qualifying Practice

08:40-09:00 125cc Warm Up
09:10-09:30 250cc Warm Up
09:40-10:00 MotoGP Warm Up
11:00 125cc Race
12:15 250cc Race
14:00 MotoGP Race

2. From Czech GP, maximum 5 engines can be used in 8 races. No changing of parts will be permitted except daily maintenance.

3. Ceramic composite materials are not permitted for brakes disc or pads.

4. Launch control system is not permitted.

5. Electronic controlled suspension is not permitted.

6. Only 2 post race tests at Catalunya and Czech GP for development purposes using test riders only are permitted.

We’re confused as to how these are actually meant to reduce costs. The
loss of a Friday morning practice session simply mandates extra
testing, as does the engine longevity rule. Rather than detuning
engines for reliability, teams will seek to maintain, if not increase,
engine performance all while making them more reliable. That means even
more development and testing.

The ban on ceramic brake ban makes little since until you consider
Dorna’s indication that 2010 will bring a ban on the currently used
carbon discs. A move to steel would seem to trim the costs of exotic
brake materials, but will once again require significant development
and testing.

Electronically controlled suspension isn’t currently used, but it’s a
shame to see a potential massive performance and safety aid for road
bikes that could have been developed in racing fall by the wayside.

As proven by Formula One car racing, a ban on traction control will
prove exceptionally difficult to enforce, encouraging teams to find an
advantage by hiding such a system deep within the bikes’ electronics,
meriting further investment.

With BMW and Aprilia entering SBK this year, we’re increasingly
thinking we’re going to devote our TV time and plane rides to that

via MotoGP

  • Mark

    I scanned this with a mild hangover and saw the words “shortened” and “reduces costs” and then I saw the picture and I thought it would be funny if the article was about a manufacturer who cut costs by shortening the front forks, the only problem is the wheel doesn’t reach the ground.

  • Scott

    WSBK is where it’s at.
    MotoGP is not the manly man racing it once was.

    BRING BACK THE 500′s

  • will

    WSBK to MotoGP is like GP2 to F1. Ain’t the pinnacle-pinnacle of technology, but great racing all the time.

    • EJ25RUN

      To Will…..No your comparison does not work.

      WSBK is to Motogp in the way a GT1 Vette is to a LeMans prototype.

      Steet bikes (built) vs full on prototypes.

      And yeah, if you watched both seasons last year, outside of Laguna Seca’s Motogp, the WSBK season was much more action packed.

      I agree, i am way more excited about 09 WSBK season. Reminds me of 95-96 when Foggy, Slight, and Chili were the ones to watch.

  • monkeyfumi

    It won’t work.
    Test riders only at post race tests? So now you have to fly in other riders to a place where your best rider won the day before? Seems cheap to me.
    No carbon brakes from 2010? Furosawa from Yamaha has already said they will just develop “unobtanium” steel brakes.
    Multiple race engines really cut costs in F1 didn’t they…
    As for WSBK, can’t people see that it is headed in a similar direction? I’d love to know where I can find a Yamaha R1 with $10000 Ohlins, Brembo Monoblocks, carbon bodywork and Marelli electronics from the showroom floor. Oh, and they get rebuilt in under 1000 miles. Production based my ass.
    Yes, their costs are offset by the sales of road bikes, but if things keep going this way, it won’t be long before the pinch hits WSBK too.

  • Carlos

    laissez faire…

    I guess there are two ways to look at this…regulate the class until it looks like some off shoot supersport class that can be affordable to all makers and teams…

    or let the dogs loose…

    and let the engineers and the race teams try to outspend each other with the technology and development till they suffocate each other with rising costs.

    the benefit to option 1:
    more racing teams, more competition (more wins to racing talent, but to the loss of great new tech)

    option 2:
    huge advancements in tech by behemoth monster companies(until one maker stands), but wins achieved by engineers and not necessarily racers..

    -long live club racing…