Third Class Added to MotoGP

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MotoGP Third Class Added

There will now be a third class in this year’s MotoGP series after Ducati, as anticipated, decided to switch from the mainstream Factory class to become an Open entrant.

The 18-round world series, which kicks off with the season opener with at the Grand Prix of Qatar on Sunday 23 March, had already confirmed there would be the regular Factory class for manufacturers using their own ECU software and a second Open category for bikes all running controlled Magneti Marelli electronics.

However, it now appears there is going to be Factory 2 class that maybe just for Ducati, which will sit between the Factory and Open categories.


Essentially, Factory 1 teams are permitted 20 liters (5.28-gallons) of fuel a race and five engines for the season. Bikes in the Open class can use 24 liters (6.3-gallons) of fuel a race and have access to 12 engines for the year, but must all use the Magneti Marelli software. Plus Open entrants get access to a softer rear tire option and unlike the Factory 1 class there is no freeze on engine development.

However, after Ducati’s recent decision to run in the Open class, the Honda team stated it was “not happy” and felt that despite the controlled electronics Ducati could still have an unfair advantage this season.

Consequently, there is now a third class in this year’s MotoGP – Factory 2  – the details of which were confirmed this week by MotoGP Chief Carmelo Ezpeleta, who said: “”From this Tuesday there’ll be a third avenue: Factory 2, which Ducati will be in. The FIM and Dorna have presented the proposal to the Grand Prix Commission and FIM, Dorna, IRTA and MSMA are going to approve it.”

Therefore, if Ducati, or for that matter any other Open team, scores a race win, two seconds or three thirds they are immediately promoted into the Factory 2 class were they will be limited to 22.5-litres of fuel per race and nine engines for the season. But under the Open class rules teams will be still allowed to continue develop engines and have access to a wider choice of tires than Factory 1 entrants.

Sounds to us it’s all extremely complicated and has been created to keep Ducati in MotoGP while trying to appease the fears of the other manufacturers running in Factory 1 that the Italians do not have advantage. We’ll have a better idea of how all this is going to work when the season kicks of in Qatar at the end of the month.

  • Stef

    It should be time to add a Moto GP mixed class, And get the rules so that the Zero-Emission bikes can join in versus the fuel bikes.
    Time to add some futuristic tech to Moto GP and not just improving what you got.

    • Justin McClintock

      Except that no zero emissions bike would have a snowball’s chance in a volcano of even finishing on the lead lap.

      • Stef

        They are getting pretty fast:

        Plus getting them in a regular Moto GP season would mean a big increase in value for the electric* companies.

        *(or otherwise powered)

        • Justin McClintock

          That bike had to run at that pace for 10 minutes. Try getting it to run at that pace for 20 laps, say a half hour or so, with anything approaching available technology and get back to me. And besides, I didn’t see any MotoGP level bikes take to Pikes Peak. Not a detail to overlook.

          • Stef

            Isn’t motorsports supposed to race new technologies to show what they can do?
            I just think it’s time to be pushing the limit of something else than gas powered bikes. They have a long way to go, but the Electric victory at Pikes Peak is just the start.

            • Justin McClintock

              The inherent issue here is that to make the electric bikes competitive with the gas powered bikes wouldn’t mean advancing the electric bikes right now as you simply cannot advance them enough. It would mean handicapping the gas powered bikes severely. Nobody wants to see that. At least nobody who actually likes racing anyway.

              • Innis O’Rourke

                But the premise here is that it will eventually trump gas. “The light steam car developed simultaneously with cars powered by internal combustion engines, as both engineering and road building matured. As the steam car could use the vast experience of steam engines already developed with steam locomotives, it initially had the advantage. In 1900 the steam car was broadly superior and even held absolute land speed records. By 1920 the internal combustion engine had progressed to a degree of refinement that made the steam car obsolete.”

                replace steam with ICE and ICE’s with electric and your looking at the current era. Gas is winning because the majority of R & D is funneling into it. its got experience and momentum on its side. Electric bikes will start to get some lasting power or some quick swapping batteries for pit stops or something along those lines.

                • Stef

                  That’s right Innis! What if there would be space in de racing rules so that zero-emission bikes can compete alongside gas powered moto gp bikes. Not now but in a couple years the table may be changed. And meanwhile zero-emission companies would enjoy publicity what in turn would help integrate these bikes into the economy

                • Justin McClintock

                  And that’s fine….eventually. But we’re nowhere near that point yet, and handicapping the existing bikes to artificially push us there would be defeating the purpose.

                • Geoff Bowen

                  I was thinking more along the lines of an additional race for zero class GP, like they do with the TT Zero. MotoE if you will. Which I should now trademark…

                • Stuki

                  There’s quite an effort underway to get a “Formula 1″ style car racing series for electric cars off the ground. Quite a few 1-percenters wanting to be part of it.

                • Justin McClintock

                  That I could definitely get on board with and would make a ton of sense. Especially if you could get the major OEMs involved.

                • Stuki

                  If both gas and battery bikes were allowed unlimited inflight refueling during the race, the EBikes could possibly be very competitive. I’d love to see what solutions the teams would come up with for exchanging batteries (or fuel cells) at 180+mph. And love even more making use of the trickle down versions of that tech whenever I needed to get gas :)

        • HellomynameisAG

          Did you just link Asphalt and Rubber on HFL? Hahahaha you can tell Wes is gone because he may have had something “nice” to say about that.
          Man Wes I hope you didn’t sign a non compete.

          • Clint Keener

            BOOM! That just happened.

          • charlie

            Why did Wes leave? Everybody keeps talking about it but I can’t found out why.

            • HellomynameisAG

              I don’t know – but except for Tim Watson most of the old guard seams to have left / jumped ship. Maybe aliens? Maybe they are all riding Harley’s now and have nothing new to report (joking Tim). Maybe it has something to do with he fact that the CEO is also in charge of Advert sales. I am sticking with Aliens and Harley’s though (until they convince me otherwise).

              • charlie

                Dammit, I knew it was aliens.

  • Justin McClintock

    So basically Honda got their panties in a wad, so Dorna changed the rules for them. Or in other words, business as usual.

  • Clint Keener

    Ducati: hit the brakes before the checkered flag.

    What are their laptimes looking like anyway?

    • Justin McClintock

      I would like nothing better than to see them do that at every single race all season just to prove a point. Might annoy their sponsors though.

  • Scheffy

    With all the bitching and whining by Honda this year, you’d swear Alberto Puig is running the show. Hopefully he’s still exiled to judging talent in Jim-Bob’s Traveling Asian Motorcycle Talent Show and Clambake.

  • Campisi

    The other teams running in the Open class complained as well, after Ducati’s participation in Magnetti Marelli’s development of the Dorna-spec ECU yielded software too complicated for the smaller teams to fully utilise. Factory Two, as a classification, could theoretically do a fine job of levelling things out across the entire season, but in my opinion Dorna shouldn’t have bothered. The series organisers want all of the teams running in the Open class in a year or two. If Ducati being able to take the fight to Honda and Yamaha whilst using 2014 as a development season is what it takes to get the Big Two on board, then so be it.

    • skongara

      Yeah, the other Open Class teams complained as well. I do see why the other manufacturers are upset. But come race season, I bet the Factory teams are going to be where they belong. Maybe the 2nd half of the season Ducati will have enough development time to implement some changes and bridge the gap. I am most excited to see the performance of the NGM Forward Open Yamaha in the hands of Aleix Espargaro though. Should be a fun season.

  • Cody

    Politics. Racing should be more sacred than it is.

  • IRS4

    Damn homographs had me trying to parse this sentence for a minute berfore it clicked. Why the two second penalty? Or it is three thirds of a second? What???? Ohhhh!

    “scores a race win, two seconds or three thirds they are immediately promoted into the Factory 2 class”

  • sospeedy

    Surely each manufacturer can have its own class. Then everybody can be a winner in some way…. Ridiculous.

  • Jack Meoph

    Honestly, I don’t see any reason for the manufacturers to continue to support motorcycle racing at it’s current level. Their money and effort should be applied to making motorcycling more mainstream and cheaper, and getting the people who write the laws to back off from criminalizing riding motorcycles, which many governing bodies in the US, Australia, and England are doing. The race on Sunday, sell on Monday mantra is played out. Motorcycles are as fast as they need to be for the street (too fast, hence all the legislation against them) and if more “regular” folks started riding, the safety features that are now standard on cars (due to consumer demand) would be standard on motorcycles, not to mention a bigger voting block that would check the “motorcycles are menaces” lobbying group that seems to be dictating the discussion at the moment.

    I get that racing is exciting and there are some people who like it, but it’s not that big a deal in the overall world of sports, and in the US it’s become a pathetic little circus side show act thanks to DMG/AMA. These guys are tossing money into a “sport” that is continually dwindling in popularity, and who’s return (race wins equating into motorcycle sales) is suspect at best. When Val Rossi retires, there’s going to be a lot, a lot of fans leaving as well. But oh the spectacle!! meh…. I’d rather see the price of my next motorcycle go down, than watching someone getting paid millions (along with the insane expense of supporting a team that travels around the globe) for riding a prototype bike that even when the tech trickles down only a handful of people are actually going to spend the big $$$’s to have that race replica sitting in their garage.

    The motorcycle market is moving away from the repli-racers, to more practical motorcycles that people can use for day to day transportation (and it’s not coming back). That’s where the manufacturers should focus their efforts. Support racing? Absolutely, but at a level that is more in line with what it returns than in ego and bragging rights. I’ve been riding my entire life, and I really don’t care about who’s faster around a track, blah blah blah, that is all juvenile affectation. Yes, the riders have mad skills, and yes the bikes are incredible machines, but if the price of my new bike drops 2 to 5 hundred dollars because the manufacturer cut it’s racing budget, then that has more real meaning in my life than being a fan boy with a poster of Marc Marquez hanging in my garage. Flame on!!!

    • Piglet2010

      “The motorcycle market is moving away from the repli-racers, to more
      practical motorcycles that people can use for day to day transportation…”

      Only half true – people that would have bought race replicas are now making more sensible choices, but cruisers still dominate in overall sales of larger bikes, and they are even less practical than a race replica.

      Of course, if you want a really practical moto, buy a scooter.

      • Jack Meoph

        I have a scooter, along with a Ducati Monster, a Triumph Sprint RS, and a Kawasaki 250r.

    • Campisi

      “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” still holds true in the rapidly-growing Southeast Asian, Indian, Chinese, and South American markets, all of which buy utility motorcycles by the millions. These markets possess untapped sales potential for larger and higher-margin bikes as their economies continue to grow and develop. Manufacturers are chomping at the bit to ride that coming repli-racer wave all the way to full market maturity, whether or not the tiny, degenerating Western legacy markets care.

  • Mark Hodson

    Sounds like bullshit.

  • LC8Awesomeness

    Reckon they should have a fourth “Fuck It, Anything Goes” category myself…

    • Michael Howard

      Restricting a “prototype” class does seem a bit counter-productive, doesn’t it?

      • LC8Awesomeness

        Yeah. Much as I understand the whole Eco/ECU/Traction Control development thing…the more “sensible” MotoGP gets, the more I pine for the days of vicious horsepower and riders that purely relied on skill and didn’t have to understand how the ECU was working.

  • Srivathsa

    What happens if an OPEN team scores a WIN or TWO_SECONDS or THREE_THIRDS after they have consumed about 10 engines??
    Ex., It is the 14th race of the season. Team ‘X’ has used 10 engines so far. Team ‘X’ has not secured any podiums so far. Now in this 14th race they WIN. What next?- How ‘ll they be restricted a team to 9 engines if the team has already used 10?