MotoGP: Ducati enticed by Open class

MotoGP: Ducati enticed by Open class

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MotoGP: Ducati enticed by Open class

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Ducati has admitted taking an active interest in MotoGP’s Open class as it evaluates whether to remain a factory entrant in 2014.

Speculation that the Italian marque could make a radical switch ahead of this year’s championship was instigated when new Ducati Corse general manager Luigi Dall’Igna said the Open class was “the future of MotoGP.”

Ducati’s MotoGP project manager Paolo Ciabatti said the team was not dismissing the possibility of running in the sport’s second class, and bringing its status as a factory effort to an end. He said Aleix Espargaro’s pace on the Open class Forward FTR-Yamaha had been particularly compelling, after the Spaniard finished fourth overall in pre-season testing at Sepang.

“Obviously the option of the Open class is an interesting one,” Ciabatti told MotoGP.com. “We saw Aleix on the FTR-Yamaha has been extremely fast so obviously it’s something to consider, but we haven’t made any decision. We will evaluate all the information.

“This was the first time our riders could use the GP14. Some areas we need to improve, but it is positive. We will evaluate and make up our minds in the next few weeks.”

While Open class entries must run spec ECUs and software, they benefit from a number of rule breaks compared to factory entries. They are permitted to use an extra four litres of fuel per race, run on softer Bridgestone compounds and are permitted 12 engines across the season compared to just five for factory teams, with engine development also allowed during the season.

Ducati will run at least one Open entry in 2014, for Pramac satellite rider Yonny Hernandez.

This story originally appeared on autosport.com

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