MotoGP is set to introduce a third class for the upcoming season following the fallout caused by Ducati’s switch from factory to Open entrant.
The new class will sit as an intermediate between the factory and Open categories, and will duly be dubbed Factory 2. Its creation is designed to ensure that the privileges of running in the Open class diminish if the entrant is able to regularly break into the top three.
Ducati will be placed in the new division.
In contrast to factory allowances of 20 liters of fuel per race and five engines per season, Open bikes can use 24 litres of fuel and use 12 engines over the year in exchange for using spec software. There is also no engine freeze in the secondary class.
Those advantages – coupled with the advent of new and more sophisticated software from Magnetti Morelli – led to Honda saying it was “not happy” about the circumstances under which Ducati made its radical switch.
MotoGP chief Carmelo Ezpeleta proposed Factory 2 as a solution because it will restrict the advantages of competing in the Open class.
“From this Tuesday there’ll be a third avenue: Factory 2, where Ducati will be in,” he told AS. “It has the same conditions as the Open bikes, but when they get three third places, two seconds or one first they will have a 22.5 liter engine instead of 24, and nine engines instead of 12. [Governing bodies] the FIM and Dorna have presented the proposal to the Grand Prix Commission and FIM, Dorna, IRTA and MSMA are going to approve it.”
Ezpeleta said the new class will formally come into existence on March 11 – less than two weeks before the Qatar season opener. There are still many unknowns,however, chiefly whether any other teams will be moved to Factory 2, and whether further restrictions – for example to testing – will be applied.
Ezpeleta though was bullish about the changes, saying that further complaints from the likes of Honda would be futile.
“Am I worried about a backlash? [HRC boss Shuhei] Nakamoto and I are very good friends and [he] already said that if we did whatever he would go to Superbikes,” he said. “If he decides to go…I’m also in Superbikes.
“The objective is that in the end, everyone will run as Open entries.”