by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 86
Four races into the first season with serious restrictions to engine numbers, with teams already beginning to feed in their third motors, GPWEEK's Michael Scott thought it time to see how it's going SIX OF ONE, HALF-A-DOZEN OF THE OTHER The general feeling is: so far, so good. But it's early yet, and there is trepidation as to what might come later in the year. The rules allow six engines for 18 races. Call it three races per engine. Of course, each rider needs at least two at any given time. With a bit of overlap -- sharing practice between older engines, then qualifying and racing a new one -- this is about the right time to bring in the third one, according to Rossi's crew chief and general-purpose racing guru Jerry Burgess, speaking after the Italian GP. "So far it seems to have been achievable, but about now we may see teams starting to have engine failures on their older engines that they've run from the beginning of the season. "They would now be, on a normal engine plan, at this race or the next, probably be feeding in their third engine. They will then continue to run those old engines as practice engines, I would imagine. So the next couple of races you may see some failure. But if that's the case, it shows that the programme is working. They should be able to go through to the end." After round four, four riders had a third engine in use -- an engine becomes part of the allocation of six the moment it leaves pit lane for the first time. Two were Yamahas: Lorenzo and Edwards, and these were routine replacements. A third was Alvaro Bautista, but he had been using three engines from the first race -- matching different specifications to different circuits. The fourth was Casey Stoner, and his case was different and potentially more worrying. His third engine was registered for round two; while the one he used for practice and the race at Qatar has not been out since, and before round four was officially withdrawn from the allocation. The reason is almost certainly crash damage: the one unpredictable spectre than haunts all teams. Aside from the obvious potential damage of a heavy impact, there's also the chance of ingesting sand and stones in even quite a minor spill. This has led to one significant change in working practices. When engines could be replaced at will, Burgess explains, "they were set to keep on running on their side, idling at about 3,000 rpm." This gave the rider a chance to remount. Now there is a time delay of a few seconds for the race, but in practice "the system is disconnected completely." The Ducatis have a special problem -- the exhausts from the rear cylinder exit under the seat in an almost direct line of sight to the exhaust valves. The chances of getting debris up there is high. That is why the Ducati's have a mesh stone-guard over the back of the pipes. The rules have set new targets for engineers, not only perking up their interest, but also lending a worthwhile R&D role to the otherwise hedonistic business of MotoGP racing. At the same time, they have not affected the racing as some had feared. There haven't been blow-ups from over-stretched engines, nor riders spending long spells in the pits in practice, to save mileage. Nor has the speed 38