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GP Week : Issue 156
A decision on rule changes for next year has been deferred three weeks until the Dutch TT, after the MSMA (manufacturers’ association) and the GP Commission failed to finalise plans for changes that include a proposal for one bike per rider, a control ECU and rev limit, and the banning of carbon brakes. Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta’s original deadline for new rules, set at the end of last season, was May this year, later extended to June; but some indications were expected after a GP Commission meeting at Catalunya. Instead, another meeting was scheduled for Assen. Mike Trimby, general secretary of the teams’ association IRTA, was a delegate at the meeting, but said he could not reveal details because nothing had been decided. “It seems we are a fair way down the line in getting agreement for a control ECU, but I can’t say in how many years it will happen. It’s all still under discussion,” he said. The one-bike rule was likely to be adopted. “There is no other major motor sport in which competitors have two vehicles,” said Trimby. “My personal opinion is that we should retain flag-to-flag races, and the technology should be developed for quick-change wheels and brakes,” he said. An IRTA meeting had proposed the carbon-brake ban, but manufacturers were objecting on safety grounds. “But they use steel brakes in Superbike, where the bikes are heavier and almost as fast,” he said. Dorna technical delegate Corrado Cecchinelli was more revealing. “Carbon brakes will definitely stay,” he said. The one-bike rule might be adopted in a modified form, allowing only one bike for practice sessions, but with a spare allowed for races, so that the flag-to-flag bike-change system could remain. But major upgrades not due until after the summer break DUCATI: A SMALL STEP AFTER PRIVATE TESTS fuchslubricants.com - Optimum Protection - Maximum Power - High Performance Three days of private testing at Mugello yielded only small improvements for both factory Ducati riders at Catalunya, with little new for this race beyond a small but important revision to electronics. But the revised engine will have to wait, and may never be used, after it was found to offer little significant improvement. Hayden and Rossi joined the tests for two days, and for once enjoyed good weather. They tested not only a slightly revised engine, but also an aluminium swing-arm and a new electronics package. Hayden liked the swing-arm, because it “makes the bike more balanced, feel like more of a piece” . But the down side was increased chatter problems, and he did not use it again at Catalunya. Rossi did use it for the first day of practice, but switched back to the carbon unit on Saturday and for the race. As for the engine: “It has more power at the bottom and loses some at the top,” said Hayden. “I didn’t like it, and it wasn’t any faster.” Both riders praised the electronic changes, aimed at softening the overly abrupt throttle response on initial opening. “It helps you finish the corner better,” said Hayden. For Rossi, the greater gains had come with revised chassis settings, pursuing the “longer and lower” direction he adopted two races ago. “We made it a bit better again here he said,” after qualifying on the third row for the third race in succession, then having “our best race so far” . Tests the day after the Catalunyan GP were to be followed by another day at Aragon on Wednesday, taking the place of post-Estoril tests that were washed out. “They are important tests for us,” said Rossi. NEW RULES ON HOLD 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS MOTOGP >>> NEWS