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GP Week : Issue 180
v at BRIEFLY » In a move to ensure standardisation Moto3 engines from all manufacturers – currently KTM, Honda and Mahindra – will be delivered to Dorna from next year, and distributed randomly by the technical director, the GP Commission decided at Qatar. Six engines per rider will be delivered to Dorna in three batches, when they will be sealed, shuffled around, then handed out to the relevant teams. Price per engine is fixed at 68,000 Euros. » Two years of relative freedom for MotoGP testing come to an end this year, with another GP Commission decision at Qatar restoring previous draconian limits on factory riders. After the last race they get three days before the December/ January ban, three three-day official tests before the next season, and three one-day post-race tests. Test riders and non-factory teams get much more freedom, within a limited allocation of tyres. » Will the derided control-engine Moto2 class ever gain the respectability of being open to rival manufacturers? Not in a hurry, it seems, with Honda confirmed as official engine supplier until 2015. The first three-year contract expired at the end of last year, and Dorna has taken engine supply and preparation in-house away from Geo Engineering, in an attempt to control costs. Moto2 was originally planned as open to rival engines: Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki all have highly suitable candidates. MOTOGP >>> NEWS Indian auto-giant Mahindra’s distant threat to move eventually up to MotoGP took on new depth at Qatar, when the all-new Moto3 bike – designed and built by Suter Racing in Switzerland – proved an instant success in its first GP. The 250 four-stroke single hit the test track only four months from the drawing board, and was racing two months later. The MGP3O was not only remarkably free from teething troubles, but it beat the Hondas and all but five of the KTMs at its first race. New riders Miguel Oliveira and Efren Vazquez troubled the front guys in qualifying and finished a sprightly seventh and tenth in a very competitive race. First to fifth belonged to KTM; but the best Honda was 11th – ironically ridden by ex-Mahindra rider Danny Webb. “It’s a very encouraging start,” said team CEO Mufaddal Choonia. “Obviously the KTMs are the fastest bikes, which gives the some advantage at tracks with a long straight. At other tracks, we hope to be fighting for the top positions.” Mahindra’s efforts so far have been down-beat, with last year’s first Moto3 machine, built in Italy, both slow and woefully unreliable. NEW GO-FOR-IT QUALIFYING SYSTEM WINS PRAISE A radical TV-friendly change in MotoGP qualifying was almost universally welcomed when it was used for the first time at Qatar, with riders sharing in the rising tension engendered. “I think is good for the fans, and good for MotoGP,” said Lorenzo, after claiming the first pole. It reminded him of the old days of qualifying tyres. “You have only two chances at a fast lap, so you have to have a different mentality.” The view was echoed by most other riders, and others at the track; although crew chiefs allowed there was no time for any hiccups in the frantic schedule. With just 15 minutes in the timed session and a two-minute lap, there was time only for a rider to do seven laps, split into two runs, with a tyre- change in the middle. With in- and out-laps, this meant just four flying laps. The first three 45-minute free practice sessions are as before, but with added significance: only the ten best times get through to Qualifying Two, which decides the front rows of the grid. The slower riders take part in Qualifying One, with the best two of them through to Q2, after a ten-minute break. MAHINDRA TRANSFORMED WITH ALL-NEW BIKE But KTM hold the high ground in lively Moto3 4 GPWEEK.com // 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: