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GP Week : Issue 188
22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: The soviet socialist Republic of MotoGP took a step closer to reality at the latest GP Commission meeting, with a further emendation to the regulations taking all limits off numbers of bikes factories can enter. Actually it was just tidying up a detail; this was already the plan: factory teams with prototypes will be allowed four entries, as at present. But the new next- year non-factory lease or sale bikes, currently available from both Honda and Yamaha and potentially also Ducati, will have no limits on numbers. The new bikes are intended to take over from the humble production-powered CRT generation, though in practice several of these old grid-filling bangers are still like to be here next year, performing the same role and contributing little or nothing to the racing. But the planned new generation are still humbler than the factory bikes, in one vital respect. They must use the supplied control electronics. Factory bikes have to use the control ECU, but are allowed to write their own software. How much difference this will make depends entirely on the quality of the one-size-fits-all control programs, which made their debut this year at a level some found laughable, but have made fair progress with half a season of race development. Even so, the difference this year between the ART bikes using Aprilia’s sophisticated programming and other bikes using Dorna’s control stuff is very significant. On the other hand, non-factory bikes get major concessions: 12 engines for the year instead of four; 24 litres of petrol instead of 20. In spite of this, it’s impossible to imagine Honda and Yamaha supplying lease or sale bikes that are capable of beating their own prototypes, in spite of assurances from Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis. The bikes may be close ... but as Ducati well knows, close is not the same as competitive. So next year, in place of this year’s two-tier championship, there will be three tiers. For the price of two. Dorna’s next stage will be to enforce similarity. Clearly one element of long- term planning is to provide software for all. This is strictly opposed by the factories, of course, but who knows what will happen as Dorna’s power grows? For some people, this is a dream. Make the mechanical side of racing all equal and it’s down to the humans. True sport. This however ignores one of the words defining grand prix racing: it is actually a motor sport. Grand prix racing was never meant to be a socialist paradise, where everyone is as slow as each other, but an area of individual and technical excellence. What do they want ... for every race to end in a dead heat? Be very fair, if nothing else. ThE SOvIET SOcIAlIST REPuBlIc OF MOTOgP OPINION OPINION MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor