Dorna’s Ezpeleta says no spec ECU for MotoGP…for 2013
MotoGP rightsholders CEO doesn’t say anything about 2014 though, and it’s widely believed that the spec ECU is a certainty to be imposed; discussions continuing for both WSBK and MotoGP cost-cutting measures
MOTEGI, JAPAN, OCT 11 – Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will take the cost-cutting mandate he’s imposed on MotoGP to World Superbike following the decision by parent company Bridgepoint to put him in charge of both championships. But those changes won’t come in 2013, he insisted, not to the rules nor to the championships respective calendars, which currently clash on a number of dates.
On the eve of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, Ezpeleta said that once Bridgepoint acquired WSB organizers Infront Sports and Media, the decision was made to try to adjust the technical rules of both championships. After several fruitless meetings, it was decided to keep the championships separate at the two separate companies, but under the umbrella of Dorna Sports.
For 2013 MotoGP and Superbike will continue “with exactly the same system of organization and with the same technical rules, and from now, together with the manufacturers, with the circuits and with the teams, we will try to accommodate in these difficult economic times to set up two championships who are able to continue and to grow together,” Ezpeleta said. “In fact, there will be many collaborations with Infront Sports and Media regarding other aspects of the two championships.”
Addressing the costs of World Superbike, the Dorna CEO stated, “We think that the championship who is derived from (production) bikes who is using 39 engines during one season and in the opposite, MotoGP using six, is not, to be honest, very correct.” Though Ezpeleta didn’t say which rider had used 39 engines, it’s believed he was talking about Aprilia’s Max Biaggi. “And we think we need to set up both championships with their own spirit. One is for bikes derived from (production) bikes and another is from prototypes. This is something we will do together with the FIM in the first part and with the manufacturers who are involved in both championships.”
Those would be Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, and Dorna's Ezpeleta isn’t going to try to convince any others to join the MotoGP field. He said that “the regulations right now in both championships, in my opinion, are so expensive that we need to set up that. We are working since many times ago with the MSMA (Motorsports Manufacturers Association) here with the MotoGP Championship, but this is a little bit contradictory. We are trying to reduce the cost and to reduce the performance and using six engines, and the MSMA proposing five for next year, and World Superbike, who is still calling for bikes derived from (production) bikes, are using 39.”
Much has been made of Honda’s threat to quit MotoGP and move to World Superbike as a way to develop their proprietary electronics. This was widely seen as an empty threat, and now that Dorna has the power to regulate World Superbike rules, it’s a certainty they’ll go to a control ECU in 2014, the same year it’s meant to go into effect in MotoGP. But, Ezpeleta said, nothing had been decided beyond 2013.
He also said that he isn’t in favor of any one specific technical rule. “We are not in favor of ECUs or limit of revs or whatever. We are in favor to reduce the costs or increase the show. Any movement to reduce the cost and increase the show will be very welcome. We are not in favor of any special things. We are in favor of reduce the cost and improve the show. This is the main aim of both championships.”
Of his relationship with Honda, which means his relationship with HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto, he said, “With Honda it’s always easy to talk to them.” Ezpeleta added that “we have not any problem to talk with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, who are the three manufacturers who are involved in the MotoGP championship and we will continue talking. It’s not any problem to talk, and we are happy to have the possibility to do together with the manufacturers and especially with the manufacturers who are involved in both championships the best way to run both.”
Paolo Flammini has been the face of World Superbike for many years, but that’s certain to change. Flammini gave what seemed like a farewell speech during last weekend’s Magny-Cours World Superbike finale. Who will run the championship hasn’t been decided, Ezpeleta said. The name that most often comes up is Paolo Ciabbatti, Flammini’s loyal lieutenant who once ran Ducati’s racing operation.
“In principal, we are still talking with the people to know who exactly will run,” he said. “What is sure is it will be run under the umbrella of Dorna.”