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Ducati Chooses Open Option for MotoGP 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014
Following three days of testing at Sepang, Ducati has announced that it will compete in the Open class during the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Switching to the Open class allows Ducati to use 24 liters of fuel, as opposed to the 20 liters allotted to Factory option teams. Ducati will also be able to use up to 12 engines and can conduct engine development during the season.

As an Open team Ducati will benefit from an extra Bridgestone tire selection, a softer option, which isn’t available to Factory teams. Testing opportunities are broader for Open teams as well. They may test at any time or place provided it’s not at a circuit scheduled to host a race within 14 days. The catch is that Open teams must use the spec Magneti Marelli ECU package which includes hardware and software.

Factory teams are allowed five engines for the season and are bound by an engine development freeze rule. All engines must be identical within teams and testing is limited. Factory teams can only test during official sessions and have five additional test days available during the season at a circuit nominated before the start of the championship. Those riding under the Factory option must use the Magneti Marelli ECU hardware, but are allowed to develop and use their own software.

Ducati has been testing both the Factory and Open versions of its Desmosedici GP14 during preseason preparations at Sepang, but had been tight lipped about how the two compared. Andrea Dovizioso offered some insight after the second session, saying “today we also tried out the ECU with the Open software, there are a few different controls with it and it obviously doesn’t work as well as our Factory software, but tomorrow we’ll do some more tests.”

Following the Open option announcement, Ducati Corse General Manger Luigi Dall’Igna offered the following comment:

“We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation. This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs. We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and Dorna has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes.”
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cggunnersmate   March 3, 2014 09:58 AM
Its not gaming the system but allowing Ducati to play to their relative strengths. The Duc has suffered on the brakes and mainly through and out of the corners with lack of front end feel/flexibility due to the frameless design. The twin spar aluminum frame hasn't alleviated these problems. The factory spec Bstone tires are far TOO stiff for the Ducatis. The can't generate the heat needed to get maximum grip.

Going open allows them to use the softer carcass tires which will help in the corners and being able to develop the motor should help them refine that (Rossi and Hayden complained the whole time that the Ducati's engine was too aggressive in power delivery).

Now they can refine the motor, still make gobs of power with more motors and fuel to play with. So the bike will likely become a point and shoot missle (the exact opposite of the Yamahas) but it won't have the refined ECU like they used to have so they will have disadvantages there. The bike is already unruly and hard to ride so they'll have to soften the power delivery to make it more rideable.

Edward's opinion on the spec ECU/Software was that it was about 10yrs behind the factories. And looking at Aleix on the FTR Yamaha, its bridged the gap a quite a bit. He can at least run a competitive lap time, we'll see if he can do it for a full race and fight for podiums and Dovi has the Duc up there now too. Again we'll see if he can do it over race distance.

Lets see how the first few races go, might be some suprises. Lord knows we need some in GP.
LordRaiden   March 3, 2014 09:20 AM
How is choosing the best option for their team gaming the system. Would choosing the soft option tire over them hard during a race weekend be gaming the system? Judging from the test results they need to go Open.
Maxx   March 2, 2014 01:35 PM
Agree, spokes seems like a way to game the system.
Maxx   March 1, 2014 04:33 PM
Has anyone mentioned this option to Suzuki?
motousa_adam   March 1, 2014 01:20 PM
Seems like a logical decision for Ducati and will be the most effective way to get the performance of its bike back on track.
spokes   February 28, 2014 06:21 PM
How in the world does this make any sense??? One factory gets to continue engine development while the others don't. Also, don't forget Magneti Marelli and Ducati pioneered this so called restrictive computer software the Open Class teams have to use. They also have the electronics engineers who worked on it. So Ducati can continue development of their chassis and engine while getting more fuel, more engines(12 vs. 5) and even a softer tire to use while the other teams can't. Guess we'll see just how fast these "aliens" really are.