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.”