Ducati Maintains Open Class Privileges after Aragon Podium

Cal Crutchlow on podium at Aragon, 2014 8 photos
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It was a dramatic MotoGP round at Aragon, loaded with wipe outs, white flags and which ended with a most surprising podium, at least for two thirds of it. Still, after Cal Crutchlow’s finish in the third position, which added another podium place for Ducati, a lot of people started wondering whether the Italian manufacturer will still benefit from the Open Class perks. And since there’s no better person to clarify such matters than the MotoGP Race Director himself, all eyes turned to Mike Webb.
Now, if you read our report on the 2014 Aragon race, you already know that the race was declared a dry one, with this status changed later to “wet”, and the riders allowed to make a pit lane pass to change their bikes. However, the dry race status in the beginning of the Sunday session triggered the legitimate question whether Ducati’s podium counts towards the elimination of certain Open class privileges the “factory 2” team enjoys.

Too much winning loses perks

Open class entries and manufacturers in their first MotoGP year (like Suzuki will be in 2015) are allowed better conditions as far as tires, testing, fuel and number of engines per season are concerned. Namely, they can use 12 engines in one season, as opposed to only 5 full factory riders have at their disposal, can benefit for an extra soft tire and can load 24 liters of fuel, compared to 20 which a factory bike is allowed to carry. These perks are complete with unlimited testing.

However, if a team which enjoys these privileges starts winning in the dry and accumulates a certain number of podiums, the regulation starts cutting off the perks. The rules are as follows: 3 dry race wins and the team loses the extra soft tires, and the max fuel quantity drops to 22 liters after 1 dry win, 2 dry second positions or any three podiums. This applies for all the riders in a team.

Ducati’s “dowry” so far

Ducati can count a dry podium with Andrea Dovizioso in Austin, and another at Assen, but in the wet. Mr. Webb says that the Aragon round counts as a wet race, even though it started out as a dry one. The conditions and the bikes when the podium positions were established were classified as “wet”. This means Crutchlow’s third place in Spain will not count towards the limit specified by the regulation, Mike Webb says.

“For the purposes of the regulation we are talking about, it’s wet. So Ducati have achieved one dry podium so far, which was Texas. I declare a race wet or dry at the beginning because it affects how the teams set their bikes up, knowing whether they are going to be able to use the spare bike or not. When conditions change during a race in MotoGP with the white flag I can tell them conditions have now changed, which is what happened at Aragon, and they are allowed to use the spare bike," Webb explained.

"The way the concessions rule is written about tyres, fuel and so on for Ducati and the other manufacturers says that it applies to results achieved in dry conditions. So it is a little bit different to the race being declared dry at the start. The podium in Aragon was very clearly not achieved in dry conditions,” he told

These rules will be enforced through the end of the 2015 season. Starting from 2016, all teams will have to use the Unified Software, a collective programming and development effort from the teams on the grid.

Factories will have to cease developing their own software halfway through the 2015 championship and will be required to work on the new one for the mandatory Magneti Marelli ECUs. This will obviously lead to a change in the MotoGP regulations. Still, Ducati’s Open class privileges remain intact and it will be interesting to see how the new Desmosedici GP15 bike will fare.
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