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MotoGP Engine Extremes for Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone

We’re days away from the 12th round of the 2014 MotoGP season, a race which brings the action to the iconic Silverstone circuit for the Hertz British GP, and mechanics are already being forced to take into account the engine wear and the remaining allocation, if they don’t want to see their riders starting races from the pit lane.
Jorge Lorenzo 3 photos
Engine usage in MotoGP ahead of the Silverstone round in 2014Jorge Lorenzo is easy on the engine allocation
The MotoGP regulations specify that Factory options can use a total allocation of 5 engines through the season and their development is only allowed for next-season engines. Sealed ahead of the kick-off round in Qatar, these engines are referred to as “frozen”. On the other hand, Open Class entries have a much larger allocation of 12 engines, and they’re not frozen meaning that mechanics can test and change them the way they want, provided that they remain within the technical specs of the regulations.

This way, Open teams are allowed to become more competitive along the season, with the results of unrestricted testing allowed to be implemented at any time. Fact is, Open-spec engines are obviously less powerful than their Factory counterparts, and their reliability is also lower, so the larger allocation makes a lot of sense. With such info, the table the gp-inside guys assemble also makes a lot of sense, though certain explanations are needed.

You can see that Andrea Iannone is the most engine-expensive rider on the grid, and has already used 10 of his 12 Pramac Ducati engines, 7 of which are already withdrawn. It may look alarming to some, but Ducati is quite serene. Iannone was the main rider for the in-race development of the actual engine and the results of his work have been put to good use by Ducati, as they also serve creating the GP15 power unit.

In fact Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna even said that even if Iannone would have to start races from the pit lane, this is a sacrifice he (and the team) is willing to make, because the development of the new Desmosedici is the main goal of the season, and no efforts will be spared. As you can see, the remaining 3 Ducati riders are well in the safe zone, with Dovizioso and Cutchlow having used 6 engines and Yonny Hernandez 5. Iannone should definitely get a raise.

Next on the engine destroyers’ list comes the recently retired Colin Edwards. The Texas Tornado used 9 engines, and “scraped 4, with 3 more new engines left for the remainder of the season. This may be attributed to the fact that Edwards and Aleix Espargaro (7 used, and only 2 ditched) are using 2013 Yamaha M1 engines leased to NGM Forward.

Aprilia-powered bikes Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes ride have also delved through 7 engines each, 4 of which were binned by each rider. Summing the rest of the Open field yields an average of 7 engines used to date, with Hernadez (0), Crutchlow (2) and Aleix Espargaro (2) being the riders who retired the least engines.

In the Factory camp, there’s danger for Alvaro Bautista, as he used all the 5 engines Gresini Honda has, binning 2 of them. As far as engine management is concerned, Bautista is the rider with the biggest expense in the Factory class. Whether the remaining 3 engines will last for the upcoming 7 races is doubtful, at least if the current usage rate is maintained.

The other satellite Honda rider, Stefan Bradl has used 4 engines and ditched only one and it looks like he’s out of trouble. Factory Honda riders are on par, both Marquez and Pedrosa having broken the seals of 4 engines of which none is still retired.

Yamaha’s satellite machines and Valentino Rossi all used 4 power units each, with none of them retired, and with an equally good hope for a quiet season end as Honda factory riders have. The most economical rider on the 2014 grid is Jorge Lorenzo, who has used only three engines so far, obviously with none retired, and who will most likely be able to push a bit harder in the final quarter of the championship.

Some say that his short-lived kick-off Qatar race also has a role to play in this, and it’s true, but it’s hard to believe that one round can save one engine. More likely, it’s Lorenzo getting along quite well with the power unit, much like Aleix Espargaro seems rather mild with Lorenzo’s 2013 M1 engine. Ever wondered how would the elder of the Espargaro brothers on a satellite Yamaha?


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