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Suzuki attended MotoGP ECU meeting
20 February 2013
Suzuki, planning a possible MotoGP comeback in 2014, joined the existing manufacturers in sending a group of engineers to meet with Magneti Marelli.
From 2014 Magneti Marelli will supply a control ECU, which will be compulsory throughout the premier-class grid.
However the manufacturers - currently Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - will continue using their own software, with the spec hardware, in return for a fuel penalty of four litres relative to the privateer bikes.
The meeting with Magneti Marelli was aimed at helping the manufacturers understand how to integrate their technology with the new system, although HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto said that question marks remain.
"Two weeks ago our engineers visited the Magneti Marelli factory," said Nakamoto. "All of the factory members - Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati and Honda - were present. We made many questions, but for us it is not 100 percent clear [how to adapt to the new system]."
Asked if Suzuki's attendance at the meeting meant that they would definitely be back in 2014, Nakamoto replied: "I don't know! Anyway, Suzuki was there. If they will participate or not in 2014, ask Suzuki.
"My feeling is that they will..."
Suzuki, winless since 2007, withdrew from MotoGP at the end of 2011 due to the financial crisis, but intends to return next year. However Dorna has warned that Suzuki will not be given new grid places and will thus need to source any entry from an existing team.
Meanwhile, although electronics are being clamped down on in MotoGP, Nakamoto insisted that there had "never" been any talk of possibly banning seamless-shift gearbox technology.
Yamaha is the only factory without the superior-shifting ability, with both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi pressing for the technology.
Nakamoto also added that the cost of the system is now a lot less: "Much, much cheaper, because we have two years' experience. The cost is almost the same as standard."
Much cheaper or not, the proposed production RC213V racer, available for privateers from 2014, will not feature a seamless shift gearbox.
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