The Assen weekend saw the bosses of Dorna, IRTA and the FIM officially present details of MotoGP's 2017-2021 contract with the manufacturers and independent teams.
“This is a process that started with CRT, then the Open class, then the agreement to have the same electronics for everybody and will finish with the stability of the championship,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of commercial rights holder Dorna.
The main changes had already been outlined by Ezpeleta
during April's round in Argentina, but to confirm:
• The MotoGP championship will have a maximum of 20 rounds (currently there are 18).
• There will be no further changes to the technical rules until 2021, unless there is unanimous agreement or for safety reasons. Therefore “there will not be a rev limit unless everybody agrees.”
• From 2017 there will be six manufacturers participating in MotoGP: Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha.
• All six have the right to participate with two rights, but also the obligation to lease a minimum of two and maximum of four bikes to private teams if requested.
• The maximum lease price for a MotoGP machine to a private team will be 2.2 million euros a year, including everything except crash damage.
• The championship currently has 25 riders and for 2017-2021 that will reduce to 24 (despite the arrival of KTM) with a priority for the existing teams.
• Dorna will have the right to buy the entry places for the last two in the championship each season, in order to avoid anybody participating purely for economic benefit. “This is a right but not an obligation. I hope we don't need to use it,” said Ezpeleta.
• Any further manufacturers (not including KTM, which has already officially signed-up for 2017) will need to reach an agreement with one of the existing private teams.
• Dorna will increase its financial contribution to the manufacturers and especially the private teams by more than 30%.
“This increase means the private teams will have enough resources to pay the leasing costs to the manufacturers for the price mentioned (2.2 million),” explained Ezpeleta. “In this situation the market will be open because, with each manufacturer supplying four-to-six bikes, the private teams can decide which manufacturer they want to make an agreement with for the following years.”
“As teams, to have more factories will give us also the possibility to go 'on the market' and see what is the most competitive offer in terms of competitiveness and also cost,” added IRTA president Herve Poncharal.
“Every manufacturer will have to, if requested, supply an independent team with machinery very close to what their factory team is using. This is very different, because until now we saw some manufacturers that never wanted to lease bikes and just focused on their factory team. I think this will help the grid to be more competitive and exciting.”
Honda, Yamaha and Ducati each currently enter four Factory class bikes, with Suzuki and Aprilia limited to their two-rider official teams. Honda also provides four Open class machines, with two each by Yamaha and Ducati, plus one of last year's Aprilia ART bikes.
The Factory and Open class distinction will disappear with the introduction of the single ECU next season.
However technical concessions will continue for less successful manufacturers. Ezpeleta thanked Honda and Yamaha for allowing their factory rivals to have concessions in recent years.
A separate announcement at Assen revealed that Ducati will lose its concessions next season, meaning only Suzuki and Aprilia will enjoy the revised and still to-be-confirmed benefits (expected to be more engine changes, no engine development freeze and extra testing) in 2016.