Bradley Smith expects Ducati to enjoy a slight initial advantage with MotoGP's new 2016 control ECU system, since it is based on some of their own software.
Ducati is understood to have handed its private factory software over to Dorna's Magneti-Marelli ECU development team when they attempted a switch to the Open class at the start of 2014.
Using the less-sophisticated standard ECU is a prerequisite for competing in the Open class, which will disappear next season.
Ducati sought to limit the ECU disadvantage by sharing its software secrets, thus helping to raise the level of the system, although the sophistication proved too much for many Open teams.
Ultimately Ducati didn't use the Open ECU. Some of its rivals baulked at the manufacturer switching classes and a subsequent compromise kept Ducati as a Factory entry (running its own bespoke software) but with many of the Open class concessions.
Looking ahead to 2016, when the control ECU will become mandatory and Michelin replace Bridgestone as exclusive tyre supplier, Smith said:
“I think next year won't change a whole bunch. At the end of the day we still have the fastest riders in the world on the best bikes. I think there will be a manufacturer that suits the new tyre manufacturer a little bit better. Of course I hope that is Yamaha because that would be beneficial for us. But we still don't know.
“Also with the new electronics as well, we know that they are roughly based around Ducati's electronic system so of course they are going to have a little bit more advantage at the beginning, because they are more used to using this type of system. From what I believe.”
Ducati, Honda and Yamaha are able to jointly submit developments for the 2016 software, which is based upon the current Open class version.