Rent not Buy: New Moto3 engine rule explained

"For the manufacturers, [selling Moto3 engines] wasn't cost efficient and they were concerned with protecting their technology" - Danny Aldridge, MotoGP Technical Director.
Rent not Buy: New Moto3 engine rule explained

Update: A follow-up question, from Twitter, about how the new engine rules will affect wild-card entries was also put to Danny Aldridge:

"I honestly don't think a current Moto3 Manufacturer would offer a wildcard the EUR60K rental deal. But you are correct in that the engines are still for sale (most likely at a slightly lesser specification), as both the CEV (Spanish) and CIV (Italian) Championships run their own Moto3 classes.

"My understanding from the manufacturers is that they are happy to continue to supply these championships, as they are a great feeder for up and coming teams and riders.

"Wild-cards also have the possibility to rent the engines for a single GP from the manufacturers. For example, Geo Technology (the company that built the first Moto2 engines for us) are the official supplier for Honda wild-card engines.

"We have also opened the rules to allow a manufacturer that is not in the Moto3 championship, but is competing in the CEV, the right to enter as a wild-card during the season. So someone can showcase their bike to teams for a possible full entry the following year."

A rule change for 2017 means Moto3 teams will now rent, instead of purchase, their engines from a manufacturer. spoke to MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge to find out the reasons behind the switch and what it will mean in practice...
Danny, can you tell us more about why the change has been made from buying to renting engines in Moto3?

Danny Aldridge:
For the last two years, what happened is that teams were able to purchase their six engines per rider for a set price. And they would literally keep those engines. The philosophy behind it was that teams could then either use the old engines as test engines, or sell them on to local championships.

It worked to a certain degree, because we had some wild-cards turn up that had engines which had been used by full-time teams the previous year. We could tell because they still had our seals on them.

Unfortunately, from the manufacturer side, it wasn't cost efficient and they were also rightly concerned with protecting their technology. We've now changed the situation, so that the teams have to give all their engines back, to address those concerns.

There is now a 'Moto3 Engine Rental Package' that costs 60,000 euros per rider, which is the same price as before. For that the team will get six engines, two throttle bodies and two complete gearboxes. Previously the gearboxes had to be purchased separately.

This [same price, 60,000 euros] might seem unfair to the teams as they will no longer have their old engines to sell or use as test engines, but Dorna and IRTA now heavy subsidise the cost of the engine packages for each team. Meaning, they will not be any worse off.

The manufacturers are also helping with the budget because, whereas before they had to build all six engines for each rider - because they were keeping them - now they can re-condition engines.

Each manufacturer must give at least two engines to each rider for the first race. Then there is schedule - approved by me as the Technical Director - for the replacement of engines during the season.

The important thing is that each manufacturer must take away an old engine, or supply a new engine, to all of its riders at exactly the same time.
And will you still allocate the engines to each rider?

Danny Aldridge:
Yes, it's still a random allocation by us, a lottery, exactly the same as is used in Moto2. The rules are very strict. So even in the case of reconditioned engines, a manufacturer cannot say 'this engine was previously allocated to a certain rider, give it back to him'.

Everything will go back into the random engine allocation system, so it's completely fair.

KTM, Honda and Mahindra will again be the three full-time manufacturers in Moto3 this season. The first official test of 2017 will take place at Jerez from March 8-10.

By Peter McLaren

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