With three MotoGP podiums - including two victories - already this season, plus a further rostrum at Valencia 2018, KTM has now sailed past the threshold of 6 Concession points.

Concession Points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd) are the method by which manufacturers gain or lose access to a range of technical perks, designed to help those struggling to reach the podium.

During a normal season, Concessions include extra engine changes, exemption from the in-season engine development freeze, extra private testing and extra wild-card entries.

However, due to the special Covid technical freeze, KTM will only be fully equal with Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki at the start of 2022.

Once a manufacturer crosses the 6-point limit, they immediately lose access to some testing perks, with the other Concession privileges then withdrawn from the start of the 'following season'.

That will also apply to KTM, which has immediately lost the right to 'unlimited' private testing with its grand prix riders, while factory test riders Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio can only test at nominated circuits (rather than anywhere) next season.

But the difference compared to when Suzuki lost access to Concessions during 2018 is due to the extended freeze on engine development announced earlier this year, to reduce costs following the Covid pandemic.

That agreement stated Non-Concession manufacturers must start the 2021 season using March 2020 engine and aerodynamic parts, with 'no engine evolution' allowed until the end of 2021.

Therefore, Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki must race with the same engine spec from the start of the 2020 season until the start of the 2022 world championship.

But for anyone (in this case KTM) losing Concessions during 2020, 'no engine evolution' until 2022 clashes with the existing 'following season' grace period, during which engines are re-designed to cope with the extra mileage needed without Concessions.

During a normal season, Concession riders are allowed 9 rather than 7 engine changes. That difference has been maintained during the shorter 2020 campaign, with 7 engines allowed for KTM and Aprilia compared with 5 for Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki.

KTM has confirmed to Crash.net that at a recent MSMA (manufacturers' association) meeting, with the extra durability in mind, they were given the green light to develop their engine over the winter until the start of the 2021 season.

Due to the special Covid freeze, the Austrian factory will therefore not be under the exact same engine rules as the other non-Concession constructors until the start of the 2022 season, when engine changes can also be introduced by Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki.

Do KTM's rivals have much to fear?

Since KTM's first focus will be on achieving the added reliability required for next season, it seems unlikely the RC16 will make a big surge in performance.

After all, the easiest way to extend engine life, to compensate for having two fewer engines, is to reduce the maximum rpm. As such, KTM's engine department might be satisfied if they can maintain this year's impressive engine performance, over the longer mileage required next season.

Although KTM and Aprilia also joined this year's Covid technical freeze, they were given a few extra months to develop their 2020 engines before the deadline. Those with Concessions for 2021 (now only Aprilia) can then develop their engines as normal throughout next season, while KTM's 2021 engine update can't be changed until 2022.

There will thus be no chance to alter the design of any troublesome parts during next season, further suggesting a radical overhaul of the RC16 powerplant this winter is unlikely.

Honda won't have Concessions in 2021

With world champion Marc Marquez currently injured, Honda is yet to take a podium.

Under normal circumstances, if a MotoGP manufacturer completes one full season without a podium they are granted Concessions the following year. But due to the special shortened season that will not be the case in 2020, when 'concessions can only be lost, but not gained'.

 

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