The 2016 MotoGP World Championship will see the introduction of a single-ECU system, Michelin replace Bridgestone as exclusive tyre supplier and an end to the Factory and Open classes.

However some of the present Open-class technical concessions will continue to be available for the less successful manufacturers.

At Catalunya, spoke with MotoGP Director of Technology Corrado Cecchinelli for the latest on the 2016 technical rules...
Corrado, so far it's officially announced that there will be 22 litres of race fuel, seven engine changes with frozen development and a machine weight of 157kg next season. But concessions will also continue. What exactly will the 2016 concessions be?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
There is still some discussion, but the 2016 concessions will not be the same as this season because the [standard] fuel limit is changing from 20 to 22 litres, the Open tyre allocation will no longer apply and it will be nine and not twelve engines.

So we think the new concessions will be: Nine engines instead of seven, no engine design freeze and free testing with factory riders.

At the moment, manufacturers that end the 2015 season with concessions will again have concessions for the start of 2016. So if the season stopped now Aprilia, Suzuki and Ducati would have concessions next year.
There is some discussion about whether the new or old system will be used to decide who starts next year with concessions...

Corrado Cecchinelli:
Yes. This is under discussion inside MSMA [Manufacturers' Association]. We are in a comfortable situation because we just say you, as the MSMA, discuss it and if you come up with a different, unanimous, decision we will consider that.

We are not pushing to do anything different from the system currently in place but if they all agree unanimously we will listen and possibly take it. We know there is a discussion but we are not involved at the moment.
That discussion inside the MSMA is basically whether Ducati should start next year with concessions?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
Their discussion is that, because of the way the concessions rules are currently written, if Ducati does not win a race this year then they will keep the concessions for the start of next year.

The rules from 2016 are changing so that if a manufacturer gets more than six concession points* in a season - even if they don't win a race - they lose all concessions the following year.

Because Ducati already has more than six concession points this year, the Japanese manufacturers would like Ducati to lose concessions for the start of 2016. But at the moment that will not happen unless Ducati wins a race in 2015.

* 1st place = 3 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 3rd place = 1 point
Of the three concessions available next year - more engines, free engine design and extra testing - which can be removed during the actual season?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
Once a manufacturer achieves six concession points they immediately lose the chance to test with factory riders. It is not technically feasible to reduce the number of engines, from nine to seven, during the season because of the design work involved. So the only concession that can be lost straight away is testing and then all concessions are gone for the start of the next season. On the other hand, if a manufacturer without concessions doesn't finish on the podium they get all concessions the next season.
How do you think the concept of having technical concessions has worked so far, especially for Ducati?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
I think it's working well. The idea behind it was to take someone who was in trouble and help them to be better. For me 90% of Ducati's results this year have been down to the work they have done and having good riders. The small part that we add by concessions is self-ruling. If the results are too good the concessions are removed. So I don't see the point of suddenly doing something different and removing all the concessions because they are strong. I don't think we would even be talking about it if Marquez didn't crash so many times.
Ducati's fuel has been reduced from 24 to 22 litres during this season, but which concessions would you say are the most significant for them?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
I would say that the most important are more engines and free engine design, because that of course allows the design of the engine to evolve and more than that you can make an engine with less reliability and therefore more power.

Secondly I would say the tyres, because for sure they have an advantage in qualifying. But don't forget they sometimes have a disadvantage in the race, because more than once they would have wanted to use the [harder] race tyre.

I think the least important is the fuel, because going from 22 to 20 litres [the Honda and Yamaha limit] is within the reach of a big company like them.

That would be my personal ranking of the concessions in the case of Ducati. It would not be the same if we were talking about a smaller company, because the fuel advantage would count much more.
You rank the softer tyre highly so weren't you tempted to keep it as a concession for next year?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
This is not our decision. It depends on the tyre supplier [Michelin]. Having said that, I agree with not having any difference in the tyre allocation. Because as I've said there were times when the supposed advantage for Ducati was actually a disadvantage in the race. I don't like that because people understand that Ducati have an advantage from tyres and it is not always true.

It can be a little misleading. For sure having more engines and more fuel is an advantage. But having different tyres does not always mean better tyres. For me the right choice would have been to have all the Factory tyre allocation plus another tyre as a concession.
Turning to the single ECU, we now know Honda, Yamaha and Ducati can request or prevent you from making software changes if they are in unanimous agreement. That system is only in place until the end of 2016, then what?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
It is specified until the end of 2016 because the idea is after that Suzuki, Aprilia and possibly KTM would have the same rights as the three 'old' manufacturers. So the idea is to extend this right to other manufacturers, not to delete the system.

So there is a priority for the three manufacturers that were racing in 2014, when the single ECU was agreed, until 2016. Then the idea is that the other manufacturers will have participated for two years so it is correct to add them.

We don't want to keep the other manufacturers out forever from the decisions.
How do Suzuki and Aprilia feel about being left out at the moment?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
Not bad at the moment, but of course they would like to be introduced sooner or later.
It's getting close to the Factory software freeze on June 30. How significant will that be?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
The software freeze is something the manufacturers wanted for themselves. The three manufacturers wanted the right to introduce changes to the unified ECU [ahead of 2016] and as these changes must be introduced by unanimity, they have to sit at a table and speak openly.

To speak openly they have to freeze their own proprietary software so that they cannot steal the secrets of each other and use them on their own [Factory] systems this season. They just asked us to put a system in place to police the software freeze. That is our only role.

If any of the three manufacturers want to sit at the development table this season, they have to freeze their factory software. But if not, they can continue to develop their own software until the end of the season.

So among the three manufacturers, let's assume for example Ducati prefer to go on evolving their proprietary software instead of giving suggestions to us. They could simply not sit at that development table and not freeze their software.

Freezing software is not compulsory. It is only something you have to do to sit at the table with those that will make proposals to us.
Do you expect Honda, Yamaha and Ducati to all sit at the development table?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
I expect that all three will choose to freeze their own software, but I don't expect any suggestions will come unanimously by them. Not soon at least. Because we have software that is still not tested, so why propose something different from what you don't know?

So this software freeze could be almost useless because suggestions will not come before the end of this season I think. We are just waiting for their proposals: We don't care how many of them sit at the development table. We don't care if they [need to] freeze the software.

The manufacturers just asked us to police that those who freeze their software actually do so and we will put that system in place.
When will the single 2016 software be ready for its first track test with race riders?

Corrado Cecchinelli:
We've split the software into two portions. One is what we call the dyno portion, which is designed to fire up an engine on the dyno, which was delivered around mid-April and is already in use by the manufacturers according to our knowledge. The chassis portion will be delivered very soon and that is designed to be the first version to be used on a full motorcycle on a track.

From then on, what they will actually do is down to them. Maybe they will simulate with software, then maybe test on a full machine on the dyno, then with test riders and so on. But in theory that software is ready for chassis control. It will have the strategies built in.


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