Less than one week to go until the start of the new MotoGP season and it's still not clear which rules Ducati will be racing under.

Ducati has applied to switch its official MotoGP team from the Factory to Open class, in order to avoid increasing restrictions on engine development.

"We would like to develop our bike and with the Factory option we simply couldn't do it," new Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna, seeking to raise the team from its first podium-less season, reiterated on Monday.

As well as in-season engine development, the Open class allows four litres of extra race fuel, twelve rather than five engine changes and a softer grade of rear tyre.

Honda has made clear it feels these concessions were aimed at helping independent teams, rather than official manufacturers, but that distinction is not in the rules.

Instead the only technical requirement for entry to the Open category is use of the Dorna-supplied standard ECU software, rather than bespoke factory software.

However the Open software has also become a contentious issue after a recent high-performance upgrade, rumoured to be inspired by Ducati's input, proved too complex for all but Ducati to use.

The Dorna/FIM proposed solution was for a 'Factory 2' class, with Ducati running the latest software - and keeping the Open class benefits - but then having its race fuel and engine changes reduced if it achieved a certain number of (dry) top three results.

"Ducati asked to enter as Open riders. But it created a lot of 'reaction', so this is under consideration. After all the registration is upon the discretion of the Grand Prix Commission," MotoGP director of technology Corrado Cecchinelli told the official MotoGP website earlier this week.

"The proposal from Dorna/FIM is to refuse the [Ducati] entry as Open and create a new technical package [Factory 2] to enter in the Factory option."

That proposal was to be put before the Grand Prix Commission on Tuesday yet still nothing has been announced, suggesting opposition to the plan.

Meanwhile practice for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP gets underway on Thursday evening...



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