Ducati confirms switch to Open class for 2014 MotoGP season
|By Sam Tremayne||Friday, February 28th 2014, 11:04 GMT|
Ducati has confirmed it will make a radical switch and compete as an Open class entry in the 2014 MotoGP championship.
Speculation that the Italian outfit could abandon its manufacturer status intensified earlier this year when new general manager Luigi Dall'Igna said the Open class was "the future of MotoGP".
Having used MotoGP's pre-season to directly compare factory and Open class options, it has confirmed it will switch to the latter class.
Works riders Andrea Dovizioso and new recruit Cal Crutchlow, as well as satellite rider Andrea Iannone, will therefore all switch to the Open class.
As a result of the policy switch Ducati will no longer be able to develop its own electronic systems in 2014, and will instead adopt spec ECUs and software.
In compensation however it will benefit from being able to use an extra four litres of fuel per race, softer tyres and can use 12 engines per season rather than five, with engine development also allowed.
"We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation," Dall'Igna said.
"This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs.
"We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and Dorna has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes."
Ducati's move will serve as a massive vindication of Dorna's future vision for MotoGP, after MotoGP chief Carmelo Ezpeleta said recently that it would be logical and financially sensible for Ducati to make the switch.