Ezpeleta downplays chances of Honda quitting MotoGP over ECUs

MotoGP chief Carmelo Ezpeleta has played down the chances of Honda quitting the series, insisting common ground can yet be found

Ezpeleta downplays chances of Honda quitting MotoGP over ECUs

HRC team principal Shuhei Nakamoto warned at the end of last season that Honda will almost certainly quit the sport if control ECUs are made mandatory, a move series promoter Dorna has been pushing for.

But while Dorna and Honda both appear to be entrenched in their positions, Ezpeleta says he is confident a deal can be brokered and the stand-off diffused.

"First of all I must say I'm in fine relationships with Shuhei Nakamoto, and I'm saying this because I realise that's what we are talking about," Ezpeleta told Motosprint.

"Since 1992 I've met many HRC bosses, and I've had a good understanding with some and less with others: Nakamoto is the one I've had the best understanding with.

"I'm certain we'll find an agreement.

"We will never go outside the limits of the contract, but the manufacturers must understand the economic situation and our needs concerning the spectacle we create and sell around the world.

"He tells his opinion and I tell mine, we discuss, and then we try to find a common solution."

NEW MANUFACTURERS

Ezpeleta said his stance on control ECUs reflects the increasing cost and complexity of individual systems, and a belief that removing such concerns would attract new manufacturers into MotoGP.

"The potential of electronics has no limits, just like its costs," he said.

"If we don't limit this field, it will be very unlikely that a manufacturer accepts to enter MotoGP, because you need huge resources to keep up with Honda's and Yamaha's pace.

"If we want Kawasaki to return, and if we want to convince BMW to arrive, then we can't place in front of them [such] an insurmountable barrier."

OPEN CLASS THE FUTURE

Ezpeleta said the newly-created Open class therefore represents the future of MotoGP, and suggested it would make sense for Ducati and Suzuki to commit to the category immediately.

"Open bikes will become fantastic," he added. "[Already they] are much better than the works prototypes from three years ago.

"The day will come, in 2017 at the latest, when the current contract expires and the control ECU is introduced. I agree work needs to be done to develop it well, but the control ECU will come for sure.

"We are working with Marelli, its ECU will soon be better than what Suzuki and Ducati can develop on their own.

"[By becoming Open class entries] they could lower their expenses because the job would be done by someone else.

"I think the philosophy we propose isn't wrong: if you have many bikes at more or less a similar level, then the spectacle is better. The bikes must cost less."

Translation by Michele Lostia

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