By its own standards, Ducati has had a pretty successful season. It’s been competitive in all of the races and for a large majority of the first few legs of the season, it’s been the most consistent with six podium finishes in eight races. But the team’s impressive run this season will have its downside beginning next year when it losses all of its concessions for the 2016 MotoGP season, putting in under the same rules as Yamaha and Honda. Welcome to the wacky and sometimes confusing world of MotoGP.

As per the current rules Yamaha and Honda fall under, Ducati will begin the 2016 season with a similar set of rules, one that includes a limit of seven engines per season, no in-season development, and a restriction on testing using factory riders. It’s a far cry from the rules Ducati currently enjoys, including the allowance for 12 engines per season, which they are free to develop during the year, and unlimited testing.

Unfortunately for Ducati, the success they’ve enjoyed this season comes with a price. The Desmosedici GP15 has also proved to be a capable and competitive bike in the series, despite it still being a young project compared to what Yamaha and Honda have at their disposals.

The Grand Prix Commission’s decision to strip Ducati of its concessions was expected by those who saw how competitive the team has been this season. That said, the timing of the announcement was a little surprising since the season has not concluded yet. But according to numerous reports, the GPC decided to act earlier to give Ducati time to prepare ahead of what could be a dramatically different 2016 season for the team.

Once the changes are put in place, Ducati will receive the same concessions as Yamaha and Honda. In addition to what I already mentioned, some of these other concessions include the same amount of fuel, same spec electronics, and same allocation of tires.

It’s the price Ducati will soon pay for the success it’s been having this season. It seems a little weird for the MotoGP novice to have these rules in place, but that’s the series’ way of balancing the playing field for all participating teams, something I wish Formula One would do at some point in the future.

Continue reading to read more about Ducati losing its MotoGP concessions beginning in the 2016 season.

Why it matters

Somehow, Ducati must have seen this coming and there’s a part of me that thinks it’s already planning for this day to come. That’s the price you pay for being successful in MotoGP, especially when you have teams like Yamaha and Honda already clamoring the Grand Prix Commission to treat Ducati the same way as them.

Since Ducati has been consistently finishing in the podium, it looks like Yamaha and Honda will get what they want.

For its part, Ducati should embrace this new concessions if it really wants to be treated as a championship contender. You don’t want to be that team that relies on better concessions to win a title. You want to do it the right way against the two teams that are routinely at the front of the back. An even playing field, as they say.

Personally, I think the GPC made the right decision, even if it might have come at an inopportune time in the season. There’s no reason for Ducati to be granted the same concessions as Aprilia and Suzuki. Remember, those two teams have just come back to MotoGP so you can understand why their development and technology is still behind Yamaha and Honda.

But Ducati is on its way to that Yamaha-Honda circle, if it’s not there already.

It’s only fair that the team begins to operate under the same guidelines that Yamaha and Honda have been in for years. Only then will we see if Ducati is really a threat to break up the duopoly in MotoGP. That said, I’m excited to see it happen, only because another team winning the MotoGP title not named “Yamaha” or “Honda” would be good for the series and the sport in general.

Press Release

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 26 June in Assen, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

MotoGP Class

Concessions – MotoGP Class – Effective Immediately

In 2015 any manufacturer who currently benefits from concessions and who achieves six concession points in dry or wet conditions will lose all concessions from the following season.

Note: As Ducati have already achieved more than six concession points in 2015 they will lose concessions from 2016.

Engine Allocations in the MotoGP Class – Effective 2016

In the interests of cost saving, manufacturers may use engines with specifications homologated from previous seasons, providing that such engines still comply with current technical regulations.

Each manufacturer may homologate a maximum of three different specifications before the first event of the season.

Before the first event of the season, every rider must nominate one specification of homologated engine which he must exclusively use for the entire season. This means that in a non-factory team different riders might use engines with different homologated specifications.

However, every manufacturer must nominate one team as its “Factory Team” and each rider in that team must use engines with the same homologated specification.

MotoGP Electronics, Sensors and Devices – Effective 2016

With the use of a single ECU and unified software it was necessary to clarify and update the regulations concerning supply and ownership of ECUs, the homologation of permitted sensors and the list of “free devices” that can be connected to the ECU. Full details will be published in the on-line version of the FIM Grand Prix regulations.

Sporting Regulations

Effective Immediately

In the interests of safety a regulation was approved which prohibits a rider stopping on the start and finish straight after the chequered flag.

Medical Code

The Commission approved initial plans to make changes to the structure of the Grand Prix medical services. This will involve changes to responsibilities within the permanent management and also better integration and involvement of the local circuit doctors.

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