There's been plenty of ink spilled and bytes consumed in 2013 describing the two classes of MotoGP bikes starting in 2014, Factory and Open.
Factory bikes can use proprietary software inside the Dorna-spec electronic control units but must sacrifice by using fuel tanks with a maximum capacity of 20 liters and a maximum of five engines per season. Open bikes must use Dorna-spec software and black boxes but in return can use tanks that hold 24 liters of fuel and run a maximum of 12 engines per season. Bridgestone also will develop a special, softer rear tire compound for the Open bikes.
This is somewhat reminiscent of the introduction of the Claiming Rules Team bikes to the MotoGP grid in 2012, with one major exception. CRT bikes were created as a plug to stem the flow of teams and manufacturers leaving the championship due to escalating costs. Open-class bikes are the future, and every bike on the MotoGP grid could race under these specs sooner than some think.
"It is exciting because these bikes represent the future, in a way, be cause we know that the factories are only allowed to use their own ECU software until 2016," Tech 3 Yamaha boss and IRTA President Herve Poncharal said recently. "At the moment, it (expiration date) might be brought forward.
"Everybody else but the Factory bikes from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati will be using the complete championship ECU system. But we might see some of these Open bikes quicker than our (Factory) bikes, so we might soon all switch to that class.
Poncheral says he feels that Open bikes are the future. Do the factories feel the same way? Both Yamaha and Honda have said that when the day comes that they can't race a true works bike in Grand Prix that they won't be there.