A rules change announced last November will reduce the maximum number of engines used per season by non-CRT riders from six to five starting in 2014.
Or will MotoGP teams have one fewer bullet in the chamber this season?
European media reported team personnel and riders expect that rule to become active this season. A Dorna official explained in a Spanish report that the wrong year was listed in the FIM press release announcing the change and that the Grand Prix Commission agreed to reduce the available engines from six to five starting in 2013, reducing costs for manufacturers.
Riders Dani Pedrosa and Nick Hayden don't think the new rule will make much of a difference under normal conditions - in 2013 or 2014. But two engine detonations due to malfunctions or crashes could put a serious pinch on a team.
"It's not a big change, but the mechanics inside the engine are different for more life, so it feels slightly different," Pedrosa said. "The last two years Jorge (Lorenzo) broke one engine in each year: One time in Germany and one time in Assen, so he was running with 5 1/2 engines for the season, let's say. So I don't think it is a big factor. It is more about if you crash twice, and you break an engine each time."
Said Hayden: "The change to five engines is not a big difference. In 2011, I basically did the year on five engines because I lost an engine early in the season in Portugal so we really had to stretch out the miles. So it's not going to be a huge change - unless you have a problem."
The rules, of course, are not yet set in stone and are contingent on the factories and Dorna coming to terms over the price of the new MotoGP customer bikes among other items.
From the FIM press release last November:
Important Note: The above regulation changes are subject to the satisfactory conclusion of ongoing negotiations between FIM, Dorna and the Manufacturers concerning the supply of additional machines and engines for use by other teams from 2014. Contracts for the supply of these machines, engines, parts and technical support must be concluded between Dorna and the Manufacturers prior to the first event of 2013. Only then will the technical regulation changes be finally adopted.