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Jan 10, 2014

Ducati Not Considering Entering Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Iannone In “Open” MotoGP Category In 2014

Cal Crutchlow (35) testing a Ducati Desmosedici at Valencia in November.

Contrary to many reports in the media, Ducati is not preparing to enter all four of its riders in the new “Open” category of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, according to a Ducati Corse spokesman.

In an interview published on an Italian website earlier this week Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso was quoted as saying that no decision had been made whether he, factory teammate Cal Crutchlow and Pramac Racing satellite rider Andrea Iannone would join Iannone’s teammate Yonny Hernandez in the new “Open” class in the 2014 World Championship, but Dovizioso said once the MotoGP teams resume testing at Sepang in February Ducati will then “decide which road to take.”

The one original article and Dovizioso’s comments resulted in websites around the world producing their own versions of the story and pointing out how the move might make sense. By switching from the “Factory” category to the “Open” classification (which is required to use a Magneti Marelli control ECU and software), Ducati would be able to use 12 engines instead of five during the 2014 season, would be able to use 24 liters of fuel in races as opposed to 20 liters, would be allowed to use a softer range of Bridgestone control tires that theoretically could provide more grip, and would not be required to freeze development of internal engine parts during the season.

Some of the reports pointed out how this may just be what Ducati needs to close the performance deficit it currently has compared with the MotoGP racebikes from Honda and Yamaha, especially if Dorna-supplied Magneti Marelli ECUs and software are mandated for all competitors in the near future.

Unfortunately, all of the speculation on the topic is just that, speculation, according to Ducati Corse MotoGP Press Manager Julian Thomas.

Asked via e-mail if there was any truth behind the reports of Ducati entering all riders in the “Open” class in 2014 or if Ducati planned to use the upcoming tests at Sepang to determine whether they would enter under the “Factory” or “Open” classifications, Thomas wrote: “Ducati thinks that it is important to explore the potential of the new ‘Open’ regulations, also because this should be the future technical direction of the MotoGP Championship, and for this reason has decided this year to enter one GP13 bike with Yonny Hernandez for Pramac Racing Team under these rules. Currently there are no further plans regarding the ‘Open’ option and all the other Ducati GP riders will conduct back-to-back tests comparing the GP13 and GP14 ‘Factory’ bikes in the first Sepang test from the 4th to the 6th of February.”