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Comparing engine usage in 2014

Comparing engine usage in 2014

Engines were a much talked-about topic heading into the 2014 MotoGP™ season as the terms ‘Factory Option’ and ‘Open’ made plenty of headlines.

For those entering under the Factory Option banner (such as Repsol Honda Team and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the teams were subjected to new engine freeze regulations and the use of no more than five, sealed powerplants for the entirety of the season. On the other hand, Open entrants like Drive M7 Aspar were able to make use of up to 12 engines, which could be developed across the course of the campaign. Adding another variable into the mix, Ducati Team and Pramac Racing were granted special dispensation to run to Open regulations despite being Factory Option, having not won a race in fully dry conditions during the previous season.

Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa enjoyed a comfortable season, finishing the year on either their fourth or fifth engines which had progressed through barely half of their lifecycles; a remarkable feat bearing in mind that between them they racked up some 14,000 kilometres of running in practice sessions alone. Stressing how strict safety margins are to factor in any problems, neither LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl nor GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista exceeded their five engine allocation despite each losing one engine from their allocation due to failures. For those racing Yamahas, engine life was certainly never a worry, with Jorge Lorenzo proving this with the fact that his fifth engine progressed through only a quarter of its working life.

Amongst the Open runners using the new Honda RCV1000R customer bike, Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) went up to their 11th engine, while Hayden’s team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was the only rider to use his maximum 12; this is perhaps reflected in the fact that the Japanese rider was the only representative on the grid to finish every one of the 18 Grands Prix this year, as well as having moved onto a 12th and final engine when he debuted the all-new 2015 customer Honda - the RC213V-RS - at the final event in Valencia. Top Open runner Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) took only his ninth and tenth powerplants to the Ricardo Tormo circuit at Round 18; however, one of his engines had been damaged when he was hit by Stefan Bradl in Australia.

Things were arguably most complicated for the Ducati riders, as engines were swapped around as the different GP14, GP14.1 and GP14.2 models were raced during the season. Andrea Dovizioso exploited all twelve of the engines available to him, as did Andrea Iannone; old engines could not always be fitted when chassis were updated, as elements of the housing would need to be updated – contravening regulations. On the contrary, team-mate Cal Crutchlow received far fewer updates during the season and so would end the year on only his ninth powerplant.

MotoGP, 2014

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