And previews Qatar
Lucio Cecchinello, on Thursday, gave his views on recent cost reduction moves in MotoGP, reflecting on the first test of the year, explaining the philosophy behind the rev limitation of his team's new satellite spec RC212V and previewing the forthcoming
test trip to Qatar.
As the boss of an independent team in the premier class the Italian is acutely aware of the issue of affordability in the World Championship and he was highly positive about rule changes the FIM ratified on Wednesday in Switzerland.
Cecchinello commented, “At this moment nobody knows exactly how much effect we will have in terms of cost reduction this season, but now we have to maintain less engines and there will be less consumption of fuel and tyres. Another thing is that of course statistically every time you go out on track there is a risk that the rider can crash, which can cause several hundred Euros worth of damage, so with less time on track the number of crashes will decrease.”
“This could represent a serious saving in our budgets, because every time you crash with a MotoGP bike you can break brake discs, exhaust pipes, titanium and carbon material, clutches, engine parts, radiators and so on”, he continued. “The major impact for us then could be in spare parts and the factory should have less internal costs to maintain the engines.
With regard to the wider picture for the championship, having been involved in IRTA meetings which ultimately contributed to the recent rule changes, Cecchinello also stated, “For MotoGP what we have decided is a big step for everybody, for factory and independent teams. What is crucial is that MotoGP top management showed once again how serious they are about reacting quickly in order to keep our show growing around the world. What I feel particularly positive about is that the decisions will not affect the spectacle on a Saturday and Sunday, when really 95% of our real show is going on.”
Looking back on the opening test of the year in Sepang, at which his rider Randy de Puniet lapped outside the top ten on all three days with a new RC212V, on which the maximum revs limit had been set below the level of the factory bikes of some of his fellow Honda riders, Cecchinello explained, “The limitation of revs is related to safety.”
“The top priority of Honda engineers is to guarantee the safety and the durability of the engines, so they need time before they give us confirmation on the durability of the engine with this limit of revs. Then we will receive updates in the future, with higher rev limits. This is temporary and I believe we will receive one or two more steps during the season.”
The Italian former 125cc rider went on to say, “Also, when HRC engineers put a revolution limit on the engine they reprogramme the ECU in order that the power lost on the higher revs is gained in the medium to low revolution range. So it does not automatically mean that if you lose 300 or 400 revs the bike will be slower on track. At times it is actually better to have 300 or 400 revs less but to gain in torque and to gain in smooth acceleration.”
Positive about future updates he expects from HRC this season, he noted, “When the media received this information about our rev limit everybody seemed quite surprised and people were pointing their fingers at the HRC engineers, but all the time you need to have a completely realistic picture. I don't think it is wrong that we have a few less revs. For sure there are some faster tracks where we may have a small disadvantage for the next few races, because the engine durability needs to be confirmed. But with smoother power delivery it could help us at Jerez or other tracks where there are tight corners.”
Looking ahead to the 1st-3rd March test visit to the Losail International Circuit, Cecchinello concluded, “We had a deep study of data recording comparisons last week and we will continue to work this week on that. We'll have a lot of things to do when we are on track in Qatar, because through the data we understood that we can improve our performances a lot by making changes in rider position. We need to look at how he is influencing the dynamic of the bike with his weight, in terms of foot rest position, handlebar position and seat angle position.”