MotoGP aero and engine development has been frozen

Development on aerodynamics and engines in MotoGP has been frozen to reflect what should have been the Qatar MotoGP opener

Franco Morbidelli - Petronas SRT Yamaha

Dorna and the FIM have announced it has initiated a freeze on engine and aero development in line with what would have occurred had the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship began as planned in Qatar.

There was speculation teams would be able to continue working on aero development for as long as the current racing hiatus remained in place due to the wording of the regulations that stated homologation would take place on the Thursday before the opening round.

However, after that event couldn’t take place due to the coronavirus, it was suggested teams would be permitted to develop in this area until the first race could happen.

The FIM, Dorna and IRTA have now moved to clarify this saying a freeze on development has been put in place to reflect a de facto deadline of 5th March 2020 (the Thursday prior to the Qatar MotoGP event).

The only exemption to this rule are the factory teams with concessions – KTM and Aprilia – which can continue to develop.

As such, teams must have submitted the specifications for the engines they would have used in that event, plus the first of two aero fairings. Engines specifications must remain the same over the course of a season.

In order to do this, teams have been asked to submit drawings and specifications that must match those to the machines that would have been used in the first event.

Which teams does this benefit?

The decision to enforce this in retrospect is an effort to ensure simplicity for manufacturers and the regulations and to prevent teams from arguing loopholes in the rules against the current ever-changing global situation.

The move might be seen as a way to prevent teams that may have struggled during the pre-season – such as Honda – to attempt a significant re-design of the RC213Vs first aero fairings beyond when they would have needed to submit their homologated bike in Qatar.

By contrast, teams that did perform well during pre-season testing - namely Yamaha and Suzuki - will be more satisfied the hard work they completed over the winter to hit the ground running will be intact for when the season does eventually get underway.