Spec ECU plans could still be scuppered

Autosport

Dorna's chances of introducing a spec ECU in MotoGP could still be scuppered by objections from Honda.

HRC team principal Shuhei Nakamoto has been an outspoken critic of the scheme and, speaking before the recent Japanese Grand Prix, warned that Honda would consider quitting if a spec system become mandatory.

While Honda's position was weakened by the subsequent announcement that Dorna would also take over organisation of the rival World Superbike Championship, Nakamoto insists Honda's current contract gives it a say in future rule changes.

"It is still not certain whether there is going to be a control ECU for everyone in 2014," Nakamoto told Motosprint.

"Dorna must discuss technical regulations with the MSMA. We have a five-year contract with Dorna and based on this agreement Dorna can't change the rules without our approval.

"So, talks are still ongoing.

"I'm against a control ECU because it's useless for cutting costs, which is Dorna's goal. Changing programmes and the way to program is a waste of time and doesn't reduce costs."

Honda may also be able to use the supply of prototype bikes as a bargaining tool in the ECU debate.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has been keen to reduce the costs for privateer teams looking to buy prototype factory bikes.

Nakamoto said he was open to the idea of selling bikes to privateers, provided top management consents.

"Ezpeleta wants that, but it needs the agreement of Honda Motor's top management, and it hasn't arrived yet," he explained.

"Should it come, we may respect production schedules. That is, 2014."

Despite the conflict over rules, Nakamoto insisted he is on good terms with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.

Ezpeleta said on the Thursday of MotoGP's race at Motegi that it was 'easy to talk' to Honda about the future of the premier class.

"The situation between Carmelo [Ezpeleta] and myself is very good," Nakamoto explained.

"I'm the one who proposed to Carmelo to use a single Magneti Marelli ECU for CRTs, to reduce their gap to MotoGP prototypes."

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