Citing the freedom it gives them to continue to develop the Desmosedici GP14 throughout the season, Ducati made it official today: Its two factory riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, will compete in the Open class of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
“Ducati, after carefully considering the two options, has decided that the most suitable one for the current needs of the Bologna-based manufacturer is the Open one, which gives the possibility to the race department to continue the development of the bike and the engine throughout the entire season,” Ducati’s press release reads.
Under the Open class rules, the motorcycles must use Dorna’s Magneti Marelli ECU package, but they also get to use more fuel and more engines throughout the season (24 liters and 12 engines vs. 20 liters and five engines) than those running in the Factory class. More importantly for Ducati, engine development can continue throughout the season. For the Factory class teams, development on the engine is frozen for the season. The Open class riders also have the option of an extra Bridgestone tire with a softer compound.
Andrea Iannone, who rides for the Pramac Racing Team on a satellite Ducati, will also race in the Open class.
"We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation,” said Luigi Dall’Igna, the general manager of Ducati Corse. “This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs. We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and Dorna has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes."
According to Ducati, they were pleased with feedback both Dovizioso and Crutchlow gave to its engineers at the Sepang test that concluded today. Thus they have met the February 28 deadline for opting into the Open class.