Update today via (photo GP)
MotoGP Engines 2015 – 8 Races Down, 10 To Go
Factory Teams (5 engines)
– Marquez’ engine #2 is still sitting somewhere, sealed and broken after its failure at CotA. As Jordi Perez said in his recent PhotoGP interview, Honda doesn’t have to tell him or anyone if the engine is still working or not. This engine may very well sit on the sidelines until Valencia with Mr. Perez removes the seals at the end of the season.
With #2 out of service since QP2 in Austin, Marquez has raced #1 three times, #2 just the once at Losail, and #3 four times, including recently at Assen. #1 has been used in 36 sessions, #3 in 35 sessions, though of course we do not see the actual mileage in the IRTA engine report. We only see that a given engine crossed the pit lane entrance at least once during a session.
I thought I’d compare this with Pedrosa’s usage and in doing so noticed that though he still has three engines available, he has never actually raced his #2 engine. Pedrosa raced #1 in each of the first five rounds, with #2 sharing FP, QP and W-UP duties. Pedrosa’s team opened #3 for the W-UP at Mugello, then raced that brand new #3 engine there.
#1 has not been used since FP4 at Mugello. #2 has continued to share FP, QP and W-UP duties, but #3 has raced in the previous three rounds (Mugello, Catalunya, Assen). Though I heard a rumor that Pedrosa had lost use of one engine, there is no way to confirm this. It may be simply that his #1 did its duty of five races in a row and is now waiting on the shelf in case it is needed later in the season.
Both factory Honda riders have two unopened engines.
On a side note, did you know that these engines have openings via which the mechanics can insert scopes to inspect the interior, a sort of engine-oscopy? This allows them to see what’s going on in the engine without breaking the seals, which they’d have to do if they want to take the engine apart. The process does not cause the engine pain and no anesthetic is required.
– Crutchlow got through Round 6 at Mugello with only two engines, racing #2 every time. His team opened #3 at Catalunya and he raced it there and at Assen.
His #1 has never raced, though it has been used at every round and must have plenty of mileage. At Assen he used each of his three opened engines. He appears to have three still available, with six races on #1, two races on #3 and no races on #2. He has two unopened engines.
Marc VDS Honda
– Scott Redding is the only non-Open Class Honda rider to have three unopened engines. He has five races on #1 and three races on #2.
Of the Honda factory riders, Redding is in the best shape and Marquez in the most trouble as far as engine use and availability.
– I observed last time (Mugello) that the engine use for Rossi and Lorenzo is nearly identical. This trend continues through Assen, with variations of engines used in practice sessions, but with identical engines raced in each round.
For both riders, #1 was raced in Rounds 1, 4 and 5, #2 was raced in Rounds 2 and 3, #3 (which was opened for FP3 at Mugello for both riders) has raced Rounds 6, 7 and 8.
At Assen, both factory Yamaha riders used each of their three engines in at least one session. So as of Round 8, each has three engines still in service, with no more than three races in any single engine. Each still has two unopened engines.
Tech 3 Yamaha
– Bradley Smith’s engine useage has mirrored that of his factory Yamaha counterparts very closely, the only major difference being that it’s his #2 that has three races on it and his #1 has only two races. He also opened #3 for FP3 at Mugello. Can this be a coincidence? More likely it is a plan working out very nicely for these three Yamaha-powered riders.
But unlike Rossi and Lorenzo, Smith has not used his #1 since FP2 at Mugello. Also noteworthy is that Smith’s #2 has seen only sporadic use since Jerez. #2 hasn’t raced since Argentina, after racing the previous two rounds, but it ran only one session at Le Mans, one session at Mugello, shared four sessions at Catalunya, then was used only for the W-Up at Assen. Smith still appears in good shape, with three engines active and, like Rossi and Lorenzo, nor more than three races on any single engine.
For Pol Espargaro, things are a bit different, but not dire. Four rounds into the season his team opened #3 for FP3, two races ahead of Rossi, Lorenzo and Smith. His #1 has raced only once, at Losail, while #2 has raced four times and #3 has raced three times. Still, at Assen he used all three engines at least once, so he also appears to have three in service, though he stands alone in that he has one engine with four races.
Both Tech3 riders have two unopened engines.
Factory Option Teams (12 engines)
– With 12 engines to use over the 2015 season, all four factory Ducati riders have opened four engines apiece. With eight unopened engines for the remaining eight rounds, Ducati riders are in good shape for 2015, but 2016 will see some tightening of the belt.
Dovizioso has one race on #1, two races on #2, two races on #3 and three races on #4. His team opened #4 for FP3 at Catalunya and #1 has not been used since, so that is possibly a problem with #1. At Assen he used engines 2, 3, and 4 at least twice each.
Iannone withdrew #1 at Jerez after racing it in the first two rounds. At Assen he used each of his three opened engines at least once.
– Petrucci’s situation is very close to Iannone’s, having withdrawn his #1 at Le Mans after racing it in the first three rounds. At Assen he also used each of his three opened engines at least once.
Hernandez withdrew his #2 at Jerez after racing it twice, and at Assen he used only two of his available three engines.
– Suzuki stil looks like the team that will have the most unopened engines at the end of the season. Both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales used only two each for the first six rounds, and of those, each raced five rounds on a single engine with the other engine racing only once.
At Catalunya the Suzuki story entered a new chapter as the factory brought a new engine design that they hoped would deliver more power on the long straight. Each rider raced the new engine, #3 for both, and at Assen the factory brought engine #4 out. Though both Suzuki riders used their #3 and #4 engines at Assen, both raced #3. Espargaro used his #3 in every single session, having been obliged to participate in QP1, and used his #4 only in FP3 when it entered the system and then briefly in the W-UP.
One of my little birds suggested that a vagary of the Suzuki engine numbering scheme might indicate that #4 is closer in design to #1 and #2 than it is to #3. This is one of those things we wish we could know for sure, if only the factories would tell us.
Like Ducati’s, Suzuki’s riders have eight unopened engines each, though Espargaro and Vinales each have an engine with no race duty to date.
– There appears to be more development going on at Aprilia, certainly more engine usage for both Melandri and Bautista. Some of this is due to the factory’s development of a seamless gearbox, which requires a different crankcase design. That means a new engine since breaking the seal on the crankcase is not allowed.
Melandri has now withdrawn three engines (#1, #2, #4) and has four still in use (#3, #5, #6, #7), though #3 has not been used since FP3 at Mugello. At Assen, Melandri used #5, #6 and #7 at least twice.
Bautista has withdrawn only two (#1 and #3) and has three engines opened. At Assen he used all three of them at least once.
Melandri has five unopened engines and Bautista has seven.
Open Teams (12 engines)
Similar to the Open Factory teams, none of the Open Class riders is in any engine trouble with the 12-engine allowance. Still, a brief run through of the numbers for each.
Athena Forward Yamaha
– Bradl has two engines withdrawn, two open, and eight unopened.
Baz has three opened, none withdrawn, nine unopened.
– Hayden has four open, none withdrawn, eight unopened.
Laverty has three open, none withdrawn, nine unopened.
Cardion AB Honda
– Abraham has two open, one withdrawn, nine unopened. Also, he has not used an engine since he was injured in FP4 at Catalunya.
– Miller has three opened and none withdrawn, but his #2 has not been used since it raced at Round 2 in Austin. That’s six races without being used once.
Are you wondering if ANY Honda engine has been listed as Withdrawn? The answer is: No. Two Yamaha engines have been withdrawn, both in Bradl’s allocation.
– Barbera has two opened, two withdrawn, eight unopened.
Di Meglio has three opened, one withdrawn, eight unopened, but his #2 has not been used since the W-UP at Jerez.
– DeAngelis has three open, two withdrawn, seven unopened.
As the season progresses, I doubt that the engine use story will get more interesting for the 12-engine teams. However, with each passing race weekend the factory teams will find the five engine limit a bigger element of their race strategies. Now that Marquez appears to have his chassis trouble sorted by reverting to the 2014 model, a strong charge in rounds 9-18 for third or second place in the championship just might be hindered by that failed #2 from Austin…