Honda GP Ltd
Unpredictable season vindicates control ECU
Honda and Yamaha MotoGP team bosses Livio Suppo and Lin Jarvis say the 2016 season shows that the introduction of the new control electronics was the right move.
A less-refined ECU from Magneti Marelli replaced factory-developed software in MotoGP bikes this year, a measure Honda had threatened to quit over as recently as 2013.
Despite Marc Marquez's championship win, Honda struggled to pair the new system with its engine and endured an acceleration deficit, as Ducati and Suzuki won their first races since 2010 and '07 respectively.
On the back of a season with nine different winners, and KTM entering the championship in 2017, Suppo said the new system combined with the return of Michelin tyres has paid off.
Repsol Honda Team's Spanish rider Marc Marquez takes a corner during the practice session of the MotoGP class at the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on October 22, 2016AFP
"From a general point of view, this season has opened the door to more manufacturers, we've seen KTM are joining us," he said.
"And Suzuki's performance this year has been getting much better, so probably this has been a very good move for the championship.
"It was difficult for Honda at the beginning but in general it's been good.
"Michelin has done a good job, it's not easy after seven years to come back and be immediately competitive, in Qatar we were faster than last year.
"Of course there's been some ups and downs but honestly speaking, it's difficult to complain."
Yamaha, with Ducati, arguably started 2016 with the best handle on the new ECU, but Valentino Rossi felt the Japanese manufacturer did not make the same progress as others during the year.
Jarvis echoed Suppo's view that the shake-up had been good for the championship, cutting an advantage that the bigger and more-established manufacturers had built, if not every brand individually.
"I think the fact that we've seen so many different winners this year is something that's been a very positive thing," Jarvis said.
"Also because in the past we had maybe the elite teams - you had the Honda, the Yamaha and the Ducati - now we've seen also some of the satellite teams have also had victories, we've seen two Ducati victories this year after many, many years.
"So for the sport as a whole it has to be acknowledged that is was a very positive thing to change.
"For the manufacturers maybe, for some of us maybe even a disadvantage, from our purely selfish technical perspective.
"But at the end of the day we are here, not only for technical perspective but also to promote the sport so it's positive."