How the team managers of Ducati, KTM, Aprilia, Yamaha and Honda assess the extensively revised concessions system for the 2024 MotoGP season
The system of so-called “concessions” – i.e. concessions for manufacturers who have recently delivered less good results – is nothing new in the premier class of the motorcycle world championship. It was already introduced for the 2016 MotoGP season. Ducati was the first beneficiary back then. But Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia have also already benefited from the freedoms granted by the regulations
The concession system has been extensively revised for the upcoming 2024 MotoGP season. The manufacturers will now be divided into four groups (Group A to D) based on the results achieved in the previous season. Honda and Yamaha are now the big beneficiaries.
World champion Ducati is assigned to Group A. This means that the Italian manufacturer enjoys the least freedom of all five manufacturers currently represented in the MotoGP World Championship. Nobody is currently in Group B.
KTM and Aprilia are assigned to Group C. Honda and Yamaha are in Group D and therefore enjoy the most extensive concessions. What do the team managers of the five manufacturers think of the new concession system?
“Of course it’s a great help, but the system wasn’t invented just for us. It has already existed for others in the past,” Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig told MotoGP.com, referring not least to Ducati.
“Now we are benefiting from this and we will of course try to take advantage of it as much as possible. I can only say that the rules are the rules and of course we want to take advantage of the opportunities that this now offers us,” said Puig.
Yamaha’s Massimo Meregalli expressed a similar view. “Apart from the extra work, I see the concessions as entirely positive. It gives us the opportunity to develop the bike more quickly. This has already started with two days of pre-testing in Sepang.”
The Yamaha team manager is referring to the shakedown test, during which Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins were also on track, as were Honda riders Luca Marini, Joan Mir, Johann Zarco and Takaaki Nakagami. By contrast, only the test riders plus rookie Pedro Acosta from the manufacturers Ducati, KTM and Aprilia were allowed to take part in the shakedown test.
“We want to make the best possible use of the concessions,” said Meregalli for Yamaha, echoing exactly what Puig had to say for Honda. According to Meregalli, Yamaha’s “plan is to bring two engine updates during the season.”
Of course, the voices from the Ducati camp sound different. The team that was once the first winner in 2016 and won a MotoGP race for the first time since 2010 is now at the other end of the spectrum, namely in Group A.
“The fact that the two Japanese manufacturers have now been given these concessions will be a great help to them in getting back to the front of the field. Although they also managed to finish on the podium last year, we accept this situation,” says Ducati Team Manager Davide Tardozzi.
However, there are also complaints from the Ducati camp about the new concession system. World champion Francesco Bagnaia, for example, recently criticized the fact that the new rules not only give Honda and Yamaha a direct advantage, but also put Ducati at a direct disadvantage.
KTM has a similar view. “A lot has changed for us. Compared to last year, we have significantly fewer tires available [for testing],” notes KTM Team Manager Francesco Guidotti. “For the manufacturers in Group D, on the other hand, there are really big concessions. I’m sure they will take advantage of them. We can only concentrate on ourselves and our daily work.”
Like KTM, Aprilia is now also in Group C of the new concession system based on the results of 2023. Aprilia Team Manager Paolo Bonora: “The new rules benefit the manufacturers who are technically behind. There is no question about that. They are now being given a helping hand with many new rules.”
“At the same time,” Bonora continued about Honda and Yamaha, “this benefits the show. A tight field helps the show and we hope that the fans at home will enjoy watching it even more from now on.”