Although MotoGP is freezing some development until the start of 2022, it will still be possible for Independent teams currently using older material to be upgraded to the latest engine and aerodynamics next season.

That's because the cost-saving regulations, issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic, state:

'For the first event of 2021 riders will be allowed to choose between any engine or aero-body specification that the manufacturer homologated in 2020'.

And it's not just the engine and aerodynamics.

Since changes can be made as normal in other areas of the bike - so factory teams will still be first to get new parts outside of the engine and aero - there is nothing in the rules to prevent a satellite team switching from a 2019-spec to complete 2020 bike at the start of next season. A new frame might well be needed anyway, to fit the latest engine.

Most Independent MotoGP teams already have the latest (2020) engine and aerodynamics from their manufacturer. However, the exceptions are as follows:

In Ducati's case, since it supplies more MotoGP machines than any other factory, the difference in spec is largely for logistical reasons.

As well as continuing factory support for official team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci plus Pramac's Jack Miller this season, Ducati has also upped its output to include GP20s for Miller's team-mate Francesco Bagnaia.

Zarco also pushed to get the latest bike at Avintia this year, but ultimately accepted it simply wasn't possible to support a fifth rider on the latest bikes.

The question was therefore whether, as presumably would have been the case without the coronavirus, Avintia is to receive 2020 bikes for the 2021 season - which, due to the technical freeze, would now no longer be 'year-old' but close to factory spec.

It seems not, with Ducati telling Crash.net its 2021 machine line-up will be unchanged from 2020:

'Ducati Team: GP20

Pramac Racing: GP20

Avintia: GP19'

The only rider so far confirmed on a Ducati next season is Rabat, who already has a deal to remain at Avintia. 

It remains to be seen if LCR and Petronas will be upgraded to both riders on 2020/Factory-spec machines next year.

As well as cutting engine costs by banning a new design for 2021, manufacturers will also save money this year due to a lower number of engine changes allowed for the short 10-12 race season.

However, Gigi Dall’Igna's proposal for MotoGP to join Moto2 and Moto3 in having only one bike per rider (no spare bike) next season was not backed by the other manufacturers. Perhaps such a rule would have allowed Ducati to also supply GP20s to Avintia next season, without raising costs, since existing machines could have been used.

 

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