Moto2 Costs "About 400,000 Euros A Season" According To Suter

As much as they will be missed, there was one very clear reason the 250s were replaced by the Moto2 class: Cost. The virtual monopoly that Aprilia had in the 250cc class meant that the Italian factory could ask whatever it liked for a competitive bike, and could pick and choose the riders to bless with competitive material. If you wanted to win races and have a shot at the title, you had little choice but to stump up the million plus euros that Aprilia was asking for a factory-spec RSA 250. It was possible to compete on the cheap - a privateer LE spec machine could be had for as little as 250,000 euros, though engine and chassis upgrades were still extremely expensive - but the only chance of success (and therefore publicity) would come in the rain, when the power advantage of the top bikes disappeared.

The idea behind Moto2 is incredibly simple: As the engine sucks up most of the cost of development in racing motorcycles, replace the engine with a cheaply available production-based unit, stick it in a prototype chassis and you have an affordable race bike. But just how "affordable" is a Moto2 machine? At the Valencia test, Spanish veteran journalist Mela Chercoles, writing for AS.com, asked Eskil Suter about the costs involved. Suter, whose bikes dominate the grid, if not the timesheets, came up with a figure of around 400,000 euros a season, per rider. Chercoles broke the costs down as follows:

  • 17,250 euros registration deposit for each rider, with the money being returned at the end of the season;
  • Around 100,000 euros per machine, though this is an average. The cheapest bike being the Suter (70,000 euros), the RSV - used by the Mapfre Aspar team - the most expensive, at 145,000 euros;
  • Purchase and maintenance costs for a Moto2 bike for the full year come to a total of 400,000 euros, according to Suter;
  • Engine lease and maintenance costs are around 90,000 euros a season;
  • A 20,000 euro bond to be paid if the team believes the engine is not performing as expected, and wish to return the engine before the 1500km or 3 race period is up. If Geo Technology, who are performing the maintenance on the engine, test it and find it is within spec, then the team will forfeit that 20,000 euros; 
  • 12 Dunlop tires per race weekend will cost a grand total of 40,000 euros for a season. That gives each team 204 tires a season, at an average cost of just under 200 euros a tire. 
  • 3,500 euros for the 2D datalogger used on all of the bikes.

Of course, there's a lot that isn't included here. The most obvious omission would appear to be the salaries paid to the riders, but an educated guess suggests that at least half of the current grid will be riding for free, with the majority of those required to actually bring money to the team. Around 200,000 euros seemed to be the going rate for a competent rider to join a competent team, but at least one rider is believed to have contributed upwards of half a million euros to be racing in Moto2.

While the riders will race for free, either spending their parents' money or the money of sponsors they have brought to the team, the mechanics, team manager, hospitality staff, press officers and photographers need to be paid in cold, hard cash. Some of those jobs are farmed out to freelancers - photography is often farmed out to one of the army of freelancers or private agencies present at every race, but even that costs around 15,000 euros a year from some of the better agencies in the paddock. Hospitality staff are often hired locally, and so do not need accommodation and lodging for the weekend, but still need paying. The hospitality units themselves are specially designed units, as are the race trucks used to transport the bikes from circuit to circuit. And speaking of transport, everyone needs to be moved around Europe and the world, and given lodging and food for the duration of their stay.

Add these to the costs of the bikes, and you still have a hefty sum that needs to be laid out to go racing for a season. Though a team could probably recoup a big chunk of the investment in bikes by selling them on at the end of the year - something which was impossible with the 250s, which were only available under a lease arrangement - and the cost of a race truck and hospitality unit can be spread over multiple riders, classes and even seasons, there is still a big chunk of money that goes towards just turning up at each race. One prominent team manager estimated that running a two-rider team in Moto2 would cost in the region of 2.5 million euros, a figure another team manager laughed away, saying it could be done much cheaper. But the truth is, though the bikes may be cheap, the surrounding logistics mean you are unlikely to see much change from 1.5 million euros for a two-rider team. Even cheap racing isn't really cheap.

As much as they will be missed, there was one very clear reason the 250s were replaced by the Moto2 class: Cost. The virtual monopoly that Aprilia had in the 250cc class meant that the Italian factory could ask whatever it liked for a competitive bike, and could pick and choose the riders to bless with competitive material. If you wanted to win races and have a shot at the title, you had little choice but to stump up the million plus euros that Aprilia was asking for a factory-spec RSA 250. It was possible to compete on the cheap - a privateer LE spec machine could be had for as little as 250,000 euros, though engine and chassis upgrades were still extremely expensive - but the only chance of success (and therefore publicity) would come in the rain, when the power advantage of the top bikes disappeared.

Comments

Great article..

It puts the cost argument into perspective..the bikes will be cheaper and more importantly, be on a level playing field in terms of performance per buck spent..which will encourage teams to enter.
The logistics, however, remain..maybe they should look at the calendar?

Emmett mentions 2013 as a global..
Rules will have to be freed up a bit with regard to the spec component..
Tyres should be first to go, Michelin are supplying CEV..open it up next year in Moto2?
The following year, ditch the spec engine from Honda and let other manufacturers enter.
ECUs should remain spec, along with sensors etc.

Whaddya say..?

Total votes: 44

ECUs go with engines

The motor company would want to keep their engine management systems close to the chest. Without their co-developed electronic control of FI and ignition, they are just acting as a foundry and machine shop.

I think they could make it open to other branded component supporters, but to keep costs down and retain a level playing field, they should keep them as control items. Maybe companies can compete between years, but I don't think this formula works without the control component system. It may not be as exciting from week to week where technology is concerned, but maybe a long view on technological advancements is something that will be good for factories, racers and ultimately consumers. A better # of engine failures in a season would be as much of point of pride for Honda as any non-premier class championship. Then the goal for the next factory who gets the contract would be to make 5 more HP and have even few failures! See where that ends up?

Total votes: 39

What are the chassis rules for a season?

Does anyone know the chassis rules for the season? Are teams allowed to run multiple different makes of bike.

It's almost guaranteed that certain bikes are going to work better at some circuits or with certain tires. I'm sure many of the teams are probably under contract for bikes and spares and such, but what's to stop a second hand team from accumulating several different makes of bike?

Wouldn't most MotoGP private teams keep several different bikes around if they weren't required to deal exclusively with one manufacturer?

Total votes: 58

None

I believe there are no rules regarding chassis except regarding materials.

Total votes: 47

Dont think there will be any

Dont think there will be any team in the top of Moto2 that did spend "only" 400k. Aspar and Tech3 have said they have a 2,5 million euro budgets for Moto2.

Total votes: 37

Which is the same amount you

Which is the same amount you will spend on a 250, but you will go faster ;-)

Total votes: 51

True

That's true, but the fact is that just spending 2.5 million does not automatically guarantee that you will be in the race for the championship. You risk being beaten by a team which spent half that much.

Aprilia's monopoly on the 250 class is what really killed it. Making 250cc two strokes go fast can be done relatively cheaply, but not enough factories got involved to keep the price down, and Aprilia took advantage, as any other company would have done.

Total votes: 51

Honda's Formula for World Domination...

and once again, Honda get their way. Decide that 2T is not where your interests are and effectively pull out. Yamaha do the same (though for different reasons) and effectively make it a de-facto 1 make series. Create a scenario where one factory becomes a king maker and develop an alternative scenario to bring costs down and permit more teams to take part and perhaps win. Then, when the rules are set in place, up the ante in your last year to permit your factory to win the last championship.

Because someone realised that an open 4T championship would be as expensive as a closed 2T championship, it's decided to use just 1 engine, coincidentally supplied from Honda (via a European tuning house). Try to mitigate concerns that you've just created a one make championship, closed to any development and allow prototype chassis. But as chassis are also expensive, teams use conventional and low risk designs.

When your engine is rumoured to develop only marginally more power than the stock engine it's based on, attack critics of your formula by making suggestions that WSS isn't really production based, gearing up your arguments for 2012. Meanwhile, the big, well funded and organised teams will still win, the best riders will still win and the costs, whilst a little smaller, will still be massive. All that's happened is that the Worlds largest manufacturer or motorcycles has managed to kill off the 250 racing department of one of the smaller manufacturers. And for what?

Total votes: 48

Sort of

After all that's happened, I'm starting to believe that Dorna killed the class not the MSMA. Dorna want to sell the show and they don't want to broker expensive deals with members of the MSMA. They also want to give IRTA a place to play. I think Dorna killed 250s and the Japanese MSMA members were more than happy to relegate Aprilia to the 125s.

I think the downward slide of Moto2 from its lofty intent has been driven by a variety of things. The engines are spec b/c the Flaminis demanded it. The Flaminis basically confirmed they were behind the spec engine when they blessed Moto2 b/c it had only one brand.

The spec engine devolved from a 150hp Ten Kate WSS-special to a 125hp Geo Technologies lump for possibly 2 reasons imo. 1. Honda don't want to show CRT teams how to make power and reliability in a spring-valve engine 2. Dorna do not want TC

These people are devious beyond all reasonable measure, but I think it is a bit different than you say. Who knows, we're all on the outside.

Total votes: 46

How much...

... did Honda spend last year?

;-)

Total votes: 52

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