125s To Be Replaced By Four Strokes From 2012

With the success of the switch from the 250cc class to the four-stroke Moto2 formula - in terms of cost, and certainly in terms of grid size - the many fans of the two-stroke engine have been fearing the worst: the disappearance of the last two-stroke formula from the MotoGP paddock. At Assen, news is unofficially emerging that their fears have been confirmed. For the members of the Grand Prix commission are close to an agreement on replacing the 125cc class, and the bad news for two-stroke enthusiasts is that the smallest of the Grand Prix classes is about to turn four stroke.

From 2012 - or possibly 2013, according to some rumors - the 125s will be replaced with a 250cc four-stroke single. Contrary to earlier reports, though, the bikes will not be based on the existing four-stroke engines being used in motocross bikes such as Yamaha's YZ250F or Honda's CRF250R. The engines will have a maximum bore of 81 millimeters, making for much higher-revving short-stroke motors. 

The risk of a four-stroke engine is that engineering costs can of course be radically more expensive, and so to keep down costs, two measures will be put in place. Firstly, any manufacturer wishing to enter will have to make a significant number of engines available, with between 10 and 15 the figures being mentioned. Secondly, the engines will be offered at a fixed price of around 10,000 euros, in the hope of discouraging factories from investing large sums to try to gain an advantage. 

Given that the current range of motocross 250s produce in the region of 45 rear-wheel horsepower with a narrower bore and much longer stroke, the new "Moto3" bikes are likely to produce something in the region of 50 horsepower, not a million miles from what a racing 125cc bike produces. What that means in terms of speed remains to be seen, as the additional weight of a four-stroke lump will likely be a disadvantage.

The astute observer will have noticed that the 81mm bore is a familiar number. With the new 1000cc regulations due to be introduced in 2012 also imposing a bore limit of 81mm, a 250cc single would be one cylinder from the new 1000cc bikes. What this means for Moto2 is potentially even more interesting: With FIM President Vito Ippolito already talking of removing the spec engine requirement for Moto2 at the end of the three-year contract which Honda has, the natural progression from this - as veteran journalist Dennis Noyes pointed out - is a 500cc twin with an 81mm bore. Such a machine would be much closer to a Grand Prix prototype than the current production-based 600cc four cylinder engine being used in Moto2.

Speculation about Moto2 must remain just that, however, speculation. But that the 125cc formula is coming to an end is virtually certain. From 2013, the only two-strokes in the paddock will be the scooters carrying the riders to and from the pits.

With the success of the switch from the 250cc class to the four-stroke Moto2 formula - in terms of cost, and certainly in terms of grid size - the many fans of the two-stroke engine have been fearing the worst: the disappearance of the last two-stroke formula from the MotoGP paddock. At Assen, news is unofficially emerging that their fears have been confirmed. For the members of the Grand Prix commission are close to an agreement on replacing the 125cc class, and the bad news for two-stroke enthusiasts is that the smallest of the Grand Prix classes is about to turn four stroke.From 2012 - or possibly 2013, according to some rumors - the 125s will be replaced with a 250cc four-stroke single. Contrary to earlier reports, though, the bikes will not be based on the existing four-stroke engines being used in motocross bikes such as Yamaha's YZ250F or Honda's CRF250R. The engines will have a maximum bore of 81 millimeters, making for much higher-revving short-stroke motors. 

Comments

let's see how long these 'rules' stand

Like Moto2 originally did these rules look like a promising start but they have over a year to let the MSMA muddy the waters.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 57

I, for one, think that the

I, for one, think that the 500cc twin formula would be awesome! As long as factory teams were also made to provide similarly tuned engines to 10-15 privateer/satellite teams for use in independant chassis, it could be awesome. And simply being able to still say, "500s and 250s" would mean a lot in a historical sense.

Total votes: 59

Three headed monster

All of the bikes will go the same speed, and we might have no creativity of variance of engine design (if everyone designs to the maximum bore).

The three headed monster is on a tear. The engineering head (the MSMA) have ruined GP with needlessly expensive technical formula that is wreaking havoc on the size of the grid and boring us to death during the races (most of the time). The marketing head (Dorna) and the bean-counting head (MSMA headquarters) are now 100% dedicated to homogenizing the feeder classes so they can be run with interchangeable parts.

How does this new 81mm structure benefit the consumer? We get to watch technologically homogenized bikes race around in circles for the next 25 years? I suppose it's slightly better than spec Aprilia racing.

WSBK has a wide variety of designs and almost all of the bikes are competitive. New models are unveiled with pomp and circumstance and the technical evolution of the sport is both entertaining and sustainable. Before the 1200cc twin rules, WSBK didn't even have performance indexing in the rule book. Why is GP incapable of using the same model, but at a much higher specification of equipment?

The MSMA dont want to, or the FIM contracts don't allow it. Either is possible in my book.

If only we could go back in time and install a massive air fence at Suzuka.

If we get a 750cc triple class, I might change my mind----not about saving Kato, about the three heads of the GP monster that are not working in coordination.

Total votes: 48

They need to carry forward.

Certainly the success of the Moto2 class justifies a switch like this. *Fixing* this sport is not going to be as easy as switching some rules around. It is going to take time, and merit.

Currently, there is a clear lacking of riders able to run at competitive speeds. Why not mend this with a class system that pushes good riders forward who have a good handle on a unified technology? It would seem to me that we have already seen what a dysfunctional and highly differentiated class system gets us -- test riders filling the shoes of injured ones.

Moto2 has made a step in the right direction. And while it's a far cry from perfect, it is certainly the most promising thing that we've seem from the sport in recent times.

Total votes: 56

Unified technology

"Why not mend this with a class system that pushes good riders forward who have a good handle on a unified technology?"

The parts won't be interchangeable across brands so why force them to use the same dimensions and layout?

If you use a rev limited concept, on the other hand, the performance is unified, but not the bikes. The manufacturers can play around with whatever concepts they want in an attempt to differentiate their products. Suppose the FIM rev limit at 12,500rpm (~50bhp), what would that do? First of all, Honda's CB250 inline 4-cylinder engine would be legal so Honda could continue to develop it's obsession for multi-cylinder small displacement motorcycles. Such an engine would also align Moto3 with the 250s of the old days prior to the dominance of two-stroke technology. Kawasaki's 250 parallel twin would be in play so they could refine that concept if they were so inclined. Also, every 250 dirtbike manufacturer on earth could refine their 250cc 4-stroke singles b/c 12,500rpm only requires a bore measurement of 72mm.

It would be far more interesting, and as long as the engines were supplied for a set price, the costs shouldn't spiral out of control. The trackside cacophony would bring people from far and wide, the technical journos would have lots to write and learn about, the engineers would have lots of concepts to play with, the teams would have plenty of cost limited options.

It is vastly superior to standardization. Motorcycles should not be commodified unless its basic transportation (e.g. two-stroke scooters). Sports vehicles were not meant to be standardized b/c people's preferences vary so widely as to what constitutes a proper vehicle. Without engine variety there is no intrigue, no curiosity to try new things, and ultimately no motorsport.

CBX6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39JM42N7
RC161
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QUjlsBNRME
Kawasaki 250
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6FVdYVo00I
Moriwaki MD250r
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RwHOqn03-0

Total votes: 52

If indeed 125's become 250cc

If indeed 125's become 250cc 81mm singles, and Moto2 600's eventually become 500cc 81mm twins, this could actually prove to be a pretty good backbone to work off of for Grand Prix racing, along with 1,000cc 81mm fours. It may not be perfect, but it's a good start.

I like the two measures that are being considered to keep costs down for the Moto3 class as well. This class doesn't need to become too much of a small-displacement arms race engine-wise to make it interesting. And if they can get a variety of manufacturers involved, as they have chassis-wise with Moto2, then the class should turn out to be a success.

Total votes: 60

this would be moving in the right direction but

to really get it done it requires all the national championships to get in line and agree to standardized rules. It will take more than a maximum potential customer base of a single 35 bike GP grid to get several companies interested in making a high performance race engine. Having clear and consistent national rules for production and prototype racing classes would go a long way towards getting more technical/fabrication companies involved on national levels, which could then lead to more wildcard activity, something that is sorely lacking these days. More wildcards=bigger grids, which is the goal, isn't it? it would also give a bigger pool to pull replacement riders from, sort of an embarrassment that they had to get a 41year old test rider to fill Rossi's seat only because of contractual obligations.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 50

Why does anyone need to go so fast?

This is the problem. There is no rational need for a 1000cc sport bike. But manufacturers make them and people buy them. Since a split in 'production' and 'prototype' racing the problems of speed and diminishing returns have been on a collision course. As long as the illusions of a need for incredible speed and prototype delineation persist the problems will not be solved.

If people, organizations and corporations would ask themselves 'why' more often than 'how', good solutions would become clear.

125, 250 and 500 were nice round numbers. As good as any other. Phil Read and Agostini took 500cc 4 strokes with well under 100 hp to supposedly 160 mph. If formulas were changed for reasons of production relevance, ecological impact or safety, then larger displacement 4 stroke prototypes with no limit on emissions that go much faster than the previous formula made no sense in 2002. Going bigger again (800s to 1000, 250s to 5 or 600s, 125s to 250s) doesn't make any more sense. Ask the questions. Measure twice. Cut once.

Total votes: 60

Prototype Racing

Prototype racing should have a single specification that defines it - displacement, rev-limits or something similar that doesn't define the engineering approach required.

I am not seeing the point of the 81mm bore. This seems like a useless appendage that limits options and does nothing more than allow the MSMA and Dorna to pat themselves on the back for coming up with a simple solution (I believe Ezpeleta called it a "silver bullet") that, in reality serves no purpose yet sends that bullet right into the heart of what makes MotoGP what it is.

I am all for the idea that a manufacturer is required to build enough motors to sell as this really gets right to the cost issue and controls that insanity of an under-class technology arms race.

Test it here. See what happens when you let the participants loose. I'm really not seeing the consequences.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 33

Agreed, and do something about vested interests of works teams

I agree, specifying things down to internal details like bore is daft. They should set the specs at a much higher level. If they want to keep cost down, then they should specify that parts must be made in sufficient quantities to supply a good part of the grid and those parts should be available at the same price to all teams.

That latter point implies that manufacturers must be kept at arms length from teams. No works teams. The more I watch GP racing, the more it becomes obvious that works teams are the death of good, open racing. There's just no way you can have a good number of competitive teams when the manufacturers supplying them have a vested interest in keeping one team (their own) ahead of all the rest.

Total votes: 46

Agreed

I'm not entirely convinced that GP can be just one performance criteria; however, one thing is certain, motorcycles can not go down the F1 road which leads to engines that are frozen, bore-limited, rev-limited, valve-count limited, cylinder count limited, layout-limited (90 degree V), firing order limited, and engine weight limited.

Imo, technological evolution is critical as well as creativity and variety of design. The GPC should not be forsaking these critical elements in a bid to control costs and performance. The goal should be regulating the pace of development so companies have stability and can stay involved. This is particularly important b/c they aren't developing any real technology in GP anyway. Engine speed has nothing to do with fundamental air pump tech, it's all about NASA metallurgy to increase the bore number, shorten stroke, and increase valve surface area. It's more like "seeing what's on the other side of the mountain". Same with ultra-lean fuel tech and HCCI. Most manufacturers can already do those things. They can't do it with production relevant materials so why let them ruin GP under the guise of R&D?

Imagine GPC set up a bore limiting formula where they started at 76mm 1000cc engines and increased 1mm every 5 years. At the end of the 78mm era, the formula would reset to 76mm and capacity would be dropped 100cc. Every 15 years they can reuse an old top end design and modify it with what they've learned. The bikes would always operate between 230-250hp. Engine speeds would increase in a regimented fashion, and manufacturers would know they had 20-25 years to develop a pneumatic system rather than suddenly having to implement it.

They could do something similar with rev limits if they wanted. Like start at 14,000rpm and raise 500rpm every five years, and drop capacity 200cc every 15 years. So 14,000-15,500rpm at 1000cc. 16,000-17,500rpm at 800cc. 18,000rpm to whatever at 600cc. You've got 20 years to develop pneumatics. You've got another 20 years to develop airflow data that will allow you to hit 20,000rpm.

I dunno, I'm just thinking aloud, but this disorganized implementation of disruptive technology is tiresome, and it puts the series and the businesses involved in a perilous financial situations.
I almost wish GP would just act as an ISO certification for manufacturers. Let them pick the class (classes) they want to participate in. Let them build what they think is best.

Total votes: 50

IMSA GTP - the model for prototype racing

Before I say what I want to say, I want to say that the volume (number) of comments to David's posts these last 3 - 6 months has been outstanding! This is a sign of the excellence that MotoMatters.com delivers.

RatsMC says it all in his first sentence - pick one or two parameters to fix and then let the engineers explore the universe (bounded by those parameters). That is real prototype racing.

Did any of you follow the glory days of IMSA GTP and Group C racing? The diversity of machines was staggering and yet the differences created some terrific racing. 4-rotor vs twin-turbo V6 vs twin-turbo V8 vs F1 derived V8 vs V10 vs V12 vs twin turbo flat 6 - and those were just the engines! Enough downforce to run on the ceiling. Different seating layouts. Front and rear wings of different number of elements. NACA ducts galore. Can you tell where my heart lies?

How can you have that diversity and still have close racing? Because one gentleman - John Bishop - knew that the less you restrict the more innovation you draw. And do not think that the innovation always came from the factories; sure, they funded a lot of it but customer cars were modified by their teams in many ways, usually small, but sometimes that was enough to make them more competitive than the factory versions! (Kind of like Toro Rosso or Sauber beating Ferrari).

But my approach and opinion is one born in the heart of an engineer, who also is a fan of good racing. I think that real prototype racing - open wheel or close wheel, four wheel or two wheel - needs to be as unrestricted as possible. But I also acknowledge that racing needs to appealing to ALL fans.

Total votes: 59

Wow

GTP was the first roadracing I saw and it was thrilling. I think that philisophically, we are of the same mind.

phoenix1, I absolutely agree that the formula needs to be constant enough to allow teams to re-use designes from previous season and plan ahead for the future.

You say you aren't convinced of a single defining parameter but what if it is combined with the requirement to have available for sale some number of motors for a set price?

Total votes: 58

Deficit spending

Even with price and quantity controls, the manufacturers can still deficit spend obscenely. WSBK used minimum homologation quantities to police costs and unify SBK rules. The 500 unit homologation specials were sold all over the world to racing teams. The MSMA ditched this style of prototyping for less restrictive prototyping when they started MotoGP.

I think the rise of Korea and China has changed Japan's approach to prototyping. They don't want to sell their leading edge technology b/c they know the Koreans and Chinese will copy it. Both WSBK and GP racing parts are very difficult to get a hold of nowadays.

I don't care if they only sell engines that are slightly above production grade, but the production market has better 250s than 81mm singles.

Total votes: 53

Group C was awesome but....

Group C was awesome, but it did have problems. By the time they had finally cracked the code for fuel efficiency under race conditions (900hp 5.0L turbo V8), they realized it had little production relevance. Furthermore, the top speeds became excessive (excessive b/c they were reaching compression) near the end of Group C prototype racing which caused the FIM to impose a 3.5L maximum displacement rule. Imo, the new capacity restriction ultimately killed Group C along with the increasing costs of fuel management systems.

MotoGP is 3.5L Group C prototypes. Fuel capacity controls overall engine performance and the 800cc max engine capacity (below optimal) was supposed to control top speeds. The cost of electronics is skyrocketing, grids numbers are plummeting, and the manufacturers are leaving. If you look at the history of MotoGP, it's interesting to see how many prototype phases it's mimicked in just 10 years. The first 990s were basically 3.5L F1 cars where the engines could produce far more than what the machine could actually handle. When they chopped fuel to 24L and then to 22L, MotoGP basically became Group C prototypes. Now they've cut engine capacity to below the optimal level which mimics 3.5L Group C prototypes. All of this in just 10 years!!! No wonder the sport is in turmoil.

Group C had no capacity restriction. As much as I love blue skies, I think we can all agree that the capacity base for 4-stroke sports motorcycles is quite small (250cc?-1400cc?). I think capacity restrictions will always have to be a part of MotoGP.

Total votes: 53

Kropotkin said some very

Kropotkin said some very wise things about six months ago, about thinking stuff through before you start drafting rules. I wonder if the governing body shouldn't go back to fundamentals and think this through.

We, the spectators and potential customers, want to see good close racing, on bikes that are not that different to what we can buy. Ok - that's called superbike, and superstock.

It would also be interesting to see a class with few rules, where manufacturers could compete with advanced and innovative technologies, which may trickle down to us in time. (Modern radial sports bike tyres come to mind, as does race-spec traction control on the S1000RR.) That class is always going to be a bit of an arms race, and drafting rules for it is always going to be problematic. At this point, it's possible to use about 250 ~ 275 hp on a motorcycle. Any more than that is unusable, any less and you may be out-gunned. Instead of trying to limit cost by limiting power and performance, why not limit the cost by letting them do what they damn well want? Let the laws of physics be the limit. If you think a 1200cc turbo diesel is the way to go faster, then go ahead and build one.

The proposed rules for moto3 sound fairly logical, but why have a control engine in 2 and manufacturer competition in 3?

Moto2 does produce good exciting close racing. I love watching it. But it does not produce a good springboard up to MotoGP - the step is too high. The control engines need a bit more stick, and the boys need to learn about setup - not just of chassis and suspension, but engine management as well.

PS - Jeremy Burges would like to see the capacity of MotoGP lowered to 600cc. (I wouldn't, but if JB thinks that way, I wonder what the factories think?)

Mike
kneedragon1962@gmail.com

Total votes: 41

Great comments guys...

Great comments guys...

Total votes: 52

Econony drive..

Surely if we're having 81mm slugs in all classes, with 1000cc, 500cc and 250cc being the capacity limits.. the logical thing, under current MSMA thinking, is to have respective fuel limits of 21l, 10.5l and 5.25l..

Having electronics control what's available at the throttle grip in order to save fuel and make it to the end of the race is not racing.
Get rid of fuel limits all together..if you need to carry 10 gallons to finish, fine..although I don't think Casey would be to happy first couple of laps!

Reas Superpole time at Assen would've put him fifth on the grid in MotoGP this weekend, Corsers time at Misano is a quarter of a second outside Rossis lap record from last year.!

If Ezpeleta and Ippolito don't call time on the MSMA technical boffins, Flammini and his outfit will soon be running the "premier" class..which has got to send a collective shiver down the spine back in Japan.

Total votes: 51

WSBK Superpole

Rea's superpole time was done on qualifiers. Compare race times.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 47

Tyre wars..

Rossi said recently that Bridgestones are the main difference between the classes..Spies has talked at length about learning to trust the level of grip the tyres offer, coming from Superbike...and what about the weight disparity and the fact they are production based?

Halams best race lap on the GSXR at Assen matched Capirossi on the GSVR, his Superpole lap blew him away in qualifying by over a second?

Total votes: 47

For what it's worth

The biggest difference between MotoGP and WSBK right now is the tires, I'm pretty sure that the WSBK bikes would be a second quicker if they used the Bridgestones. If we wanted close racing in MotoGP, the best thing to do would be to ditch the Bridgestone tires for being far, far too good.

Total votes: 58

then the MSMA should be quaking in their boots

If a hot-rodded R1 or gsxr less 50lbs with BS tires and carbon brakes could go as fast as a factory prototype costing 10-20 times as much. It serves them right if with so much resources they can't come up with a faster bike than a modified production item.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 67

This sentiment of embarrassment is laughable

These factories MAKE these production bikes. Where is the shame in that? The only conflict is the idea of a need two classes of racing, beyond a contract with a promoter.

If the Japanese production bikes with 50 lbs less weight, carbon brakes and Bridgestone tires would be so great, then what they should really be afraid of is an Aprilia v4 in that trim.

All these armchair crew chiefs and shadetree engineers like to come up with formulas. But solutions lie beyond that in the organizations that are based on irrelevant ideas.

Total votes: 44

Armchair engineers

Unlike armchair quarterbacks who can't throw or armchair riders who can't ride, armchair engineers are often knowledgeable about the science of engines or the business of building them.

What if the SBK commission backtracks to 250 unit or 500 unit homologation quantities? What happens if the Flamminis get a better Michelin GP control tire? What if the SBK commission raise the octane rating of the fuel? SBKs would be faster than GP bikes almost immediately. Since WSBK has quite a few SBK-only manufacturers (BMW, Aprilia, Kawasaki) an MSMA pullout would probably not change the rules.

In just a few months, with a few minor rules changes, WSBK could become the fastest motorcycle series on earth. This makes Dorna quake in their boots. If Dorna quake in their boots, they might toss the MSMA. The possibility of being thrown out of SBK and GP should make the MSMA quake.

Total votes: 52

Again, look beyond the Flamminis

My point is not that one can be faster than another or one organization holds sway over another. In terms of racing they are interdependent. It's that the organizations seem lost and refuse to ask hard questions and make changes to adjust to the times. The common factor is the FIM and they seem to have no interest in solving any problems beyond licensing their three letter rubber stamp. The FIM needs a Max Mosely.

Total votes: 58

I never mentioned embarrassment

But what is embarrassing is how the MSMA go to extremes to design the rules to create the most expensive possible motorcycle without any significant performance advantages over modified production machines and yet prevent any other people from playing in 'their' sandbox with less costly solutions.

What is also embarrassing is how WCM was treated. A race winning GP team who was doing exactly what Dorna is now proposing was pushed out of the paddock and eventually out of existence.

If the prototype and production-based race machines have similar performance levels (and now even similar engine lifespans and ECU complexity) then what is the reason for this obsession about keeping technology secret? Anyone can buy and reverse engineer a BMW or Aprilia and get the latest brief on current engine design technology, then buy a MM Marvel7 and go at it.

So stop crushing last year's machines and let some more privateer teams have access to them to fill out the small grid! Which is yet another source of embarrassment!

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 43

WCM

Interesting that you mention WCM.

The differences between MotoGP and WSBK are greater than they appear. As Peter Clifford said, getting within 5 seconds is easy, getting within 2 requires some smart engineering, it is that last second that cost millions.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 58

Only if you play by the MSMA's 'prototype' rules

While I hate to reference crash.net, their latest MGP vs WSB comparison at Assen shows the Yamaha and Honda GP vs SBK best lap is 1.8 sec faster, Ducati is 1.6 sec, and Suzuki is .2 (!). BMW and Aprilia are right on the SBK pace, Kaw is another 1 sec off. So over the past 5 years production bikes have gained a lot while GP bikes have not gained as much. A lot of the technology that was unobtainable when Peter was doing WCM is now much more available. Add carbon brakes, BS slicks, and remove 50lbs from a SBK and is there really a big difference?

Yes, technology development from GP is responsible for the SBK improvements, but where GP is going it will not be able to create any more new technology to trickle down as it is being restricted in the very area it used to foster- innovation.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 71

50lbs

Everyone keeps saying "drop 50lbs. off the superbikes" as though you'd just go out and lop of some heavy bits.

Finding 50lbs is going to cost a lot of money not in parts bit in the expertise to know where to find it. And the testing to do it reliably.

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MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Total votes: 55

you have a point

50 is a lot to lose from a production bike. Maybe 20 is doable with a decent budget. A lot of the reduction could be from engine internals only. But still, carbon brakes would brake better, be lighter, and also make the bike easier to change direction because of the reduced gyro forces.

Add in gripper tires and some more Hp because you don't have to follow WSB rules and 2012 may be the year of the privateer if the factories don't get their 800-1000 prototypes working properly.

Which is a weird way to end a post on the thread of the demise of the 125 class.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 59

from stock?

Are we talking cutting 50 from a stock dealership floor bike? Or 50 from a race prepped WSBK model? Put a full system Akropovic on an R1 and save 12 pounds right off the bat. Thats without doing the wheels, or removing the other unneeded parts. Only 20lbs off a dealership floor bike may be generous. Race subframe, light weight wheels, carbon brakes, new internals ect.

Also, as seen with Spies 09 Champ bike, you dont need to remove the weight if you can better manage it. Spies had a custom underseat fuel tank. Having that mass centrally located in the center of the "handling triangle" is a big plus Im sure. Its still there, but its working to your advantage

Total votes: 54

50lbs From Where?

That would be 50lbs coming off the WSBK race trim. If my bike only weighed 50lbs more than a MotoGP bike I would be damn happy.

Total votes: 55

Electronics

What everyone keeps missing in reference to World Superbikes is the vast steps being made in electronics. I noticed in Assen early this year that the WSBK machines are making the same popping noises the MotoGP bikes were making a couple of years ago.

And take a look in the BMW garage, and you see a bank of six engineers sitting behind laptops looking at data. BMW is reportedly spending 15 million euros on its WSBK program - around twice as much as it would cost to run a satellite MotoGP team, and about a third of what a factory team would cost, although the fact that the WSBK program doesn't include the costs of designing and producing a bike from a clean sheet clouds the issue - and a significant portion of that cost is in the electronics. Dennis Noyes described the AMA Superbikes as $50,000 motorcycles with $300,000 electronics packages, and that is even more true in WSBK.

The homogeneity that BDiddy complains of in his excellent comments are down to this factor: computers are controlling more and more aspects of modern life and engineering design, and coming up with uniform solutions to particular problems. This trend is set to continue, unfortunately.

Total votes: 52

Computers

"This trend is set to continue, unfortunately."

One might say unfortunate, but I think it is a natural evolution. People felt the same when the first EFI systems came to racing motorcycles, but I doubt people would like to go back to carburetors. Yes, the progression of electronics makes the differences less visible, but to the electronics engineer or software engineer - that is innovation.

I am a mechanical engineer by education and trade, but I have been thrown into the world of spacecraft and satellites. Guess what? That world is almost entirely electrical. I am having to relearn stuff I thought I had left behind 10 years ago.

Change is part of life. We can lament moving away from what was, but I think we should embrace what is and what will be. Maybe we all need a "crash course" on circuit design to appreciate the innovation that is happening in MotoGP and WSBK.

Total votes: 53

It's technological but not really

It's technological, but technological progression didn't digitize the auto industry. It has to do with consumer debt and consumer preference. Revolving lines of credit (essentially they are revolving with the trade-in business) have changed the societal bid for automobiles. Two decades ago, the bid "x" represented what the car buyer could afford to pay. The bid "x" now represents what the car buyer can afford to finance. The SUV boom kicked the whole mess off when Americans were suddenly and inexplicably willing to pay a sizable premium for SUVs that cost the same to produce as a small car. New high-margin market segment = gold rush. The Japanese, Germans, and Koreans swooped in. SUV's were basically a mint for the car manufacturers, and the printing presses were running non-stop. This led to the explosion of development budgets and the explosion of consumer choices. When consumers have a lot of choices, even the slightest niggle becomes a serious defect in the mind of the consumer---a long reach to the stereo, a slightly uncomfortable driving position, wrong front facia, wrong interior colors, unfamiliar noises or sounds, bad tactile sensations. As a result the car manufacturers began over-engineering everything, and successful designs were copied, re-copied, remixed, and re-engineered by an entire industry. In order to utilize economies of scale and spread the cost of capital investment, the development processes were grafted onto all market segments. The technology was always there, it has been used in industry for a long time, particularly the virtual construction of vehicles which is common for commercial/military aircraft design. It's just that the consumer bid price was never high enough to justify its usage until the SUV boom when people were willing to pay a $5,000 premium (at least) for no particular reason. See also: the McMansion and the healthcare crisis.

When society suddenly raises their bids for goods and services, the prices adjust, margins soar, and the companies go to war with one another which destabilizes the entire industry. Nobody wins in a demand spike except the commodities producers.

We get wealthy everyone buys Cadillac healthcare and business expand subscription. The higher insurance coverage creates new million dollar cures and miracle drugs. The other half of society doesn't have Cadillac plans so they buy. The bid is raised higher and new cures/drugs are found. The rich increase coverage with new Cadillac plans to get the new stuff. New higher priced cures/drugs are created. The middle class/poor scrape together money and increase their coverage. The bid is raised................

See the problem? It's not just in the auto industry, it's people paying way too much via personal finance, credit, or government subsidy for stuff they think they need. If you say "I have $500,000 to spend on a home", you get a $500,000 home. Market competition only affects the quality of the home you get not the price.

Sorry for the rant, it's aggravating b/c people don't want to see how insurance and credit compound misery by increasing the prices people are willing to pay. We think that insurance and credit will save us from our misery. Look at Asia. They know better, although, they have a tendency to be a bit mercantile.

No industry typifies these immiserizing forces like racing. A manufacturer makes traction control so they all buy traction control. Some manufacturers get pneumatics. So everyone has to buy pneumatics. Another manufacturer makes a fuel supercomputer so they all run out and buy/develop a fuel supercomputer.

It can be solved two ways: 1. Rationing/regulating the implementation of technology 2. Forcing racing teams (via budget cap or other financial controls) to live within their means instead of existing as a line item expense that has been buried in a corporate income statement. We have a $120m racing budget! That's great, you're getting a $120m motorcycle. Joy.

Total votes: 52

To sensible..

I'd love to see say, Mladin entered at the Philip Island GP with a 150kg Yoshi GSXR running on Bridgestones..give him some testing time at the track and I bet he'd put a few noses out of joint..

Total votes: 52

YUCK.

YUCK.

Total votes: 59

Best

Best post describing this sad turn of events.

Total votes: 51

wac wac oomps..

Mladin has got a take it or leave it attitude for many, but comparing him to Spies who's impressing most, is legitimate..did he not win more races in AMA08 on the same bike?

Matt can be a typical Aussie but would not be fazed by by the paddock..remember he's been there before, battling against Schwantz, Rainey, Doohan et al..

Get Haslam to run in the same team so you've got a yardstick.

Total votes: 61

I love it...

I would love to see this happen because I am a huge fan of Mat - but of course it never will, for a lot of (not good enough) reasons.

Just keep in mind though - Mat did win more races, but Ben had to do what was necessary to win the overall championship. When Ben needed a win he usually got it.

Man I miss watching those two go at it!

Total votes: 55

K. I. S. S. ...

Only five rules are necessary…

1. A minimum weight limit (unique to each class)
2. Must use carburetors – with a cable (no fly-by-wire)
3. 4 cylinders for MotoGP - 2 for Moto2 - 1 for Moto3
4. 81 millimeter max bore on any cylinder
5. Continue the single tire rule

This will keep costs down, level competition, and allow the riders with the most skill and bravery to finish on the podium.

Unfortunately, this will not happen because the manufactures will never agree with rules that will allow a satellite team to beat them. It all comes down to $$$.

Total votes: 48

Carbs? Seriously?

Why don't we step back further? Side valves? Total loss lubrication?
I understand why you would suggest them (to make electronic intervention harder) but using carbs would not stop the use of traction control, it would just make it less sophisticated.
F1 got around TC, Launch control etc with a spec ECU, supplied by McLaren/TAG if memory serves. Why not have an independant company (Magnetti Marelli?) supply the ecu, with no provision for TC, GPS & Gyros etc. It may put Hondas nose out of joint with their develop everything in house policy, but after killing the 2 strokes they deserve to not get thier way for once.

Total votes: 59

'Matt can be a typical

'Matt can be a typical Aussie but would not be fazed by by the paddock..remember he's been there before, battling against Schwantz, Rainey, Doohan et al..'

You forget that he also got well beaten by all of the above in his brief period in 500GP racing. Mladin then fled to the USA with his tail between his legs and refused to come out and play again on the world stage. He won AMA titles at ease because he had the best bike by far (proven when the only guy to regularly beat him was his Suzuki team mate Spies).

What GP racing needs is talented young riders getting a leg up not retired has beens making comebacks.

Total votes: 62

crossed wires..?

I wasn't suggesting that Mladin get a full time ride back in GP, merely stating that in the hypothetical context of pitting a 150kg Superbike against an 800, as a wildcard I think he could do a job..
He knows the GSXR, Philip Island and raced for Yoshi in the same team as Spies..I don't think Dorna would allow it to happen as the potential to embarrass some GP regulars, not least the factory GSVRs, may be perceived as negative publicity by some..but if it did happen and a 'GPSBK' put in good lap times, it could be the perfect showcase for the GPCs new rules that we're still waiting for clarification on..
With 14 bikes racing you'd have thought a bit of urgency would be in order trying to get the 1000cc rules sorted.

With regard to the other points in your comment..and Mladin "getting beaten, fleeing to the USA and staying retired"...you won't get an argument out of me..

Total votes: 59

Why are we constantly

Why are we constantly talking about Mat Mladin lately?

Total votes: 50

I did hear from mecanics in

I did hear from mecanics in GP that this 250cc 4-stroke is just one of some proposals from the meatings from the 2 last gp´s. So nothing is decided. Theres been talk about other cubic also. And a change to 2012 was impossible from the contract the 125cc class now have.

Total votes: 55

Nothing is impossible, and

Nothing is impossible, and contracts aren't worth the paper they are written on.
Look at what happened to the 250s, still think this won't happen by 2012?

Total votes: 53

modern technology

Those of you hoping for a simple formula limitation to see more engineering take place are fooling yourselves. The rise of modern technology has all but killed engineering. There are many examples of this that can be brought up. Automobiles are boring A to B people carriers with zero style and substance designed by a bean counter on a laptop. Soul, style, passion is gone and on the cars that it should be built with soul and passion have all adopted the same mission statement. Beat EVERYONE else.

When I was growing up in the 90s, cars interested me because there were so many different design concepts and shapes to behold. Everything from the Japanese supercars like the Honda NSX, Toyota Supra, Mazda RX7, Nissan 300ZX and the Mitsubishi GTO(3000GT VR4 to us yanks) were taking on the likes of the 5.0 Mustang, Camaro SS and Trans/Am Firebird. Throw in some of the great designs from Europe like the E36 M3 and the Mercedes Benz 190E and of course the venerable Porsche 911. So many different design philosophies each trying to ultimately out-duel each other, but also being content to conquer just a small market sector.

Now look at the over-engineered garbage we have today. Lexus LFA and Nissan GTR. Basically the same car try to accomplish the same thing. Be the ultimate car. Sure its 2WD vs AWD, and an NA V10 vs a V6TT. But they arent really that different. They have exactly the same mission and it isnt to make the customer go WOW, that makes me feel great! Their mission is to show off to the world at how great their respective companies are. Yes, they are technological marvels and the engineering does impress me, but neither of those vehicles "move" me. In fairness, I havent driven the LFA, but the GTR is sterile and boring. Along with a host of other "ultracars" Ive had the privilege of driving, Porsche Carrera GT, Ferrari F50 and Enzo, McLaren F1 as well as numerous supercars, I find the new crop of automotive "engineering" to be great on a technological scale, and a complete dud on the fun factor. Fast, handle great, yet they fail to excite me. probably because they do everything so damn well and going fast is boring if its easy. I like to work for my speed.

BMW's M division lost its soul and passion about 10 years ago as well. Forget Honda. That company died on August 5, 1991 when Honda-San himself passed. Only Shigehara Uehara kept the fire and spirit of Honda-San alive with the S2000 and now, that is gone too.

This has happened with fighter jet design as well. The 60s and the Cold War spurred the creation of some of the GREATEST fighters ever seen, the F14 Tomcat, F15 Eagle, F16 Fighting Falcon, and F/A18 Hornet just to name the teen series. And who can forget the SR-71 Blackbird! Designed on paper with a slide rule and calculator, it still holds the world record as the fastest jet aircraft and has held it for about 40 years or so. CAD be damned! Sure, the F22 is sleeker, cooler, pretty sexy looking, more "invisible-ly", can carry internal weapons and fly faster than Mach 1 without afterburners, but the USAF also has a serious problem with keeping pilots in the damn program! Why? Pilots say its BORING to fly. No soul. 33% retention rate compared to 81% for the F15E Strike Eagle and 68% for the F15C Eagle.

So Im clearly rambling here. But I think my point is that the soul is gone from racing. Its not about being better than the other guy for the sake of being better. Its about being better for the sake of making more $$$. So you guys hoping for a magical series where there are minimum restrictions and open engineering are wishing for something that will never happen. CAD and computer simulation will bring anyone who wants to be competitive to roughly the same area with roughly the same design and then from there its just putting your badge on the fairings. There is always a "magic formula" to be competitive. Modern mixed martial arts has suffered the same fate. There is simple formula of skills you need to have to be competitive. Its after that you need have a little luck and something special to be a champion. Competition has been sterilized for the sake of "fairness." I hate that. Life isnt "fair," it shouldnt be made "fair" either. Whats the point of being excellent if your excellence is dumbed down so everyone else can still compete? No, modern technology has made racing and engineering fascinating on one hand, while completely ruining the competition amongst the riders. Because now it has to be "fair" for everyone.

I dont think that a single piston with a 81 limit is a bad thing. It is still going to be a fairly simple motor since its a single piston. Teams can experiment with different head combinations, but the cost will be higher. Supercross and motocross costs have increased with the switch to 4 stroke since its a more complicated engine and it requires more parts and attention.

Anyone else have a thought that this is part of the "green" movement? Somewhere deep down, Id like to think its not, but Im still thinking it is.

I have no idea how to fix this problem.

EDIT: BTW, if anyone is curious about fighter jet technology, Google "Sukhoi PAK-FA". Its the Russian answer to the F22 Raptor. Just look at the picture of that thing and tell me if sterility and "fairness" is the way to go in racing. The PAK-FA looks like a fat Raptor IMO since Sukhoi has basically stolen the overall shape and design of the F22. This is the same crap that goes on in racing. Because it works.

Total votes: 55

I think the only (and most

I think the only (and most relevant) thing you left out is Formula 1. It used to be the pinnacle of engineering, but now it's all boring as hell to watch for all of the reasons articulated in your post.

Total votes: 32

reason

I left out Formula 1 because I dont watch it and would not care if it vanished as a form of motorsport. For all the reasons I articulated in my post...

Honestly, I just never got into it and when I tried to it was a big boring parade lap led by a big red car so I quickly changed the channel. Im sure when I watching old school early and mid 90s NASCAR, which I also want back BTW because it was awesome, it would have been interesting. But alas, i missed that.

Total votes: 33

Favorite line of this post...

..."When I was growing up in the 90s"

Total votes: 33

LOL

Yea I was thinking the same thing, but its true. 20 years ago it was 1990. Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer were top of the charts and power ballads were about to become a thing of the past. I wasnt even 10 years old yet as I was born in November...

Does this post seem too much "HEY YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!" kind of thing? Am I allowed to yell at kids to get off my lawn yet? LOL!

Total votes: 35

is MGP intended to push technology?

if cost control (vs engineering development and "progress") were the goal, then perhaps...

- carbs with only a fuel line and mechanical throttle cable(s) and the manifold(s) allowed to be attached to them
- mechanical ignition breaker points attached to a fixed plate (ie, no mechanical or electrical advance) with a single wire to the coil(s) one set per cylinder

these steps would, I submit, eliminate active traction control beyond the rider's wrist along with the associated costs (real or imagined). would it be a good idea or would it improve racing is subject to debate obviously.

but would such a scheme embody manufacturing prototype racing machines of technology?

Total votes: 37

New Era ?

Maybe it is high time the GP Mafia and the SBK Mafia sat around the table and worked out a deal with the manufacturer's and tyre people to develope a single premier road racing series. Something like 3 classes in one big day. Save costs and make a pile of money whilst keeping the viewers happy. A sort of 125, 250, 500 era, but based around production four strokes. 250 singles, 500 twins and 1000 fours. Nationally of course each country will do its own thing, but maybe the big fish should look at this angle.
Rider wise the cream will as usual rise to the top. Technicalities should be pretty simple to iron out. Even the Chinese, Korean and Indonesian manufacturer's will probably get on board in the junior classes. Almost forgot the early sixties...Japan can't build bikes or cars !!!
Would be great to hear a 250 desmo single again...eh? Mr Domenicali, and yes, nothing wrong with going full production with the Desmosedici. It's already all in place.

Total votes: 33

Great idea, hard for many to see

This idea of a split between the two FIM programs needs to be rearranged or consolidated as you say. I think a lot of people like to think of some unifying formula theory given existing organizations but they will fall short of goals in those same confines.

The FIM also sanctions World Endurance and I think there is a manufacturer interest in that league as well. Suzuka is a major event and endurance racing should be as important to advancing production technologies as prototype sprint racing. It doesn't always fit into a 60 minute television schedule but it shouldn't be left out of the equation.

It's clear enough that there the exists the required interest to run two traveling circuses of motorcycle racing. No promoter, corporation or team should fear being left out. But overlap of ideas (or duplication of services) doesn't serve the FIM or its member organizations.

Total votes: 36

When are the new rules anticipated??

RADDesign
When are the new rules anticipated??
Would these be announced by DORNA or the FIM??
I feel that this has been a long time coming but can see now that the Moto2 format has caused a great deal of thinking, broken the Aprillia preffered rider / team format and could spark a whole new and potentially very succesful replacement to the 125's.

Total votes: 28

RADDesign: Is there any more

RADDesign:
Is there any more news on the changes to 250 / Moto3 on the grapevine??
I have made a study of this potential implementing the fixed bore dia. (81mm) and consulted with some F1 and specialist engine manuafacturers who see no problem with engines of this sort revving to 18,000 (on springs - not air) and producing something in the order of 65 - 70hp. Engine services also at 12 - 14 hour of running time so not hugely expensive to maintain!!
Sounds good to me!!

Total votes: 24

No news yet, but it will happen

This has not yet been officially announced, as there is no firm agreement as to when the change will take place, but this will definitely happen, as I understand it. The Grand Prix Commission will be meeting again several times before the year is out, and I would expect an official announcement by the end of the year. I shall try and get some kind of confirmation when I am in Brno. 

Total votes: 36

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