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Four-Stroke Support Class for MotoGP – MD Readers Respond, Part 2

On June 7, 2007 Dirck asked for reader opinions regarding proper engine size and timing, should the current rumors regarding the possibility of replacing the 250cc GP class with a four-stroke class become a reality. We were inundated with responses from our readers — on June 20, 2007, we posted part 1 of these responses; here in their unedited form is part 2.

  • I actually wish the United States would bring BACK the 250 class. Then, there would be some relevancy in continuing to build these machines and thusly continue with a 250 world championship. I think fact the current crop of front runners in Motogp are all former 250 riders is no secret. But, I digress…..

    What about turning back the clock and creating a 350cc four stroke support class. Or some natural progression of what would be the equivalent of a 125 (One Two Five as they say) class and a 250 class in four stroke trim. With the possibility of Motocross bikes going to 350cc’s, this might be the place where we could see/develop some of the new and cool technology. Maybe also limit them to one and two cylinder configurations to keep cost down.

  • I’d like to see a Supermono series as a replacement for the 250’s. The chassis’ for the mono’s would be similar to a 250 setup and should still be a decent teaching class for up and coming riders. With the singles being developed by the manufacturers these days there should be enough factory interest. Then we could get some decent street going sport singles from the factories. In turn, the 125 class could be replaced by a 250 four stroke single class as well for all the same reasons.

  • Personally I enjoy the 125 & 250 races and would not watch another 600 class race.

  • The replacement should happen, with the 250’s going to 400cc four strokes. Replacing the 125’s with 250cc four strokes would be good for racing too. Even better, some really fun street bikes in smaller displacements will likely follow.

  • Hi, I’m Ed from Brazil. Great website!!

    I would like to see 400, 450 or even a 500cc bikes with no more than two cilinders. I believe that would have the flickability of the 250 2stroke, with the up to date 4 stroke engines. And the distance from today’s gp bikes wouldn’t be too big. I’d say that it wold be something like what happened to motocross. And I also think it wouldn’t cost too much for the factories.

  • We’ve got 600’s.
    We’ve got Superbike.

    We’ve got twins.
    My vote is for Super Motard.

    At least something different and challenging AND entertaining.
    Just PLEASE do NOT give us more of the same thing.

  • My first exposure to GP motorcycle racing was back in the 1960s when 125, 250, 350 classes supported the senior 500 class. Many factory bikes in these classes were four strokes including a five-cylinder Honda 125, six-cylinder Honda 250 and 350 class bikes although the latter being a 297 as I recall. If a four stroke support class is considered, I think 500 is the perfect choice – double the capacity of the 250 two-stroke and a nice historical heritage. My bet is they would be almost as fast as the MotoGP 800 bikes on most tracks.

    I was fortunate to attend the one and only Canadian Grand Prix for motorcycles at Mosport in 1967 and saw Mike Hailwood on the Honda 250 six and 500 four, as well as Giacomo Agostini on the MV Agusta 500 three. Although of small capacity by today’s standard, there was no shortage of excitement produced by these wonderful machines.

    PS – Forty years later I hope to do half a dozen track weekends on my fully race-prepared 999s at tracks from Mosport to Barber!

  • 450’s

  • It only makes sense to make the shift to four-strokes. I’m guessing that if a 1,000cc four-stroke is roughly equivalent to at 500cc two-stroke then a 500cc four-stroke would be roughly equivalent to a 250cc two-stroke.

  • Please do it, the 2 strokes are polluting the environment!! 🙂

  • My take would be 400cc, uberlight, highly exotic machines. Think modern day RC166 or the like. Apply the same technology that’s in the big bikes in a pint size package and watch ’em go. Plus, another market niche for street use. Sign me up!

  • The special nature of the 250 2-stroke class could be done with a 400 4-stroke series which would be in keeping with a very limited production class as is the Moto GP class It would be great.

  • Well if the 250 class is based on the fact that the old top class was 500cc then the new 4 stroke class should be 400cc or half the 800cc bikes. That would be close to the same HP as the current 250 2 strokes, and the manufactures would love it because of all the 400cc bikes they sell in Japan and europe.

  • Good idea; displacement should be 400cc though. If they are getting 200+ hp out of the 800cc machines, then 600cc would be too fast and too heavy.

    The real excitement of the 250cc MotoGP is the fact that they are ultra-lite and have extreme lean-angles and cornering speeds. Keeping the displacement to 400cc would keep this same excitement in the class.

  • Perhaps a 450, 500, or 550cc support class that could spur a resurgence in interest smaller bikes again.
    The Mito 500 comes to mind, and the aprilia motocross engines come to mind as a springboard.

  • 400cc prototypes…

    in line four or v-twins….

  • I say bring a 400cc four-stroke class in–half the size of the premier bikes. Perhaps we’ll see some really cool 400cc streetbikes come from it.

  • years ago in the ama, there was a nice class where sweet machines like the fzr400 fit in, light weight, great handling, and far enough from the modern 800cc machines

  • I put about a few ideas on a forum and they were pretty much condemned, but here goes;

    To replace 250cc 2-T; four stroke bikes with the same weight restrictions as the 250s, maximum of 2 cylinders – capacity 500cc. Forced induction allowed.

    To replace the 125cc bikes – 250cc single cylinder 4 strokes with the same weight limitations as the 125s. Forced induction allowed.

    Sensible limitations on exotic materials in either class.

    My idea is to encourage innovative ideas in these classes that might be passed onto the 800s if they work, to have really close racing, and to have bikes that sound good!!

  • 250GP should have appropriately sized four stroke motorcycles allowed in. Racing is supposed to improve the breed, and for that to happen in 250GP four strokes need to be allowed. I would rather see racing lead what is on the street, than what is on the street lead racing, so I don’t like 600cc.

    450cc seems like the correct displacement to me. Motocross decided that 450cc 4-stroke is equivalent to 250cc 2-stroke, and the 450cc 4-strokes are already having an advantage. Also, because 600cc race replicas have become so powerful it would be nice to see a smaller class of sport bikes on the market, and a 450cc class in Moto GP could drive that.

  • I like the 250 class.

    But if they were going to replace it, I’d like what ever “it” is to be purpose built race bikes. Just like the 250s…. So for me, that means not production based. 600s are great bikes, fast, great handling, but like what was mentioned in the brief article–600cc racing exists in many forms. So why have more redundancy? Make the displacement to be somewhere in the 400-500cc range. And then maybe 1/2 of that again to replace the 125s? 800/400/200? Keep the weights low also.

    I guess it all comes down to is ‘how much money are the factories willing to spend to develop new race bikes’. If it isn’t much. Then we will either end up keeping 250s/125s or another production based 600cc class.

  • Leave it alone. With the disappearance of tobacco endorsements ( e.g. Gauloises and Camel) and thus financial support to the GP teams the pinnacle of motorcycle road racing is in trouble. Financial trouble. Even Valentino Rossi struggled to find financial support for the 2007 season, only to supported at the last moment by a personal friend and owner at Fiat. Changing the paradigm in displacement creates a greater financial burden in research and development for the GP teams. Let’s leave it alone. It’s fantastic the way it is.

  • Why not a under-600cc limit with a 500cc cap for 4 cylinders. It would be interesting to see “beginner bikes” raced on this level.

  • I think it would be a great idea to replace the existing 250cc. But it has to be with bikes that act and run somewhat similar; say a 450cc four stroke. Already too many 600cc races and no point in having the premier class with just 200cc bigger motors. Added benefit will be that manufacturers will be going for as much power as possible from only 450 or so cc displacement and this may hold some benefit for street bikes eventually where it seems bigger is better philosophy has completely taken over.

  • Well, 400cc would be 50% capacity of the 800s so that could be interesting.
    Another option would be to have
    250s replaced by a 4-stroke twin series up to 600cc 125s repalced by a 4-stroke series up to 250cc

    Finally, you could replace the current 250s with any engine type but still with a max 250cc and a max horsepower (this could then allow diesels, turbo, supercharged engines etc). The horsepower cap would then keep it affordable and manageable for the younger riders. And allow some further innovation before new trends moving to the premier class..

  • 650cc twins. Then Ducati @ Aprillia can race their twins, we don’t have yet another 600 FX/supersport class and think of the neat, new engines! Plus the sound of a twin?!?!?! Sweet!

  • I would want to see a 400cc displacement motor with 1, 2 or 3 cylinders. Stay away from 4 cylinder motors, as those have already been developed well by the manufacturers for other race series.

  • It would seem that the same logic that created the two-stroke 250cc class would apply here, 400cc two cylinder 4-strokes. The manufacturers would trickle their MotoGP
    parts and combustion models down to the 400cc class, development costs would be minimal.

    This would achieve similar power levels as the current 250’s, not to mention the possibilitiy of 400cc GP bike replica’s for the street.
    Anyone interested in a 400cc, 100hp 18,000 rpm, Ducati V-twin streetbike?

  • I think a 500 single class would produce very interesting racing and also create a low cost club level racing motorcycle.

  • Say goodbye to the two-strokes, hello to the future.

    No matter how clean and efficient modern two-stroke engines can be engineered, too many people regard them as noisy, dirty and smelly. Not a good thing in the face of today’s green philosophy.

    Alternative? Think about replacing the current two-stroke GP machines with 400cc and 200cc four-stroke classes.

    Politically correct “clean” technology with the potential of two new classes of street-bike. Important points in appealing to government types and, more importantly, new riders.

    I hope this happens (if just to hear one of these new engines approaching some stratospherically high redline!)

  • Don’t do it Dorna!

    Apart from the huge cost factor it’ll bring compared to running a 250 two stroke…….it’ll become far too similar to World Superbike and Supersport to watch!
    250 GP bikes are pure racing bikes that teach young up-comers how to race proper racing motorcycles!

    Leave it alone!!

  • Simple, The manufactures need to make 250 and 500cc 4 stroke GP bikes. Not single cylinders, must be multiple.

  • No interest from me. I can see 600s with AMA, WERA, CCS.
    250GP is great racing.

  • Is replacing 250cc two-strokes a good idea? Yes, I believe motorcycle road racing fans today will identify much more readily with four stroke machines than with the current two strokes. The motorcycles we are able to buy today for street use are all four strokes. There are fewer and fewer “old” two stroke street machines seen on the roads every year.

    An appropriate four-stoke series to be run in conjunction with MotoGP? Why not apply the tried and true formula? The current MotoGP displacement limit is 800cc, so the support classes could be 400cc and 200cc. Simple, like the 500/250/125 two stroke classes of a few years ago. Of course, each of the new categories will be complicated with further rules just as the 990cc and the replacement 800cc class have been; differing weight limits based on engine configuration, for instance.

  • A 500 class is the obvious choice. I’ve always thought the 600 class was a fluke. The almost direct result I think of the now little appreciated or even remembered, but revolutionary Gpz 550 The old 500 and 750 classes, not racing necessarily but market wise, made a lot of sense.

    It’s a shame I think that the 750’s have disappeared except for the GSXR and the odd Ducati. Many feel as I do that liter bikes are silly as a practical matter. There is nothing the 750 GSXR won’t do as well or better than it’s 1000cc brother in the real world, road or track. The 600s have gone way beyond entry level in any conceivable way.

    The liter Moto GP class was obviously a mistake, now partly corrected.
    If I ruled the Moto GP world I would have simply banned 2 strokes and made two classes. 750 and 500. That isn’t going to happen now but the 500 class still makes some sense for all sorts of reasons including fuel efficiency. Could it be revived? It is hard to say and not too
    likely The ubiquity of the oddball 600 class is probably such that the old 1/2-3/4 liter spread, however logical will probably never return.

  • While the 250cc class is obviously spectacular racing, it is now really defunct and irrelevant. I feel that maybe a prototype 400 cc 4 stroke class would be ideal. I suggest this because they would be half an 800cc GP bike such as it was with 250cc when 500cc GP bikes were around. There is no world championship for such a class and as there are already 400cc bikes on the street this would at least make it relative to the motorcycling world.

  • My suggestion is put the motoGP boys back on 990cc bikes, and put the supporting bikes on a 700cc bike.

    To reduce manufacturer costs however, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to run a 600cc bike…maybe differentiate them from the regular AMA 600 Supersport type bikes and allow more modifications…sort of a 600cc Superbike class.

    Then for the 125cc class, replace that with 400cc four strokes, and that would be a largely untapped market here for the street also, as it would be a better beginner bike than a 600cc, but more powerful, better handling, higher technology and not to mention “cooler” than a baby ninja.

  • As well as i know, evolution in 125 and 250cc classes must be this way: 125 2 stroke must be replaced by 250 4 stroke single cylinder engines (maybe motocross derived?), and the 250 2stroke must be replaced by 500 4stroke 2 cylinder engines, in the configuration (twin parallel, V twin, etc…) that each manufacturer choose. No major changes in top end power shall take place, so, chassis and tires can remain almost the same.

    There is an state-of-the-art technology in 4 stroke engines that allows this change to be made. And this engine configuration teaches to the rider how to manage the deliver of power of a 4T in a previous step to Motogp, and, over all, the never-understated effect of the motor brake, slippery clutches and stuff.

    I want to apologize because my bad English skills.
    Best Regards for all, ride safe.
    A reader from Argentina

  • Design the support class around 400c four-cylinder bikes. To me, it’s logical to use one-half the displacement of the current MotoGP bikes. Besides, Japan has experience building serious – and seriously fun — good-handling 400cc machines.

  • It used to be 250’s and 500’s. Now that MotoGP is 800cc, wouldn’t it make sense to have a 400 class?

  • It seems to be a pretty obvious move to replace the 125cc and 250cc two stroke class with a 250cc and 500cc four stroke class. With the advent of the 250 four stroke singles in the motorcross world, it wouldn’t be much of an effort to put those engines in a GP style frame. The 500 cc class would take a little more work and engineering to get it up and running. They should be 500cc four stroke twins ( possibly optional V or parallel twin configurations ) for this class. With 500cc twins in the racing world, this might even stimulate a rebirth of the 500cc class in the street world which would give novice riders another option for starting out on the street that wouldn’t be viewed so much as a “little, uncool” motorcycle.

  • I think a 500cc class limited to twin cylinders and a fixed RPM limit of say 16000rpm would be interesting. I would also like a “spec” fuel to limit the variations from team to team. A bike like this could be very light and nimble, use the Aprillia 4.5 and 5.5 engines as an idea… allowing the makers to experiment with overall bike layout as well as engine development.
    Also a 500cc twin has development that can easily flow down to street models as either a 250cc single or 1000cc four.

  • I would love to see manufacturers investing in a prototype 4 stroke class to support MotoGP, 4-strokes are far more relevant to today’s bike market and the development of 2-strokes has probably come close to reaching its peak. How about something along the lines of 450cc twins (e.g. Aprilias RXV). Development in a class like this could filter through to road bikes of the future, I’m sure there will be a place for ultra lightweight, smaller capacity sportsbikes, as the roads become further over-policed and more riders look to tight twisting roads for lower speed kicks!

  • IMO the logical choice would be a 450 four stroke class. This would make for a unique class and would also keep the bikes small enough to be an effective rider development class. Aprilia would be a step ahead with 450 twins already in production and Honda would surely not have much difficulty joining suit. Limiting the number of cylinders to two would help keep development costs down. A production version of a 450 GP bike would be an incredible track training tool and loads of fun!

  • Hi there. How about 450cc singles. There are already a lot of good light motors to start with.

  • i say, drop the two classes do a 450 class and do double races like WSBK. while your at it, get an RSS feed for motorcycle daily!!!

  • I believe the 125cc and 250cc two stroke support classes ought to be replaced with four strokes to the displacement of 250cc and 500cc respectively.

  • It makes sense to race a smaller displacement four strokes because of trickle down technology for us!

  • By changing to 4 strokes,
    1. Do we double the displacement to 500cc’s like they did going from 500cc 2 strokes to 990cc 4 strokes, only to lower the displacement in a couple seasons to slow the riders down, only to find lap times still get faster?

    2. Will the change to 4 strokes get to expensive for the smaller manufactures like KTM, Aprilia, and Gileria? Leaving only the Japanese who are already spending a fortune supporting several 4 stroke classes already, Moto GP, World Super Bike, AMA Superbike, etc.?

    3. Why change? It’s popular in Europe, I know of no one in the US that is following 250GP, I can’t name one rider in 250 GP. Two strokes are still in use in Europe, why not race them?

    4. If the change is for environmental reasons, lets go with 400cc, half the displacement of Moto GP.

  • I think that the logical replacement for the 250 series should be a 400-450cc four stroke class. I think that its important to remember what the 250 class now develops and keep its spirit and intentions in mind when trying to determine a replacement. The 250 class has developed arguably the best talent on two wheels today. But why you ask well lets take a look at our current motoGP standings and look at the top riders in points most of them were tops in the 250 class before moving up. The main reason they do so well is in the 250 class there is a limited amount of horse power but it is compensated by being unbelievably light this forces the riders to become really smooth and carry much greater corner speeds in order to maintain low lap times to be competitive. This also stress that the setup on the bikes be spot on with emphasis on handling the rider must then focus on consistency. A prime example of this is Nicky Haden without a doubt a very talented rider but when the bikes changed formats this year the difference between his riding style and the others who cut their teeth in the 250 class became apparent. Nicky consistently looses lap time by being unable to maintain the corner speeds of the other riders.His style is more use to using horsepower to help steer the bike and squaring off the corners a kind of point and shoot style of riding instead of a more fluid or flowing line used by other riders to maintain momentum. With this in mind thats why I say wee need to keep a lid on the displacement 400-450cc should easily be able to maintain the type of power the current 250s are putting out and keep weight down to a minimum. Lets face it if your a race fan the top class is fun to watch but the 250 class is the most competitive in the world and will keep you on the edge of your seat with its tight racing action. Its a class that you can watch someone in tenth go to first in one corner.We already have far too many 600 series bikes lets remember what makes the 250 class unique besides the transition in the dirt world went relatively smooth and they proved that the 250 to 450 transition was right.Plus on a side note how cool would it be to have chance to ride an rs250 with a crf450 engine?any questions?

  • Considering that the premiere class in Moto GP used to be 500cc two-strokes, and that the supporting class was (and still is) 250cc two-strokes, and that 250cc is half of 500cc, I think the logical answer is to halve the current premiere class – 800cc four-strokes
    – and make the supporting class 400cc four-strokes.
    It would be different from all the current road racing classes, just as 800cc Moto GP bikes are different from the typical 1000cc Superbikes, and it may spark interest in smaller displacement sportbikes.

    Just as in the premiere class, multiple cylinders in all possible configurations should be allowed. It would be fascinating to see what the manufacturers come up with to compete in such a racing series.

    Eventually the 125cc two-stroke series will have to be replaced as well. Obviously, I think it should be replaced by a 200cc four-stroke series.

  • replacing 250cc with four stroke..

    I think replacing 205cc two stroke’s with 600cc four strokes would be a great idea. However I would not have all the limitations that most supersport classes have. Having a low weight restriction and carbon breaks would defiantly show the potential off a 600cc motorcycle. Bike manufactures would benefit from this move, more skilled 600cc riders around the world and as they say “what wins Sunday sells on Monday.”

  • Not sure there’s a good reason to change it. However, 600 isn’t unique and too close to the current 800 machines. The Motocross template would suggest 450 cc.

  • If MotoGP wants to change their two strokes with four strokes, it would seem obvious that they look to the moto-x guys and consider using 450cc four strokes. This could filter down to the consumers with something like a Aprilia’s RS series. Other manufactures would get involved and you and I could potentially own a street version of those sweet handling 450cc bikes!

  • Well, you have stepped in where John Surtees weighed in a while ago. JS was in favour of a 600cc Moto GP class instead of the 800cc. 600 Moto GP would go along with the 125/250 progression. That would have seemed to have left larger displacement bikes to “superbike” and there was that fearful moment for some that superbikes would be faster than 600cc Moto GP. However, after seeing the development of 800cc dynamics, the worry now might be that 600cc Moto GP bikes could equal or better the times of 800cc bikes. However, since two stroke seems to be fading away perhaps a 250cc and 450cc four stroke Moto GP classes should take place until the next shift in displacement and development.

  • think the 4 stroke class running in the 250 GP class should bee 400cc or 450cc, just like motocross class run 2 stroke 250cc 4 strokes can run 450cc

  • When MotoGp was first proposed I thought the displacement should have been a 750cc’s. The next level would have been a 550cc and then 350cc. Now that they have decided on a 800cc class the next logical level would have to be 600cc and there’s no reason it still can not fall that way. So what if there are other series running the same displacement. Those bikes are street bikes not prototypes. If the factories want to sell more product then have a MotoGp class with bikes of the same diplacement that can be ridden on the street. The 600cc class is supposed to be the best selling of all. Put that on the track in front of millions of people and you’ll be hard pressed to find a 600 to buy on the showroom floor.

  • Is racing is still too cheap to replace 250cc GP class ?

    I don’t see mass of riders even today in 250cc trying to qualify how it’s possible if racing in this support class will be at least triple as expensive ?
    Honda have achieved with their back door games and 800
    almost closing down whole MotoGP – let’s stop there maybe…
    Ilmor spend 15 mill at least and it’s still not
    enough to even race on last spot …

    It’s as stupid to make mx 450 to 350 to make also mx so expensive
    whot no one can’t afford it any more on top privater level.
    The smaller is capacity the more expensive is racing.

    GP 250 cc is fabulous class and any one who will change engine
    rules in this class is very stupid human being as any politician.
    If you want to spend massive amount of money and race 600
    you can always go to SS World Championship.

    There is basically no engines, there is nothing whot will be better on this changes just lot of massive expenses – don’t fix it if it’s not broken.

    Thanks for a great job !

  • I would like to see two support classes: A 450cc (twin) class and a 250cc (single) class. That way they would make roughly the horsepower of the current support class bikes. I would also forbid conventional forks in the 250cc class! Let’s see some alternatives out there. Also, there is no need to go to a 600cc support class, since in probably four more years the MotoGP class will go to 600cc.

  • Yes, in light of emmissions and the popularity of high tech four strokes, the two stroke 250s should be replace by 500cc twins. Not fours but twins, any cylinder arrangement.

  • Make the support clas half the displacement of the MotoGP Class. Something in the 400-450cc could be interesting, and might possibly spur some amazing machines for production. It would be impressive to see what the manufacturers could do on a small bore 4 stroke at the highest levels of engineering.

  • Hi there. I saw your item and respond here under:

    First, the FIM has already indicated it will switch to 400cc four-stroke twins in the 250 GP class by 2012 – and there are now suggestions this will be brought forward.

    However, I do not this will be of benefit to the sport as it will add huge additional costs (even though a 400cc twin will be half of an 800cc four).

    Look at 250cc four-strokes in motocross. Their piston replacement intervals are short and the parts prices are high. Way higher than 125c two-strokes.

    What is actually needed is something like one of the ‘spec.’ classes that makes karting so popular internationally. And on that note, the FIA Kart Commission has recently introduced a new class – for 125cc TWO-STROKES. They clearly see this as better for the sport.

    Look at AMA racing in the 1970s and ’80s when you had the 250 class (called Lightweight). There were hordes of Yamaha TZ250s, and up to 100 Novice riders shooting for a slot in the Novice final at many rounds. This is where most of the US stars of GP racing (Hennen, Baker, Roberts, Mamola, Spencer, Baldwin, Lawson, Rainey) came from.

    Where are your stars now?

    Back then TZ250s were cheap to buy and cheap to race. The 250 class was a defacto ‘spec.’ class.

    On a final note, this is what a bloke called Kenny Roberts has to say on the matter:

    “A spec. class is what you need and you’ve got to get away from the expensive four-strokes to do that.

    “I think that a two-stroke is better to learn on because it’s more responsive, it’s cheaper and you can learn on it with a lot more clarity. The 600s tend to be a lot of smoke and mirrors. Some 600s are quite a bit better than other 600s and it’s difficult to tell the difference (scrutineering). A two-stroke – you can hear the difference, you can see the difference and it’s very noticeable. The 600 is not so. I’m not saying one versus the other one is a huge difference because in the end the best rider’s going to win, I suppose. But it’s a lot easier to do (scrutineering) on a 250 and a spec. class could be easily achieve with a two-stroke, easily. And it could be maintained at that level.”

  • I write to you from Hungary. I frequently read MD, because your news are really new and really daily. Thank you.

    My opinion about replacing the 250 cm³ GP class:

    According to street bike engine displacements, 600 cm³ 4-stroke seems to be a good solution to replace the 250 cm³ GP support class. But only according to the market. Two things, I’m afraid of: 600 cm³ is too close to 800 cm³; and the mid-class would lose its lightweight character.

    In my opinion, the classic European engine sizes, like 350 cm³ or 500 cm³ could be better solution, perhaps the japanese 400 cm³ size would be the best choice.

    I think this class should represent something on the racetrack, like beginner bikes on the streets, this would be the right way.

    And here’s another thing what I can’t understand, and can’t accept: the mid-size street bikes are missing from the market. For at least in Europe. There’s a huge empty space between 250 cm³ and 600 cm³. Except for the three old survivor inline-two 500 cm³ bikes.

    Please, someone explain me, why there aren’t any bikes for young beginners. For them 250 cm³ is interesting for two weeks, not for more. And a 600 cm³ sport bike is a killing machine. This is real danger. The ridiculous speed limits don’t solve this problem.

    If I had only a wish about this: please build lighter, not stronger mid-class bikes both to racetrack and street.

  • Getting rid of 2 strokes all together is a good idea and I think inevitable. Why not replace them with a 4 stroke singles class, maybe 650 singles? Or limit displacement to 450cc, with no restrictions to configuration. I don’t think another generic 600cc support class is a good idea though, I wouldn’t watch it.

  • Getting rid of 2 strokes all together is a good idea and I think inevitable. Why not replace them with a 4 stroke singles class, maybe 650 singles? Or limit displacement to 450cc, with no restrictions to configuration. I don’t think another generic 600cc support class is a good idea though, I wouldn’t watch it.

  • I think a 500 class would make the most sense. It would be small enough to not steal the bigger class thunder, yet big enough to thrill. It also has history going for it.

  • Yes, 250cc two-strokes have a place in racing, but simultaneously, it would make some sort of logistical sense for there to be a MotoGP support class featuring the same engine technology as in the showcase event.

    Given the 800cc displacement limit for MotoGP, and the focus on 4 (or more) cylinders, it would make the most sense for a “feeder class” to be based upon a 200cc, single-cylinder engine format. This coincides nicely with the predominant engine format for 4-stroke scooters, which seem to be largely of the 150cc air-cooled format these days. Think of the trickle-down benefits!

  • Bad idea,keep MotoGP as it is,or bring back the 2 strokes?! yes even in the “big” class.

  • Two Strokes are a dead end technology due to the restrictions placed upon them by most western governments. What’s the point of developing an engine whose technology you can’t use for the motorcycles you mass produce? I’m sure all the manufacturers got something out of the development on the four stroke MotoGP engines that they can apply to the motorcycles
    that they sell to the public. Kill both the 125cc
    and the 250cc races and give us 1 400cc and 2 800cc races.

  • Keep the 250 2 Stroke racing! Ever since the premiere class went to the 4 strokes I have been board to tears. The bikes make it very bland when compared to the 500cc fire breathers! So why on earth would they want to follow that disastrous line of thinking? Keep the 250cc 2 strokes and some of the most exciting racing in the world!

  • In my opinion a Four-Stroke Support Class for MotoGP should be somewhere around 400-450 ccm. Why? Looking at the current sportbikes one can see a 125 with common 15bhp and what is next ? 130 bhp 600s! There is a huge gap beetween bikes for teenagers and fairly powerfull supersports, no real sport bike for “beginners”. After learning to ride on a 125 one must go for another type of bike befor one can lay his hands on a supersport 600. A 400 ccm MotoGP class would give a very strong ground for this type of bikes (with good chassis, supersport looks and revy but not to powerfull engine) reappearing on the market. And i’m sure they could be quite popular and a very good alternative for youngsters and ladies.

  • 600cc would be way too big for a Moto GP support class or as a replacement for the current 250cc class. Ideally a class of 450cc four cylinder four-strokes revving to 20k+ rpm and weighing less than 115Kg. I say ideally because I doubt it could ever happen. Any four-stroke class where the machinery must be pure research and development as opposed to production is going to be hugely expensive, almost as expensive as the current 800cc MotoGP class. It’s common knowledge that the premier class is struggling to attract sufficient sponsorship to cover the massive costs of running the teams. How could a lesser four-stoke class attract the necessary funds? Any kind of production racing is not the answer since World Super Bike and Super Sport have that covered, not to mention other series like AMA and BSB. The current two-strokes offer fantastic racing at a relatively low cost to teams. They also act as a pretty good springboard for riders moving up to MotoGP due to the focus and light weight of the machinery. For sure a lower class of four-strokes would be great, and more relevant, but unless it could be better than the current 250cc class and be affordable, then they should leave things as they are.

  • Even as a prototype series, the 250cc two-strokes have lost their relevance.

    How about a class of ethanol fueled 450cc supercharged singles?
    Small, light bikes that lots of constructors could build.

    Good training for the larger four strokes.
    A good technological test bed for modern production.

  • I think it is a very good idea to switch to a four-stroke class to replace the 250cc two-strokes. If you divide 800cc by 500cc you get 1.6 ratio between 2 strokes and 4 strokes moto GP. If you apply the same ratio 1.6 ratio to 250cc you get 400cc. That would bring excitement to the lower displacement motorcycles market. The 600 class is already bursting with models. I think 600cc four-strokes would be way too fast and almost on par with the 800cc four-strokes. A 400cc four-stroke class would be slower but more in line with the current class. Another idea might be to limit engine to 2 cylinders and teams could leverage the knowledge of the 800cc 4 cylinders motors and the opposite would be true also. That way cost would be somewhat limited and could be shared across class. I would even proposed replacing the 125cc two-stroke class with a one cylinder 200cc class which manufacturers could recoup more investment and become more relevant in the public mind now that two-stroke motorcycles are a dieing breed.

    If this is done manufacturers might be more willing to align street going models with the motoGP class and hopefully bring some rationalization to the different motorcycle racing classes, not to mention achieving better image by achieving lower emission and efficiency for the street going model.

    Endurance racing could continue with the current 600, 1000 classes and a battle of the twin 1200cc class could be created.

  • A great Idea. Let’s turn the clock back a little at the same time.

    Let’s make it a 500 twin class but also permit singles limited to 600 or perhaps 650 (since that seems to be the current flavour of so many thumpers nowadays) – a little tweaking of the formula should ensure reasonable parity and perhaps even make some form of air cooling viable…

    No doubt someone will insist on 4’s being accommodated so I suppose junior (350’s) 4’s might be considered but would rapidly become technology for technology’s sake and soon have everyone wondering why are we putting ourselves thru’ this..?

    Make it a class of high tech for everyday (everybody’s) life.

  • You want to know what the new support class is going to be? WHATEVER BIKE HONDA DECIDES TO BUILD FOR IT.

    It’s perfectly clear that the FIM or Dorna or whoever thinks they are running MotoGP has no say anymore. Honda will build the bike and then use all their corporate might to have the class designed around that bike.

  • How about a 4-stroke, 650cc single cylinder series? Almost every manufacturer has an engine, and no one is racing them.

    Or perhaps each manufacturer could race their sport-touring bikes. (Perhaps this would help BMW get into world racing) Of course each bike would be forced to race with bags on, and possibly the umbrella girls riding pillion.

  • To me, the MotoGP support class should be more than just a warmed over supersport 600. I think the logical specifications for that category would be half the current MotoGP class: 400cc four stroke, with a limit on two cylinder to limit costs. I love 250cc two stroke bikes, I even owned one, but they are no longer relevant. A 400cc V twin would barley be any bigger than a 250, have similar performance, share some development costs with the 800cc (same unit displacement as a 4 cylinder 800cc) and be way sexier. All that would then be needed would be to replace 125’s with 200cc 4 stroke singles and the cycle would be complete!

    PS: by the way, great web site, I read it almost daily, keep up the good work!

  • With the big class being 800cc these days, i’d like to see the rules like this…

    200cc four stroke with two cylinders max to replace the 125s. 400cc with three cylinders and twins with a lower weight limit to replace the 250s

    I think that would give a reasonably level playing field for the small bikes, as there wouldn’t be that much of difference from factory to factory in terms of engine performance if they’re all the same configuration. The 400cc class would give the factories room to play about with different designs, say a 110kg triple versus a 100kg twin. I think that would make for some interesting racing and we’d see some nice development of new machinery. What about a Ducati 400cc v-twin, perhaps against a Kawasaki triple, with both engines pulling god knows how many revs through a straight through pipe!!

    I’d go to see that! 🙂

  • I would like to see a 400cc Four Stroke class. It would fit the old model of the support class being half the displacement of MotoGP and maybe spark some interest in the smaller displacement sportbikes. A 600cc class would be redundant as you might find the 600s going as fast as the 800s in some venues and it would be quite a jump to go from the 125s to a MotoGP tech 600. While we’re at it let’s replace the 125s with 200s.

  • How about a 400cc racing series? That would generate interest in small, nimble, fun bikes. In general I think change is good. I love MotoGP, but never watch 250s. Two-strokes are just irrelevant.

  • Making the move from the current 250’s to 400cc displacement engines would be a very interesting move. Critics would say you can’t sell a 400cc bike, but my own 1988 Yamaha FZR400 is still running strong and its agility is hard to match. Not to mention the all important “fun factor”.

  • I really think they should keep the displacement class but allow supercharging and or turbocharging. Lets drop needless restrictions when this is already available in many road going passenger cars.

  • Funny, this has crossed my mind several times recently…

    It was obvious (even to me, the casual observer) that the old Formula Extreme series with it’s 1000cc fire-breathers was the perfect training ground for MotoGP’s coming 990cc era. Hopper had it right, for sure. My belief is that this line of reasoning holds true today, with Formula Extreme sporting 600cc production based machines with traction control and MotoGP moving to the 800cc era. Manufacturer’s marketing and racing departments would jump at the opportunity to fund satellite teams to groom contenders learning the same tracks as MotoGP on step-up machinery. Lesser manufacturers (Triumph? MV?) could also jump into the mix without much thought thanks to the flexible rules structure of a Formula Extreme style class. But, how would the factories and, more importantly, the powers at WSBK respond to a threat to the World SuperSport Championship?

    If the idea were scratched for the above reason or for others then certainly a twins class could be created. With all the 4-cylinder machinery in MotoGP certainly it wouldn’t take geniuses to cut the engines in half and run them as 400cc prototypes in lightweight frames. Imagine a Yamaha parallel twin dicing it out with a Honda narrow angle V, both revving beyond 20,000 rpms!

  • Hmmm, maybe 400 Fours. 400 seems to be a reasonably popular size everywhere but the U.S. There have been some pretty wicked 400’s available out-of-states, such as the VFR400.

  • I believe the replacement for the 250s should be a 450 class with weight options for 1 or 2 cylinders.
    We already have this capacity in the dirt bike world and the potential for crossover of technologies, like more v-twin motorcross/motard bikes, would appeal to the manufacturers.

    With the right weight restrictions we could also see the single cylinder brigade represented allowing for the smaller manufacturers to leverage off their dirtbike knowledge.

    The negaitve of this is that the established 250 king already has an engine ready to go but the same prototype rules that apply to the 800 class could be applied to level the playing field.

  • Have thought the 250 and 450 motocross engines would make a great replacement for the 125 and 250 engines currently used, just as happened with SX/MX racing around the world. Maybe even a spec class of the Aprilia SXV450 or 550 in a race chassis!Given the history in the two stroke era, where each step up was double the lower classes capacity (125, 250, 500), I think it should be a 400cc four stroke class to replace the 250 strokers, and maybe later a 200cc four stroke class to replace the 125s.

    Also half an 800cc motoGP bike might possibly make the development costs more affordable and also may entice more of the MotoGP manufacturers to get into the smaller class.

  • Personally, I love two strokes. I would love to see it stay, but that is almost impossible. It may be time to eliminate them. A logical replacement class would be a 450 or 500cc single cylinder 4-stroke class. If this were to happen, hopefully the manufacturers would make a version of the bikes available to the public.

  • 350cc to replace 250cc two stroke.

  • My thoughts on a support class:

    Interesting to read this now, as I’ve had this idea in my head for a good couple of months. Seeing that Suzuki, Kawasaki and Ducati have a bike in this section (SV650, ER6, Monster 695) and these bikes are great racers with some minor (and major, depening on your budget of course) changes, I think this will make for some very interesting racing. And of course, Yamaha, Honda and even Aprilia would have to take a look at this segment as they don’t have any real competitive bikes in this size.

    Also, I don’t think the jump for the current riders will be that much different from the current 250cc to a more “relaxed” 650-700cc bike and should suit their body types just perfect, altough you’d probably have to lower a couple of the bikes…

    What this would also do is create a very serious growth in technology in this sector of bikes and in the end, it will be us, the comsumer, who will benefit from it. Can anybody say SV 700 in a year or two ?? Why not …..

  • I believe there should be changes to the current 250cc formula that is used in racing today. A 400cc 4-stroke Twin would be ideal, as it would still be light, fairly powerful, and would be in keeping with previous comparisons ie. 500cc 2-stroke V-4, 250cc 2-stroke V-Twin, 125cc 2-stroke single. All of the lower classes are half of the class above. Therefore logically the progression would be 800cc 4 cylinder, 400cc 2 cylinder, 200cc single. Just my humble opinion

  • You pose a very thought provoking question. As opposed to a ‘cc’ restriction &/ or an engine configuration restriction to keep horsepower in check, perhaps a good alternative limiting factor is horsepower itself. Instead of the OEM’s trying to squeeze every last oz. of HP out of a cc, the OEM would instead look at the most efficient, reliable, and quickest method of achieving a set HP. E.g., Premier = 240 HP, 250 = 120 HP, 125 = 60 HP. Engine technology would still improve, only without a fixation on HP. Offer a 2-stroke & a 4-stroke class; the OEM’s will decide in which classes they would like to participate.

    We’ve already learned through the course of this MotoGP season that the larger cc isn’t necessarily the fastest. The purpose of lowering cc from 990 to 800 was to slow the bikes down and keep them safer. Now we know that 800’s are, in some instances, faster around a track than a 990. CC should no longer be the defining limitation. Instead, the classes should be referred to as the 2XX HP Class, the 1XX HP Class, etc.

    Interestingly, Snowmobile is finding its way through some of these same type 2-stroke/ 4-stroke class questions in determining parameters for Grass Drag and Sno-X. Yamaha didn’t race Sno-X for years because there was no 4-stroke class in which to race. This past season, rules finally emerged to allow Yamaha to race a 1050cc 3 cylinder 4-stroke (no gear reduction) against 600cc 2-stroke twins. Here again, HP (approx. 140) would be the better class determinant in both 2-stroke & 4-stroke guise.

  • BRING ON THE 400cc SUPERSPORTS! Four-hundreds represent a bike class that has all but been forgotten by the US and even Europe. Bring back tiny cornering perfection and manic handling. And bring us a few bikes that will make sense for the smaller riders among us.

  • 600 multi cylinder bikes have been talked about for a while as the replacement for the 250GP class. It doesn’t make sense as first up 600 production bikes are ‘owned’ by the superbike class. They won’t readily allow the use of these production motors. If you then start thinking prototype 600 it wouldn’t take that much to make them approach 800GP speeds (especially with a couple of years development). They would also be very expensive – not so good in a currently buoyant world economy that still can’t find enough tobacco free sponsorship dollars for GP and SBK.

    How about 500cc twins. Think of all the engine development in 250 4 stoke motocross/endure engines. Marry two tops ends together on a fresh set of cases and away you go. Oh that’s right, Aprilia, the current 250 GP front runner have already done that with the enduro/ supermoto motor. I think the GP support class could soon have a nice 4 stoke twin cylinder rumble to it. Of course the logical replacement to the 125 2 stroke is half of it’s big brother.

    Can’t wait.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply.