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Honda to Supply Spec Engines for New Moto2 Class

Faithful MD readers will recall that the FIM, organizers for MotoGP, announced a new race class for 2011, Moto2. The new class will utilize a spec 600cc engine that redlines at 16,000 rpm. The motors will be available post-race for 20,000 Euros, so no big-bucks exotica: this is a low-cost way to break into world-class racing, although there are few rules for the chassis.

On May 2, the new class came even closer to reality when top FIM officials decided Honda would be the sole supplier of motors. England’s Motorcycle News reports the powerplant is based on the CBR600RR’s and is tuned to 150+ hp. Honda beat out Yamaha, the only other OEM to enter a bid.

Most interestingly, the new bikes will run alongside the departing two-strokes next year, rather than waiting for 2011, much as the new MotoGP four-strokes raced alongside the two-stroke 500-classers in 2003. Will this be better racing than the current close and exciting 250 class? Let us know your thoughts.

Press Release from FIM:
The Permanent Bureau composed of Messrs. Vito Ippolito (FIM President) and Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna CEO) in a meeting held on May 2 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), unanimously decided to introduce the following amendment to the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

Application 2010

Moto2 class:
Amongst various offers received, it has been decided that the single engine supplier will be Honda who offers high level performance engine. The horse power will be over 150.

Next year only this category will also be open to the current 250cc motorcycles.

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MD Readers Respond:

  • The switch to 4 strokes in the 250 class is a mistake . The 250
    champions are leading the way in moto gp and this is no accident .
    What we need is more r+d in the 2 stroke field as more power and less
    weight is the way . Once emissions is tackled it is a no brainer .
    Less parts and cheaper rebuilds is better. Thanks

  • All the concept of prototype racing is dying right now = VIVA WORLD SUPERBIKE!
    (but on the other hand,with the AMA structure we’re having,not a good stepping stone for U.S. riders) Richard

  • It seems that the only really viable two wheeled racing program out there is the one that some thought would evaporate with it’s more recent rule changes.
    That would be The World Superbike Championship.
    With entry’s in MotoGP evaporating, a spec engine class for entry level riders and AMA road racing going NASCAR, WSC is actually thriving.
    Spec tires and some minor performance limits didn’t kill it like some thought. It only made it stronger.

    With the AMA chasing away the real money that matters, the factories, that series should dry up soon. has a very to the point editorial on their web site on this and it’s worth a read.

    But getting to Moto2(only the AMA could come up with something more lame than that).
    I can’t believe they are going to hand this to Honda to handle. They couldn’t supply enough engines for teams in MotoGP yet they are going to supply an entire class now?
    How about using an existing engine that isn’t used by anyone in Motogp? Like say, the 675 Triumph Triple? Or maybe the Bimota direct injection 2 stroke? Another possiblity would the BMW 800cc twin. Hyosung GT 650 twin anyone? The little Aprilia v-twin also comes to mind.

    The possiblities are endless and it doesn’t have to be Honda(or Yamaha as they were the only other manufacturer to offer a bid).

    If I could could come up with this stuff in the short time it took to type this, you’d think that someone who know’s how to run a race series could do better given the time.

    Thanks for the really great web site. I check it every day.

  • It would be interesting to know what is trying to be achieved here.
    If they are trying to cut the variables down to the rider, I guess this will do it.
    It will also make the race insignificant and DULL, to the point of “why watch?”
    I think that most people interested in motorcycle racing have a little more on the
    ball than anyone that could be interested in NASCAR style events. John

  • We have a good idea for motogp2, which is inline 4 400cc, inline 3 500cc, V motor 550cc, single cylinder 600cc. every each manufacturer in world will benefit from this. Would be more fan friendly by having all makes available. Inline 4 every each jap co. Inline 3 no problem for triumph, v motor have aprilla and ktm, ducati, and jap bikes. Single cylinder all manufactures have.

    Also for moto GP3 what replace 125’s would be 250cc single cylinder 4 stroke. Its is available every manufacturer has this enginr in production, including usa.

    please respond an give me your opinion.

    We already have superstock, supersport, and formula extreme 600cc. people will start to get bored with all the same classes.
    Thank you for your time. Jim

  • Who are these guys and what the HELL do they think they are doing ? It is the most Stupidist Retrograde Step in Motorcycle Racing ANYWHERE.

    Surely they must be Brain Dead if they think it is going to be a winner – RUBBISH !!! They must be getting a Backdoor payment into their retirement fund/s to have this happen…


    IT WILL KILL THE SPORT !!! You can’t convince me that YAMAHA, SUZUKI, KAWASAKI, APRILLIA, and any OTHER MANUFACTURER are going to be wanting to go racing with HONDA supplied engines – Defies Logic – Maybe frame makers may be interested but certainly NOT the MAIN Motorcycle Manufacturers ….

    Way to big a STEP UP anyway – and WAY to CLOSE to the Premier 800cc Class MotoGP – Mid Sized racing should be say 400cc to 500cc NO MORE !

    MOTO 2 GP – IT SUCKS BIG TIME !!! Greg

  • Moto2 Class, aka the Honda Cup, will be another classic example of dull racing. I think limiting the engines to only one company is dumb. Don
  • Competition improves the breed, so where is the competition if Honda is sole engine provider in GP2? GP racing is supposed to be cutting edge, not what the Honda racing cup! Cutting edge, so where is the direct injection, advanced aerodynamics, advanced suspension, maybe all electric GP3 class for Pete’s sake? All the other manufacturers should protest this and refuse to race in all classes the moment these rules go into effect. A few years ago your awesome website had thoughts on the proposed at the time 800cc rule. I had suggested: that GP2 go to 600cc v-four, v-twin and or any type of triples, no inlines 4 cylinders (we already have WSS 600cc) and GP3 400cc single, v-twin, and or any type of triples. It’s stupid rules like these that has me not missing a single WSBK race and pretty much just looking up the results of GP online. The WSS (yes, 600cc) racing is great too, so GP2 doesn’t need the Honda racing cup! MV Pete
  • Should of made them 650 twins. – Greg
  • I don’t think is better for the race fans at all. This fly’s in the face of reason. Moto GP (all 3 classes) are the most technical machines in the world and that’s what makes the racing so exciting. Now we’ll be forced to watch engine spec 600CC engine made by one manufacture? I just don’t get it. I know the engines will be very fast, but it’s taken a lot of the excitement out of it (for me anyway). Am I still going to watch it, of course, but it won’t be the same. I really believe they went in the wrong direction. Getting rid of 2 strokes was inevitable, but open it up and let all manufactures do their thing, after all isn’t that what’s racing is all about. SD
  • Four cylinder 600’s to run with the 250’s? Even a two-stroke can’t overcome an advantage that large. I can’t see many of the current bikes competing next year. Charles
  • Well, now that the FIM has sold the title of World Champion Engine Supplier to Honda, all that remains is to auction off the titles of World Champion to the Oil Company, Tire Company, and Rider that are the highest bidders. What a tremendous savings to all their competitors, and a truly Green Championship. The only toxic emissions we’ll have to deal with will be emanating from the FIM! Dave
  • How unfortunate. Neuter inovation for the sake of sameness. Sounds bland and dry. Greg
  • Probably not better racing, since the 250 class has been really close and has a large pool of contenders on similar performance machines. But better for the industry, possibly. There aren’t a lot of folks who watch a 250 gp race and then run to their dealer to buy a track only Aprilia 250 2-stroke. Since 600cc 4’s are the bike of choice for many new riders and track addicts due to affordability and performance, it certainly makes sense. I of course presume that 1,200 cc Harley’s will be allowed as well ala US supersport he says ridiculously.

    While 600cc machines are big sellers, I’m not sure how the industry benefits from a sole source engine, though that will keep things competitive. Great site, Bryan

  • Why 600’s? Why not 400’s making 125hp? 20,000 Euros is still a lot of money for a production based engine. Pete
  • What a travesty this is. The GP organizers are dropping the only
    exciting class they have left to replace them w/ 600cc near production
    engined bikes w/ prototype chassis’.

    What is in it for the other bike manufacturers? What possible incentive
    could they have to run the Honda engine? The abundant 2 stroke producing
    scooter manufacturers of the world that simply can’t compete heads up w/
    the likes of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Ducati where does this leave

    More importantly the Direct Injection 2 stroke is likely to be the
    engine of the future and the best way to develop this engine is thru
    racing and done correctly this could have assured the series of a very
    healthy future.

    With the direction the MotoGP organizers have taken this series over the
    last several years I just can’t imagine how it could possibly remain the
    world’s premier motorcycle race series. Realistically it has already
    been surpassed by WSBK in every way except status. Sun

  • I just don’t understand the switch to four strokes in just about every class of racing. These bikes aren’t street legal so the smog nazis shouldn’t worry, I don’t see how the change has made any differance in the motocross world execpt the bikes are now heavier, much louder and more difficult to work on for the average owner. the beauty of the two stroke is its simplicity and light weight. While I admire the talent of Stoner, Rossi, etc wouldnt it be more exciting and challenging for them to be on fire breathing two strokes without all the electronic parachutes? Jacque
  • 600cc 4 cyl is too big and heavy and too similar to 600 supersport.
    I think Moto2 should be 400cc 4-stroke twins (1/2 motogp engine
    They can use spec engines but I don’t think they should necessarily be using
    production engines. That said I would LOVE to see a high performance 400cc
    4-stroke twin powered streetbike! George

  • Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly care less about the former 250 GP class, they turn it into a single class spec race. Don’t have a problem with the claim rule keeping costs down, but Honda only? How does that attract fan interest and develop technology for the consumer? Bad idea! Brian
  • I can see it now – the 250’s will race against 4 stroke machines with more than double the displacement and twice the cylinders, and everyone will marvel at how “amazing” and “futuristic” the 4 strokes are – just like MotoGP in 2002. What a bloody disgrace. Retire the strokers in dignity instead of making a mockery of them. Christopher
  • The 250 class was a full prototype division, where most of the world’s major OEM’s invested to advance the cause of LIGHTWEIGHT sport motorcycles, handling and efficiency. The numbers achieved by these diminutive machines speak for themselves at how much they were able to get from just a quarter litre. The racing too, was fierce and regularly outshined the 500cc or later MotoGP class for thrills, lead changes and surprises.

    This new Honda love-in at the FIM has done nothing good for professional motorcycle racing. The unmerited displacement change to 800cc in MotoGP that Honda instigated, lead precisely nowhere and helped kill the smaller teams’ hopes of putting in a challenge (think Ilmore, KTM, Roberts, etc.). The Moto2 premise is no wiser, placing the onus on one manufacturer to provide hot racing in what was supposed to be an international, manufacturer championship.

    The FIM and Honda have finally managed to destroy a racing category that has existed for more than 60 years, and given birth to many manufacturers who could simply not afford to develop in the higher (highest) classes, including ironically, Honda and Yamaha. Three cheers for the FIM for creating a Honda monopoly. Michael

  • This new class will be interesting to watch for sure. Anything new and different from a long established “norm” always is. However, it can get boring real quick if current economic woes limit participation. Great, we have honda supplying the engines so that “zeros” out that aspect (certainly another coup for them), but now we need the rumors of chassis builders like Bimota, NCR, Kenny Roberts, Harris, Spondon, Moriwaki, Over Racing, etc. etc. to come to fruition. Not thinking that Yamaha (or any other big O.E.M) is going to be keen to build a chassis around an engine supplied by Honda.
  • I can hardly wait! NASCAR on two wheels. I wonder if they’ll crash as often as the good ‘ole boys? But seriously, a spec series could make for interesting racing if the rules are consistently enforced. Eric
  • The whole idea is spec racing makes me puke… Jerry
  • Weight limits would be a method of keeping the competition fair.
    An alternative would be to allow the two strokes the same number of cylinders as the 600, that would be interesting. Geoff