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MotoGP Goes Back to 1000cc in 2012

Friday, December 11, 2009
On December 11 the Grand Prix Commission, comprised of top officials from the FIM, Dorna, IRTA and MSMA, amended the GP regulations for the upcoming seasons. While changes to the 2010 regs include the final rules for the all-new Moto2 class, the headline announcement is that MotoGP will return to 1000cc machinery for the 2012 season.

Valentino Rossi - 2002
Valentino Rossi enjoyed some success back in the 990cc era and has been vocal about returning the premier series back to its pre-800cc form.
The new “basic concept for MotoGP,” as it is stated in the press release announcing the changes, is limited to the general engine parameters, with three specifications:

1. Maximum displacement limited to 1000cc
2. Maximum cylinders limited to 4
3. Maximum bore capped at 81mm

It isn’t clear yet what the further limits of the new 1000cc MotoGP class will be, with the official MotoGP website reports that Dorna Chairman, Carmelo Ezpeleta, plans two more meetings to hammer out the rest of the specs. However, there are some intriguing implications to the three basic changes.

The good news is MotoGP is going to return to 1000cc engine, replacing the short-lived, controversial 800cc era. The decision placates the wishes of GP’s brightest star, Valentino Rossi, who is on the record stating the 2007 move from 990 to 800 was a big mistake. The Doctor has called for a return to 1000s with more restrictions to the electronics, so the rider has more to do with the lap times than the traction control settings.

The move back to bigger bikes also figures to improve the fortunes of American riders, whose Superbike upbringings brought better results on the previous 990cc machines. It is notable that no American has won a MotoGP race since Nicky Hayden’s championship-winning 2006 campaign – the final season of the 990 MotoGP era. Then there's also new American rider Ben Spies, who's done one or two impressive things in his career aboard a 1000cc racebike.

Speaking of Hayden’s 2006 title, it came aboard Honda’s dominating V-5 based RC212V. We won't see that configuration in MotoGP any time soon because the proposed 2012 specs make the V-5 illegal, which begs the question of what route Honda and other manufacturers would take while abiding by the 1000cc and four cylinder with specific bore restriction. Honda, Ducati and Suzuki have taken a V-Four approach to the 800 class, with Yamaha and Kawasaki (now gone) opting for Inline-Fours. The boost up to 1000cc, four cylinders and 81mm bore, present another tempting option – and potentially, the source of a legal firestorm: Conflict with the production-based racing known as World Superbike

Gallina Vecchia! It means  The old chicken makes good soup  but its no use for laying eggs. Valentino Rossi and his fans put together a trackside celebration poking fun at his age.
The Doctor will be happy to have the 1000s back in MotoGP. It may give Rossi another reason to stick around, besides upping his title tally up to double digits.
One possibility for 2012 is that teams might be allowed to run heavily modified production superbike engines in MotoGP. If true, the cost-saving move would put the prototype status of MotoGP in question. Grand Prix has already seen the purity of its “prototype” identity challenged with rule changes, including the recent change to a spec tire. One thing GP can bank on, however, is that the production-based and FIM-sanctioned World Superbike Series will not be happy about the decision.

It is widely understood that behind the scenes wrangling from WSB boss Pablo Flammini killed the WCM MotoGP effort, which at the time used a production-based engine and prototype chassis. Should any teams or manufacturers choose to run a production-based 1000cc engine in the premier class, Flammini and company would surely make a more serious move than voicing displeasure in the press.

Sounds like the kind of litigious ambiguity that keeps lawyers awake in the middle of the night, while visions of billing by the very expensive hour dance in their heads...

Stay tuned for further developments.

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Rider Bios - MotoGP
Valentino Rossi Bio
The most popular rider on planet earth? His name is Valentino Rossi and he won the '08 MotoGP Championship.
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The 2007 MotoGP Champion and runner-up in '08, Australian Casey Stoner is a rising star in Grand Prix racing.

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FahQracing   July 9, 2012 07:35 PM
What say we just go back to 500 or 750cc 2-strokes (or 4 strokes for the slow fellas but the same displacement) which if they had continued to develop since they were banned would by now probably be making something close to 350 bhp in a 350 pound machine, then see who could hang on to it and give the survivor a trophy a title a pretty girl and a lot of money...which is what I always thought racing should be all about. Not a bunch of politics and bench racing.
666 Demon Speed -What  December 17, 2009 07:50 AM
Danny Pedrosa is an athlete? lol
Fastest Bro U Know -Tim B and yo lack of strength  December 15, 2009 05:10 PM
Racers from GP ride at a superhuman level that us mortal men can't get close to. it doez take strength, I hate mo fo's that dont know what they talking about. Tim B, do yo damn homework and not yo ho-work.
There is 2 types of strength. Aerobic and anerobic. Racers need both, of course skill is #1. THAT IS WHY IT IS CALLED A SPORT.

RENDELL -TIM B  December 14, 2009 08:03 PM
You have to be very fit to handle the liter bikes when they high side. Due to Xaus' long arms and exceptional fitness he was usually able to hang on during a high side. Study racing, research racing and you will learn as the race goes on physical and mental strength is a factor. Research Yamaha's Moto GP Champ, Wayne Rainey, and his physical conditioning program he swore by to help him win. Your ignorance is intolerable. Just go to one Moto GP race, you'll see what I mean. Oh, and you can ride your 250 Ninja to the race.
Tim B -RENDELL  December 14, 2009 02:59 PM
I agree that there should be rules to eliminate the advantage of having a small rider. They should state the average rider is 160lbs or something like that and each bike will have to add ballast to accomodate for that if the rider is under 160lbs. But riders who are overweight and out of shape (not many in the top level of motorcycle racing) should not be allowed to have a lighter bike. These guys s hould have to eat right and get on a diet.

I think you're ignorant to say that Dani isn't strong enough or manly enough to handle a GP bike. Size and strength has nothing to do with "manliness". Turning a motorcycle isn't that difficult even at these insanely high speeds.

Oh and if your 12 year daughter weighs more than Pedrosa I would hope she's very tall and not severely over weight like it seems. That's a lot of weight for a prepubescent female.
philamar -new superbike rules  December 14, 2009 11:59 AM
Does this mean that Harley can enter a 1900cc bike in the 1000 class again? Those poor Chinese and India manfactures haven't won a title yet maby the AMA could certify 2000cc Royal Enfields or a sachs Mad ASS with a V8 hanging on it. I do not see how anyone races without factory support. About the time a team learns enough to be competitve the rules change and all new rules. Perhaps the worlds motorcycle manufacturers should pool their resources and create their own series and rules and Damn the AMA. I believe the spectators will follow the best racing not the organizations competing for their dollars-
Big Wig -Rendell is correct  December 14, 2009 11:31 AM
Pedrosa has a 50 pound advantage over Hayden, Edwards, and soon Elbowz. Ain't fair. Burgess does deserve mad respect.
Ciaran -Racing (except nascar and drag) is always about the corners  December 14, 2009 08:04 AM
any douche w/ reasonable throttle control can pull through a straight, draft, etc... The skill is corner entry, suspension balance, corner exit and tire management. The 800s are great, 1000s should make it easier for heavier rider because they dont have to worry about their weight to such a degree. However guys like Pedrosa and Stoner will always have an edge as far as fuel and weight. They need to have it so there is a combined weight rule (even then its still slightly in favor of the lighter fellows.) ... controlled ballast. Yeah, Rossi is on his way out, his attitude shows this and he better pray Burgess' heart is in it because that guy gets allot less credit than is deserved him. If you dont believe me check out Rossi's performance when Burgess' mom was sick. Im pulling for Stoner next year cause that guy doesnt go out of his way to push people off track and ride like a donkey. I pray that Hayden can keep his ride until 2012, would love to see him do at least one season on a bike like the one he rode in 2006.
RENDELL -102 pound Elf  December 14, 2009 06:20 AM
This means the playing field will finally be evened out, somewhat. The little elves like Pedrosa will no longer have an unfair weight advantage against normal sized riders such as Colin Edwards, and Hayden. A motorcycle with a 102 pound rider is a lot faster in every way and better than with a rider like Edwards that weighs 152 pounds. There should have been a weight penalty a long time ago for the elf riders in Moto GP and I'm sure Pedrosa wouldn't be doing as well. He doesn't have the manly strength or experience riding liter bikes like a lot of his competition does. Doesn't matter to me because I found World Super Bike to be a lot more interesting and I don't even follow Moto GP anymore. My 12 year old daughter weighs more than Pedrosa! Damn...
Torre -MotoGP Goes Back to 1000cc  December 14, 2009 04:35 AM
David rs Greer -MotoGP Goes Back to 1000cc in 2012  December 14, 2009 01:09 AM
The Britten Motorcycle is getting old now-And its still to fast for Motogp.ROTAX Buell Should make a Gp bike from california for 2012.And RD Yamaha should make another YPVS power valve system for an trail and Expermentel V5 for an 1000cc.NO COMPUTER TRACTION CONTROL NO ASB - Brakes- For god sake_..
R -Trickle-Me ELMO  December 14, 2009 01:05 AM
the possibility of more trickle-down technology into our 1000 cc bikes sounds good to me!
Jim -990 procession  December 13, 2009 09:56 PM
People have short memories because plenty of 990 races were boring processions also. The last race of 990's was a flag to flag victory for Troy Baylis. Even 500's had plenty of boring races when Wayne Rainey would take off from the start and never be challenged. Its more to do with the riders than the bikes. Kevin Schwantz was just a very exciting guy to watch. And 990's seamed good because of Rossi. He had the knack of leaving it to the last lap to win, so races were more interesting but he was just playing, and he still won 14 races so the championship was boring. Now the riders are good enough that if one gets the slightest advantage they just take off. I dont think that is going to change. If nothing else I hope the change brings Kawasaki, Aprilia and BMW to Motogp
Tim B -Get it together FIM  December 13, 2009 09:23 PM
I like the change back to 1000ccs. The switch to 800cc just made MotoGP racing more expensive because people were trying to make as much power with those engines as they had with the 990s. And the plan to slow lap times and speeds with the displacement limitation backfired. I don't like limiting it to 4 cylinders, though. This is a slap in the face to Honda even if they would be using a 4 cylinder now. Let this class be more open and let it be the experimental class it's supposed to be. Oh and let's get rid of most of the electronic aids. This is where the new rules and limitations should be focused! Bring the racing back into the hands of the riders instead of letting so much of it rely on electronics. I think the engine standard will be inline fours and V4s with 1000cc of displacement so it will basically turn into a production based series. This is a step in the wrong direction IMO.
Fastguy1976 -Steve- Yukon is correct  December 13, 2009 01:11 PM
Sachin -Yukon  December 13, 2009 09:38 AM
Actually Yukon, before that Rossi lost against Nicky Hayden!! But that's really not the point of this discussion!
W1LLPOW3R -they are not all point and shoot  December 13, 2009 06:25 AM
800's are about corner speed, everyone knows that..1000's you just park the bike as quick as possible ands fire it out, where it becomes a drag race from corner to corner..
R34 -REAL MotoGP resurrected...finally!  December 12, 2009 10:27 PM
Good news...period, BUT...if you are still wondering, Dorna/FIM is still restricting the hell out of MotoGP, and for what...cost? Closer racing? Give me a break. The fact that these are the cream of the crop proto-type bikes, and the world's best racers, there shouldn't be ANY restrictions. MotoGP is the ULTIMATE testing ground for everything ground breaking...your current gem in your garage is proof of it. 800cc, 1000cc, 2stroke, 4stroke, V4, V5, V-Twin, Rotary, 250-300HP limits....I don't CARE what it is...this should be up to the TEAM to decide what they "choose" to use...at their own risk of course to be competitive. Electronics? If they want to use 100% of this, let them, if others don't...scrap it. Power sliding or higher lean angles? Are you serious? They are both point and shoot motorcycles...they are cranking out nearly the same HP, and rubbing their elbows...I want to watch the best riders with a fire breathing evil mofo engine between their legs like in '05. If i could change one thing about MotoGP, I would say get rid of all privateer teams, and field ONLY factory squads...3-4 to a team? So be it, at least all would be well funded and on an even better playing field. But, the way things are going, shoot, we just might see 3-5 new factory squads entering in 2012. My $.02
Yukon Cornelius -Steve  December 12, 2009 06:38 PM
Actually Steve, Rossi last lost a championship to Stoner in 2007 and all the bikes were 800cc by then.
Ted -990  December 12, 2009 01:42 PM
I am all for it. Sorry, but we need some bar bangin in gp. A race with one pass for the lead, no thanks - and that's what the 800's brought. While I understand the "stifling" standpoint, you also don't want it to become a one-horse show, and that's what happens when it gets too expensive for everyone to play. Rules are rules, and good teams and engineers will find ways to make more power, within the rules.
Chas -At least it's not DMG  December 12, 2009 12:41 PM
I can see alot of this, but I'm with x2468, set a rear wheel hp limit a wheelbase maximum and a weight minimum, aside from that let them go, you want to run an exotic cylinder configuration with pneumatic valves, or a rotary, a radial engine or a turbo factory zx-10r motor that's been worked, go for it, if you can figure out a way to use an electronic steering damper, abs, magnetic shocks like a ZR1, and keep the weight down, knock yourself out, MotoGP is where all the new tech trickles down from, I can't see wanting to keep costs down, if that's the case race DMG or superbike, MotoGP is a premier class and truth be told, if you can do it low tech and cheap, congratulations, I just don't see it being done, you get what you pay for in racing, the hp cap and weight minimum will dictate speed of the bikes, but an open book for wild suspension, swing arms, brakes and electronics will make the bikes turn corners and in the end, customers will benefit, ten years ago slipper clutches were considered exotic race tech, now they're on 600cc factory bikes, where do you think that comes from?
x2468 -I would prefer a HP limit  December 11, 2009 11:37 PM
I would rather see them set a horsepower limit. maybe something like 250hp. and then let the companies figure out whatever they want to hit that mark. Be it twin cyl, 3 cyl, 4 cyl, 2-stroke, rotary, what have you. that'd be cool.
x2468 -81mm bore limit????  December 11, 2009 11:35 PM
That sucks. The BMW S1000rr is already an 80mm bore. I wouldn't be surprised if all the 1000cc street bikes are at 81mm bore or higher. They should make it like 83mm at least.
W1LLPOW3R -MotoGp changes...  December 11, 2009 06:17 PM
i am disappointed that so many fans are embracing this..to me, its the best show in motorcycling: 60 degree lean angles, corner speed. anybody can go fast in a straight line..cornerspeed is what seperates the skilled...
Power Slide -About F'n Time  December 11, 2009 05:19 PM
The 990s were the golden age of motorcycle racing: powerful, exciting, and cutting edge. I think everyone realizes now that the displacement drop was a big mistake. I hope the point and shoot style becomes viable again, the races become more exciting as teams don't have to program the hell out of the ECU to get the most power out of a peaky curve, and that the bikes will once again shake your intestines when you watch the races live.
Racer1 -The changes are good, BUT...  December 11, 2009 05:12 PM
Any change that swings the rider / machine equation back to the rider is good news for the better riders. Traction control and all the computer overrides have meant that riders can grab a greedy fistful of throttle on corner exits and the bike delivers exactly the right amount of juice to the rear tire for maximum acceleration before spinning and sliding. Any change that benefits the better riders will obviously favor Rossi - the 800s have been the big leveler precisely because they swing the equation towards the computer controls and reduce the talent gap. The 1000cc bikes with less traction control will sort the men out from the boys - like the 500cc 2 strokes did. The BUT is because Dorna have no clue when to STOP meddling.., arbitrary cylinder numbers, arbitrary fuel loads, arbitrary technical engine limitations... it's a prototype class, chill out. Basically though the move is a positive one for the better riders - and corner speed limits or no, the lap times will drop... progress, progress..
c -good research motorcycle-usa!  December 11, 2009 02:10 PM
Flamini is "fuming" about 2010 moto2? This article seems like a lot of gossip and heresay The following are flamini's own words: “The philosophy in Moto2 is correct, in my opinion, because it does not conflict with our Supersport. It’s a prototype motorcycle, at least the chassis is prototype and the engine is unique to the class: So it has no relation to our philosophy of motorcycles directly related to those freely available to the public, for use on the roads. In other words, the Honda CBR600RR races in the World Supersport series … and above all, it races against bikes from four other manufacturers.”
Kirk -Right Decision  December 11, 2009 01:50 PM
Cost are out of control in GP just like they were in F1. The move is a smart one. If they use OEM blocks and run prototype heads and internals they should save substantial money. The tough part is who does what. Yamaha's R1 motor is a proven winner now. Kawi can actually get back into GP. Honda's CBR motor is great and easy to modify. Suzuki's GSXR motor is reliable. That leaves Ducati. I believe they would drop the 990 motor into new frames. Why? Because it is the only motor that they produce that would qualify for the series- so why not? It also brings Aprilia and BMW back into an opportunity to race GP. I'm glad they're doing it. As long as they sit on prototype frames and have prototype internals I could care less what the WSBK guys say.
Steve -Response to NASBIKE  December 11, 2009 01:33 PM
I'm disappointed not so much by the move back to 1000cc as much as the FIM is stifling the creativity in the premier prototype class. Cost cutting measures should be the discretion of the individual teams at this level. You can't do this, can't do that, so on an so forth. At the top level, the teams should be allowed to push the boundaries of technology. Elecrtomagnetically controlled suspension fluid has been experimented with in the auto world since '91 that I'm aware of. No electronic steering dampers? C'mon...a production Honda has this. Valvetrain? No solenoid actuated valves? Something else the auto industry has been messing with since the mid '90s. Variable exhausts? Even Buells have this. I don't understand how you can have a premier prototype class and prevent the manufacturers from building the most innovative and technologically advanced machines in the world. Racing is supposed to improve the breed. Perhaps MotoGP will end up using a spec engine like Moto2 when they get the details ironed out for 2012. NASBIKE anyone? Except that the manufacturers don't cost cut. They build bikes to win at all costs. They pull out of the series when they can't afford it anymore. This is why the grids are so meager now. There are barely 18 bikes. At some point you have to draw the line. I would love to have an unlimited class of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing but simple economics states that this isn't possible.
Bob -NASBIKE?  December 11, 2009 01:24 PM
I'm disappointed not so much by the move back to 1000cc as much as the FIM is stifling the creativity in the premier prototype class. Cost cutting measures should be the discretion of the individual teams at this level. You can't do this, can't do that, so on an so forth. At the top level, the teams should be allowed to push the boundaries of technology. Elecrtomagnetically controlled suspension fluid has been experimented with in the auto world since '91 that I'm aware of. No electronic steering dampers? C'mon...a production Honda has this. Valvetrain? No solenoid actuated valves? Something else the auto industry has been messing with since the mid '90s. Variable exhausts? Even Buells have this.

I don't understand how you can have a premier prototype class and prevent the manufacturers from building the most innovative and technologically advanced machines in the world. Racing is supposed to improve the breed.

Perhaps MotoGP will end up using a spec engine like Moto2 when they get the details ironed out for 2012. NASBIKE anyone?
Steve -Good change back to 1000cc's  December 11, 2009 01:20 PM
The current bikes lack the torque the previous 1000cc bikes had before. With traction control and electronics being limited this will give back control to the rider. As far as Rossi goes, he is not winning as much as before because his competition is tougher than in previous years. Nevertheless he is still winning championships and the last time he didn't win a championship was on a 1000cc bike.
Night Cop -1000 cc  December 11, 2009 12:16 PM
This is good news. It's going to be tough to wait two years though. It also probably means not many improvements will be made to the 800's. Oh well. Still good news.
W1LLPOW3R -Dorna has its head up Rossi's ass...  December 11, 2009 12:13 PM
so Rossi is not dominating the way he was on a 1000, so they change it just like they did from michelin to Bridgestone..what a bunch of ass kissers..

800's are better b/c more corner speed dictates the best riders, the bikes are nimble and you can't open the throttle as early or lean them oas far..what will distinguish the show from Wsbk or Superbike?
and using modified production engines will take the luster of this 'prototype' series for sure..