2012, the two-strokepocalypse

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Moto3.jpgThe end of the two-stroke motorcycle is nigh. Word from this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix is that the 125 GP formula will be swapped for four-stroke 250cc engines in 2012 or 2013 and the class will be renamed Moto3. According to MotoMatters, these engines won’t be based on existing 250cc four-stroke motocross engines, but will instead use an 81mm bore, effectively making them a one quarter of a 1,000cc MotoGP engine.
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125 GP is the last major international racing class to use two-stroke
engines, Moto2 replaced 250 GP racing with four-strokes this season.

MotoGP itself is due for a formula shakeup in, swapping its current
800cc maximum capacity for 1,000cc with a maximum bore of 81mm. That
bore size will make the 250cc four-stroke in Moto3 higher revving than
the typical motocross engine of the same size.

Of course, with the potential for MotoGP and the smallest class of GP racing to use engines based
on a modular architecture, you can’t help but speculate about the future
of Moto2, which currently uses a spec Honda CBR600RR engine. Honda’s
contract to supply that engine runs out in three years, leading to
speculation the class could switch to a 500cc formula to bring it inline
with the two other classes.

Again according to MotoMatters, there’s already talk of how to keep
engine costs reasonable for small teams, especially as Moto2 is proving a
financial burden too large for smaller players. That talk is apparently
headed in the direction of engine suppliers making a minimum of 10-15
engines available per season with the max cost of those engines fixed
around €10,000.

Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be agreement on what this new class
will be called, with some pointing to Moto1 and others Moto3. The
consensus does seem to be that power will go up slightly to compensate
for a similar increase in weight, meaning lap times should remain about
the same.

via MotoMatters, GPOne, MCN

  • CafeRacer1200

    How about instead of Moto3, we call it MotoWee?

  • Sean Smith

    I heard an Aprillia RS125 pull up to a stop light a few weeks ago, and the sound alone was absolutely amazing. Four-stroke engines pay the bills for me, but I don’t think there’s anything around that beats the excitement of a GP two-stroke bike.

    • vic

      they are everywhere here because you can drive one at 16 and i find the sound really annoying

      but an rs250 ..oh boy oh boy .big 2 strokes sound fantastic i can only imagine how nice a motogp race sounded like before they moved to 4 strokes

      ps:the 2 strokes are becoming really popular in amateur racing.

    • http://www.justzeros.com Brandon Glanville

      I agree, the raw ferociousness of the two strokes is really something. I think the racing will remain very good, but it will have a different soul.

  • charlie

    keep the two stroke’s alive!! they are awesome. cheaper to rebuild when they go bang, compare to a four stroke rebuild. the modern day four strokes seem to last less than their more powerful two stoke counterparts also.

  • Isaac

    Whay not just make them prototype 300cc’s

  • http://www.adammdesigns.deviantart.com ralf

    Mini-moto would be the best name.

  • http://www.tyresox.net Lane

    People have been racing what they can buy for years…and the latest models too. I own an RGV 250 and they are cool but sticking with technology for the sake of nostalgia isn’t good for the sport.
    If that were the case we should be asking for chariot racing to come back from Honda, Suzuki, etc.. LOL!!
    I’d love to see some cool 4 stroke 250′s that really roll make it to the street.
    I blame the global warming theorists for the end of two strokes…that combined with the greed of manufactures/moto shops.
    A two stroke costs pennies on the dollar to rebuild compared to 4 strokes.
    Anyway, one thing that always remains, nothing stays the same.

    • http://www.justzeros.com Brandon Glanville

      I take exception with you on the greed of shops bit. I’m a long time shop employee and the bottom line is the consumer wants the performance of the 4 stroke. They want the torque, the predictable roll on power, the high revs. The consumer wants more and more performance. Don’t get me wrong, I love 2 strokes and they have a real advantage from a cost of ownership perspective. But there isn’t some sort of conspiracy.

  • Nick

    I love two strokes too but was under the impression that the Moto2 bikes were cheaper – you can have a full race spec bike for between Euro 50-90k. I think you’ll find that the cost of logistics and the current economy (lack of sponsorship money) is the reason for the teams struggling NOT the bike itself – a 250GP bike was almost 10 times that of the Moto2 bike.

    In any event the introduction of Moto2 is generating a lot of innovation outside of the actual racing teams.

    • GeddyT

      2-strokes are actually cheaper to build and maintain. It’s a much cheaper form of racing. From what I understand, the cost of the 250GP bikes on the grid mainly came from the lack of competition. Basically Aprilia had a monopoly on the podium (I guess Honda had something to say about that in the end…) and charged dearly for that privilege. Because their bikes were so well developed, had top level electronics, etc., Aprilia was asking ridiculous lease prices. Yeah, lease prices, as in you couldn’t even buy one. You can pick up an RS250 on the gray market for relatively cheap for a purpose-built race bike, race it incredibly cheaply compared to a four stroke alternative, and go pretty damned fast. But you’d have about zero chance against a factory Aprilia or Honda, so why bother. Have to pay to play at the top level.

      Where Moto2 gets cheaper is through an artificial shaking up of monopoly power. Since the motor and electronics are the most expensive part of the equation, and now those are essentially control parts, more players can get into the game and drive chassis costs down via competition. For all we know this could be temporary. If one of the chassis builders comes up with the magic bullet and it becomes clear that you’re not going to be able to win on anything else, the cost of that chassis may suddenly become a very big impediment to racing at the front on the cheap, even with motor and electronics taken out of the equation.

      • http://www.suspectsunlimited.com Cru Jones

        Well said.

        FWIW, I had a good time around Lightning today on my RS125. Shame I was the only 2T out there. :(

  • Ken

    Two important questions arise from this article:

    1. Is that Barros?
    2. Is that a motorcycle turning a corner or a motorcycle crashing?

    • 2ndderivative

      When your whole lower leg is on the ground like that, there’s not much saving it. Ask me how I know.

      Of course, he might have made it, which would explain why he’s a pro racer and I’m not.

    • The Grudz

      More importantly, are those slip-on Vans he’s wearing? I think introducing the super singles(450 four-strokes…or 250?)would be brilliant. The cost would be low as they already exist. Not mega fast, but fast enough. Pick your brand. I’ll miss the stinkbikes too, but whachagonnado?

  • P J

    Was that a Tupac reference in the title? If so top work.