Two-stroke racing ends in 2012

Dailies -


angel nieto derbi 125.jpgIt’s the weekend for confirming things we all know at the Czech Grand Prix. Before Valentino Rossi announces he is moving to Ducati next year, FIM have confirmed their own news-that’s-not-really-news-at-all and announced 2011 will be the last season of two-stroke racing, with the 125 class being replaced by Moto3 from 2012. 

The Moto3 bikes will use a single cylinder 250cc four-stroke engine with a maximum bore of 81mm – the same bore as the new 1000cc MotoGP machines also getting their debut in 2012. FIM wants to make Moto3 cheaper to race in than the current two-stroke series and has put a cost limit of 10 000 euros for each engine. They have also specified that it must last for a minimum of three races.

After struggling to fill the MotoGP grid the last seasons, the FIM have managed to attract huge interest for racing in the spec-engined Moto2 category. Anxious to follow up on that success, the FIM have added a Moto3 rule that says each manufacturer must be ready to supply a minimum of 15 riders with engines if required.

Hopefully it will also be the incentive manufacturers need to give us some serious 250cc streetbikes, but the cynics among us may suggest that asking for a minimum of 90 engines (6 engines per season for 15 riders) is the basis for another Honda-cup.

  • Isaac

    It’s will be a sad, sad day in racing.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Time marches on.

  • Patrick from Astoria

    Yea, the sun rises and the sun sets, and the wind blows west and east, and technology and market relevance do work in their ways.

    Kinda wish it was 350, though, both for the historical connection and because – face it – 250 is just really small. That extra forty percent would make a world of difference on a streetbike without infringing on Supersport territory.

    All the same, do not ask for whom the ring-ding fades – it does so for thee.

  • Marc

    Sad to see the 2-strokes go but I will have my RD400 to fulfill my need for the sound and less than reasonable power band.

  • Pinkyracer

    yes, just as the Mayans predicted, the world will end in 2012. Instead of the oil-belching badass lil screamers of yore, we’ll get to watch a bunch of Barbieceptors. 250cc 4 strokes? Why not just go straight to electric? Oh right, the boss, I mean, Honda doesn’t make one.

  • vic

    the end of 2 stroke racing in 2012 was predicted in the mayan calendar as one of the sign of the apocalypse

  • mike

    Just another nail in the coffin to make Moto GP another “me too” series homegenized for the masses. Yawn.

    The series keeps getting lamer and lamer. First they killed the 500 class and replaced it with 1000 4 strokes. At least they were still sliding the rear with these. Then they went to the 800 class with so much traction control you hardly ever see a wheel get out of line anymore. For a rider to be able to move up from a 250 to the premier class and be competitive so quickly, says that there is something wrong here.

    To me the 2 stroke factor was always the appeal of the series. It was the ultimate technology and the hardest bikes to ride. One wrong move and bam! Over the bars (who can forget Mamola’s saves!) 2 strokes are precise tools and much harder to tame and ride to the limit. Again…that was the appeal of it. Or so I thought.

    Is the racing more exciting to watch with Moto2 vs. the 250 bikes… does’nt seem to be but I will reserve final judgement until I see them in person for the first time at Indy.

    Is the cost lower with the switch to 4 strokes? Doubt it. Talk to any racer that has had a 2 stroke vs. a 4 stroke dirtbike. When the 2 strokes grenade you might replace the cylinder head and piston. Cheap. Easy to maintain too. When the 4 strokes go boom, you might be replacing the whole engine.

    Will Honda sell more CBR 600RRRRs from this? Again, doubt it. Can’t say that I have heard anyone on the sales floor say “isn’t this the engine that they use in Moto2″.

    Couldn’t they have made the 250s more environmentally friendly? Of course, and it would have showcased the technology that Moto GP has always been known for.

    As with Marc’s comment above, I can still go out to my garage and fire up my Aprilia RS250 and watch it fog out the neighborhood. For now at least. The sound and smell of a 2 stroke will be all but a memory soon. I am glad that I at least got to enjoy many years of watching these machines in action before the powers that be saw fit to retire them.

  • 2 strokes are better

    10k Euro per engine? Ivar that’s got to be a misprint, or someone’s misquoted. Aren’t the current generation TZ125 and RS125 somewhere in the 12k Euro price range for the entire bike?

    They must be saying they will limit the cost to 10k € for a complete bike. Hope they include a top end rebuild kit with piston and titanium valves otherwise the racers are going to find out how expensive it is to rebuild a 250 four stroke vs. the 2 strokes.

    In any case, hopefully they will make these new F3 bikes readily available in US unlike the RS and TZs.

  • marko

    Why does it look like FIM is Honda’s bitch?