Like the Moriwaki 600GP Prototype, this AguÌ GP6, hailing from 1997, provides an excellent idea of what we can expect from the four-stroke 600cc prototypes that will race in Moto2. It houses a tuned version of a CBR600 engine in a prototype frame fitted with common period racing components. Wait, that doesn't sound like a GP bike, what gives?
In an effort to reduce costs and level the playing field, the new Moto2
rules are heavy on the list of items not allowed and light on what is
permitted. The engines will have a maximum capacity of 600cc, no more
than four pistons, will have capped rev limits, no pneumatic valves, no
variable valve timing or lift, no variable-length inlets, no direct
fuel injection, and must use internal components manufactured from an
iron-based alloy, pistons from an aluminum alloy and crank cases and
cylinder heads cast from aluminum alloy as well. Check out the complete list for like a dozen more things engines can't have.
Three or four years ago, it would have been easy to say that this
basically amounted to a production 600 supersport engine. Not any
longer. Take the 2009 Yamaha R6 for example, it uses variable-length
inlets and a ride-by-wire throttle, its engine wouldn't meet Moto2
So what will power the Moto2 bikes if not production engines? We expect
the factories to use the knowledge they've gained building and tuning
their current 600cc engines to produce bespoke units based on current
thinking and practices, but shorn of fancy high-tech features. They'll obviously be
in a racing state of tune, so expect 20bhp or more than the current
120-130bhp production 600 engines. Just like the CBR-based GP6, those
engines will be housed in prototype chassis -- don't rule out steel
trellis units, they're extraordinarily cost-effective -- running
top-of-the-line suspension. With a minimum weight for four-cylinder
machines set at 135kg, the Moto2 bikes will perform vastly better than
any road-going 600, but 100% prototype GP machines these ain't.
The one saving grace of this technological dumb down is that it could
lead to incredibly competitive racing. Just like that currently
displayed in World Supersport and Superbike. In fact, come to think of
it, we're rapidly beginning to care about those two series much more
than anything organized by Dorna.