Moto2 Engine Will Be Either Honda Or Yamaha

With a final decision expected on who will supply engines to the Moto2 series expected at the Jerez MotoGP race, just a few days from now, word is starting to emerge of the candidates for the position. Initially, it was thought that Kawasaki would be awarded the contract, but today, Motorcycle News is reporting that the Moto2 contract will go to either Yamaha or Honda.

According to MCN's Matthew Birt, Kawasaki had declined to bid for the contract, but both Yamaha and Honda had submitted formal proposals to supply the contract. Under the proposals, the winning bidder would sell the engines to Dorna, who would then provide them to the teams. A crucial point in the discussions centers on the ability of the factories to provide spare parts and engineering backup to the teams, to ensure the continuity of the series.

This point is probably the reason that the contract was only open to the major Japanese factories. As a known quantity with proven track records in building and supplying race-ready engines, the risk of awarding the Moto2 contract to Honda or Yamaha is limited. But the fact that this deal was hammered out in the Grand Prix Commission, which has the MSMA, representing the manufacturers actively involved in MotoGP, as one of its members, makes it hard to escape the suggestion that this was a deal which was never going to be open to outsiders.

The reason for the Moto2 series becoming a single engine series was simple: it was the easiest way of preventing the costs of the new four stroke racing formula from spiralling out of control. Four stroke racing engines are, by their very nature, far more complex and therefore far more expensive to extract performance from than two strokes - though factory-spec Aprilias are hardly a bargain. With multiple engine manufacturers involved in the class, a horsepower war would have been inevitable, and the aim of producing a cheap class where teams and riders can learn their trade would have been lost.

But it is hard not to feel some sorrow at the decision to use a single, spec engine. With a number of small engineering firms expressing an interest in producing engines for the class under a 20,000 euro claiming rule, it seems that a lot of ingenuity and clever new ideas could be lost. And with MotoGP already prohibitively expensive to go racing in, it's hard to see where new manufacturers could go to learn the skills necessary to build a competitive prototype four-stroke racing motorcycle.

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Your feelings of sorrow echo through the many comments and postings on this topic on your website. I cannot say I am happy about this development but hopefully it is the end of the saga. We need only wait a few days to find out.

Something came to mind reading this post. All of the manufacturers involved in WSBK transfer technology and learnings from the track to production bikes and back again. That is part of the appeal of that series – the win on Sunday, sell on Monday value proposition. And although there is some transfer of technology and learnings from MotoGP to production bikes, that happens a lot less than in WSBK. So where does the Moto2 spec engine fall? The engine will be a prototype with little if any connection to product units. At the same time it will not be as advanced as a MotoGP engine. But maybe that link between MotoGP and Moto2 will provide the chosen manufacturer with a slight edge in MotoGP in that there could be some technology transfer or durability learnings. Obviously the Moto2 rules will limit experimentation, but maybe . . . .

I consider this possibility a long shot, but would not be surprised to see it happen.

I don't think neither Dorna nor the manufacturers are planing to get much of this deal in terms of neither marketing nor engine development. The way I see Dorna isn't seeking a "technological" series for Moto2, but a "riders & teams training" series. They want to bring as many people as possible into prototype racing, in a bid to perpetuate the upper series which is where the money is done. For that matter they simply want a manufacture able to reliably provide competitive engines without problems. Where will start-ups and other small companies go to with their ideas I don't know, but certainly Dorna doesn't care much about those.

As for the interest of Honda or Yamaha, I guess that like Bridgestone, they'll be doing money with this contract but not much. To me, the point is that it will allow them to keep their racing programs running, which are a pretty good training base for their engineers and workers. I don't think it's going to be in Moto2 where they come up with new stuff, but it can be very good to keep their people up to "racing standards".