MotoGP Back To 1000cc From 2012

The 800cc formula is dead. MotoGP is set to return to 1000cc from 2012, according to a proposal submitted to the Grand Prix Commission at Valencia today. The 800cc bikes have received a deluge of criticism, almost from the moment they were introduced, and that deluge has finally buried them.

The decision has hinged upon a change of mind by the MSMA, the manufacturers association. So far, the manufacturers have been opposed to any changes to the MotoGP formula, partly because high costs of entry created a barrier to new entrants in the class, allowing the existing participants to dominate the class. But the high costs have taken their toll even on the existing manufacturers, and with the future of Suzuki in the class in doubt under the current rules, and even doubt about just how long Honda was prepared to continue, a change was almost inevitable. 2012 is the earliest date it is possible to make the change, as the current 5 year contract that exists between Dorna, the FIM and the MSMA expires at the end of 2011. That contract states that no changes may be made to the engine capacity without a unanimous decision by all of the manufacturers in the MSMA.

The initial proposal was to allow the use of production engines in prototype chassis, but the current proposal makes no mention of production engines at all. asked Herve Poncharal about the proposal, and asked whether this was to be production engines or not.

"Nobody's talking about production engines," Poncharal told us. "The Grand Prix Commission is thinking about going back to 1000cc engines. This is more than supported by Dorna, more than supported by Dorna, but the first reaction to this by MSMA is very very positive." The MSMA's new position has been the key difference, Poncharal pointed out, and the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha boss was delighted at this change of heart. "I'm really happy, I'm very happy about that. It looks like there is a consensus, but we have to take it day-by-day."

The fear is, of course, that a change in engine capacity would not be enough to cut costs, and merely create a new class of expensive prototypes. Poncharal said that this would not be allowed to happen: "The whole idea supported by everybody including the MSMA is to get the costs drastically down." Just how to ensure that is a different matter altogether, though. Poncharal admitted it would be difficult, but said that the Grand Prix Commission would not try to solve everything at once. Asked how to ensure that costs didn't once again spiral out of control, Poncharal replied "That's the next question. One day at a time!"

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I can't believe it! I can only hope the transition goes smoothly and they exercise common sense. I'm still a bit concerned they will continue with the 21L fuel rules which are currently putting enormous emphasis on electronic refinement and pneumatic valves. I have no idea how the plan to control the power of the bikes, but I hope they use pragmatism and the abandon the rules paradigms that have lead to exponential cost growth in the era of electronic 4 strokes.

Happy happy day.

this will make for a very interesting 2010 and 2011 because surely by mid 2010 the factories will be putting more and more research into the 1000 formula again. it could be bad, as in some manufacturers just not giving any development to the bikes (ala Kawasaki - Hayate) giving the forerunners even more of an advantage. or it might be really good if the bikes even out over the non-development period (ala the 250cc Honda of Hiroshi Aoyama - the "not developed for 3 years" nudge nudge wink wink effect)

How will this make anything cheaper that couldn't be done with 800 cc? Why not 1200cc? Why not 1.8 liter? Unanimous as it was, I bet this will lead to the exit of Suzuki in 2012, and possibly Ducati if they are not instantly successful with the new formula. The only good that will come of this is if they use a Moto2 style rulebook but allowing all factories to supply engines and teams to build their own bikes. Sadly, this will still spell the end to Suzuki's presence as well as Ducati and we'll just see a rotisserie of 'Cosworths' come to the table with non-competitive power-plants (and then exit after a year).

In and of itself, the displacement changes solve nothing because teams can spend whatever they want; however, it does reduce the cost of losing. Furthermore, more displacement will allow the engineers to build bikes that can make 230hp and probably easily last the requisite 3 or 4 races that Dorna want.

If the new engines have strong midrange and torque, the racing should improve as well.

This is definitely good news, though I'm going to wait to learn of further details going along with this change before I get too excited. I'm hoping the new 1,000cc formula, once it is all ironed out, will include technical regulations that allow for more than simply 4-cylinder machines to be competitive. Unlike the old 990cc formula, for example, it would be cool to see regs that allow twin-cylinder machines to be a viable option, while still leaving the potential for the other cylinder number configurations as it was during the early days of the four-stroke era. Technical diversity in MotoGP is a good thing, and will likely attract more manufacturers to the series. Something which is badly needed...

That the contract states that no changes may be made to the engine capacity without a unanimous decision by all of the manufacturers in the MSMA...

Come on guys. are they pussys? every one hated the 800's then if the 1000cc seems such a good thing, wouldnt you think that all the manufacturers would want to go 1000cc in 2011 not wait another two years running expensive engines.

(please correct me if iam wrong) Honda said that with the V5 990cc they could use the same bottom end ( crank and cases) all year and rebuild / replace the top end after 2000km. now that seems cheap to me!!!

They just need to ban traction control and limit revs to 14,000rpm . minimum 2 cylinders max 5. Have 25ltr of E85 (e85 runs very cool like methanol ) to use over the race and all of a sudden you have fast cheap green powerd bikes that arnt run lean. ( more fuel going through keeping the internal engine temp down, helping prevent excesive wear)

or you could look at it this way, at PI the Australian Super Bikes , Suzuki GSXR1000's where 2 seconds off the fastest lap both in a race. and the team costs $1,000,000.00 a year to run ( 618,000 euro) with 3 super bike riders two bikes each, a big truck and lots of testing. just to rub the salt in, you can buy a race prep bike off the team for $75,000.00 so please tell me how on earth it costs so much to run a motogp bike to only go 2 seconds faster with the best riders on earth on the bikes. They must be able to make the Motogp 1000cc bikes cheaper and still faster than the Australian Superbikes. Sorry for having a winge!!! but it seems the guys who make up the numbers must line there pockets first then add the rest of the team on after that.

To allow twins to be competitive, a rev ceiling would need to be imposed on 4/5 cyl motors - Ducati already did the homework on this prior to their decision to go with a V4 in 2003.

I think that going back to 1000cc is akin to throwing good money after bad - we're here now, the racing is competitive, and the future is non-fossil fuels - so why go to something that will use MORE fuel? Seems stupid. Perhaps I'm just not wearing the right rose-tinted glasses when I think about the 990s, but maybe the people who carry on about smoking 990 powerslides (as this seems to be the primary reason people want the big motors back) should watch a re-run of the 2009 Philip Island MotoGP race?

The 1000cc bikes will be exactly like the 800cc bikes - high corner speed, electronics taking away the fun (unless the rider wants it) - just more expensive. Another example of policy on the run based on the lowest denominator.

First, to Brookspeed,

The 1000cc formula is cheaper because horsepower is far easier to make. Given that there is a cap on usable HP, everyone can get there more easily with less money.

Think about how much Honda had to sink into pneumatic valves just to keep up. The increased capacity means that everyone should be able to get the maximum HP that can be put to the ground with a lot less money.


Your comment about the 1000s being just like the 800s is something I thought about a lot today. And I realized that conclusion is wrong. The increased available HP means that you can get away with far more exit lines. Everyone will tell you that the 800s brought about a single line through most corners. The reason for that is the need to get on the gas so early in order to maintain that corner speed. If you have power to burn, you can get in hot, dump the corner speed and exit hard - something you just can't do with the 800s.

I think Phantom may be right that the 800s will be exactly like the 800s; especially if they plan to keep fuel at 21L. Even if an additional 200cc fails to bring back the tire smoking free-for-alls, I still think the sport will be drastically improved. Dorna have been floating around the engine leasing idea, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they go out and secure a customer engine for the Moto2 teams who want to make the leap into the premier class.

I think the grids will be full for 2012 as long as they can raise the fuel back to 22L or 24L.

When the first rider requests more power in the 2012 season, you can tell them they can't use any more than they have anyway.

The reason the 1000s may ride identical lines to the 800s is a matter of fuel consumption. Braking is not good for gas mileage. Maintaining high speed through the corners is the fastest and most fuel efficient way.

Riders can't go in deep and square the corner without more fuel.

The reason that the 800s are so tight on fuel is that they spend a lot more time on full throttle. A larger capacity will give a little more freedom in fuel, because the extra power available means the bikes can't spend so much time on full throttle. Ironically, 21 liters may be enough for the 1000s, where it is very tight on the 800s. 

Totally agree with you on this, the 800s brought a new kind of racing, the 990s do have a different power delivery too, giving the riders a wide varity of riding styles, corner entry and exit, just read a couple of articules, there was a big one with Casey on ROAD RACING WORLD on how much different it is to ride an 800 with rear breaking into corners and what not, dont forget that with the 990s Casey wrecked out more than half the races, the 800s gave Casey an edge, very fast he took advantage of this new beast, but, on that articule he explains exactly how different the two bikes are to ride.
Read this in the meantime.

Stoner crashed out because of the Michelin tires. It had nothing to do with the electronics, it was just tires which did not suit his riding style. In 2007, the Bridgestones and the Ducati worked perfectly for him, suiting his style down to the ground and giving him much more feel at the front.

But what i mean is the power delivery itself, the raw power that the 990s deliver, now we saw at phillip island that he can slide but, can he do it on a different machine? How certain is it that GP is going back to 1000 or 990s, another thing to consider is that bridgstone is ending its contract with formula1 starting 2011, with the meaning of cutting down cost being the only tire supplier is more expensive for 1 factory, so that makes GP next on bringing in more than 1 supplier, there is a lot of variables, its hard to pin point, dont forget either that articule i brought up from 2006 buyers remorse, Casey had problems too back then, again i ask you David, how certain is this comeback?

Fair enough. If a rev ceiling would need to be imposed on 4/5-cylinder machines for a twin to have a decent chance...then I say make it so. Within reason, of course. Even with a reasonable rev ceiling, I'd be willing to guess that a 4/5-cylinder MotoGP bike should still make more than enough power to not be at any real disadvantage to any possible 2-cylinder machine.

Greetings All,
Excellent news! MotoGP is bleeding because of the 800cc reg while WSBK just keeps on getting bigger. I agree with flattracker. Why wait until 2012, do it for 2011. Keeping costs down and making the racing competitive with as many manufacturers as possible is the goal and it seems to me that everyone involved has their eye on the ball. I hope they also consider a combined rider+bike weight limit.

Well, they just spent a lot of money to make "money saving" motors that will last far longer. No one will want to ditch all that R&D and planning so close to the next season.

The regulators do seem a bit like a headless chicken running in every direction while gushing blood. Spending 10$ to save 5$.

Granted the racing has been not bad this year thanks to the lorenzo and rossi show. However;

I really dislike the trend of putting mass challenged riders on micro f1 bikes. I don't want to see all the riders jocky sized in the future. More torque means people like hayden and spies can bring it to the mass challenged 'aliens', perhaps. I would love to see rider included in min mass spec.

I have been squawking about the rider/bike weight limit for what seems like about 100 years! It makes exactly NO sense for a 1000-pound F1 machine to have a car/driver minimum, and then you switch to a 326-pound bike...but then have no combo weight limit. It obviously makes NO difference who can go fast during the race, but it surely DOES make a difference in who can start the quickest. I just don't see why they don't do it...

That said, I'm THRILLED to see the return to 1000cc machines. Please, PLEASE don't cripple them with some STUPID fuel limit...

And PLEASE remove LOTS of the electronics. Return to the style of 2001-2005!


I won't chuckle. I won't. Nope. I'm a bigger man than that.

He's tiny. Rossi is taller than Hayden and weighs just as much if he keeps those earrings in.

What is this hang up with small, fast bikes? People cry for an extra 200cc when 800's are going faster around the track than 990's were. This isn't drag racing. No matter how patriotic one is, 200cc will not assure Ben Spies a world championship (and 200cc advantage over everyone else won't make Hayden world champion again).

But I completely agree that the current problem is the indiscriminate changes in formula. I wonder how those guys who just unveiled their MotoGP bike feel about it? Maybe that's what the MSMA like. They don't want small firms building bikes so they keep changing the rules? I wonder what influence Suppo has had on the decision for unanimity from Ducati? Were they fooled by being told that only THEY got the extra 200ccs? That's more of their style!

Submitted by Painless

"I hope they also consider a combined rider+bike weight limit."

+1 - This would be a great thing for competition's sake.

Submitted by Brookespeed

"No matter how patriotic one is, 200cc will not assure Ben Spies a world championship (and 200cc advantage over everyone else won't make Hayden world champion again)."

What does this discussion have to do with patriotism? Rossi said he prefers the 990s to the 800s and the last time I checked he is Italian. IMO the 990s put on a better show.

It was in response to this:

"More torque means people like hayden and spies can bring it to the mass challenged 'aliens', perhaps. I would love to see rider included in min mass spec."

As if the 800cc rules biased against his favorite riders.

It's a common theme often repeated in the comments that if only the formula was 990cc the riders like Hayden and Spies (and sometimes KR jr.) would somehow be a lock for domination. These people live the Randy Mamola parody.

I sincerely hope Motoczysz can hold on financially, long enough to see this happen. The return to 1000cc will throw the world championship for 2012 well and truly up in the air, and it would be nice to see more manufacturers enter.