Honda To Be Awarded Moto2 Contract?

The Moto2 saga is edging to a conclusion, and the well-connected Italian site GPOne.com is reporting the preliminary results. GPOne.com sums the series up in Jeopardy! style: Honda, free, Ten Kate, open, today or tomorrow. Which are the one-word answers to the most important questions surrounding the class.

Put less briefly, the class will look as follows: Honda will be awarded the engine contract for the Moto2 series, and will make the engines available to Dorna. Dorna will make the engines available to the teams at zero cost. The engines will be farmed out to the Ten Kate Racing workshop in the Netherlands for maintenance, as Ten Kate have a lot of experience with Honda's four-stroke racing engines. Tires for the class will be open to competition, so there will not be a spec tire, and the decision is expected to be formally announced today or tomorrow.

With these measures, Dorna hopes to have a grid of 28 bikes competing in the Moto2 class next year, and GPOne.com says that contrary to earlier reports, the 2010 season will not see mixed grids. This means that 2010 will see the middleweight class featuring only the 600cc four strokes, with the 250cc two strokes sent off to an early grave, or more likely dispatched to race in various local series (or grace collectors' front rooms, no doubt).

Though the teams will no doubt welcome a decision, this will leave the class with two problems. The first is large, but can be overcome by a lot of hard work: The teams now have just 6 months to design and build a custom frame around an engine they have not yet seen. With the point of the class being to allow chassis experts to build a complete prototype rolling chassis for one or more teams, 6 months is not a lot of time to start almost from scratch. Some three or four bikes have already emerged, and the Blusens and LaGlisse bikes have actually hit the track in the Spanish Championship, but these were based on production engines, which will not be available for use in the new class.

Which brings us to our next problem: The Flammini brothers have always asserted that they would demand the FIM defend their interests over the new Moto2 class, a phrase which they use to mean the monopoly the World Superbike rights holders have over production-based bike racing. So far, Dorna has been very clever about avoiding any potential traps which Infront Motor Sports may have laid, and by controlling the engines, they block much of the charge that the engines are production units. After all, if they're not freely available, then they cannot be regarded as production motorcycle engines.

Meanwhile, the Flamminis will be studying the dimensions and mounting points of the spec engine carefully. If the engine is all too obviously a CBR600RR knock off, they will cry foul to the FIM, as they are believed to have done over WCM's R1 based engine. However, it shouldn't be too difficult for Honda to produce an engine with virtually the same internals, but with modified casings and a cassette gearbox which will pass the production litmus test.

But until the official announcement, we will have to wait for the response from both the teams inside the MotoGP paddock and the Flamminis. If the class is ever to get off the ground, the decision has to come very soon indeed.

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Comments

Hopefully I will see some more Americans in this series now. This is my biggest problem with watching 250 now. I just cant get into it without a home team guy to root for. Ive tried but I just cant. He could come in last all the time, i dont care. I just want a home team guy to root for. Sorry if that offends you. But I need a vested intrest in watching a series and unfortuantly racing, even great racing, alone is not a good enough reason for me to watch it.

I think that the lack of a 250 series in the AMA has been a huge problem for them and with the cancellation of the RedBull rookie cup the problem continues. But now with a similar engine comparable to what we race here and the ridiculous problems that AMA has had in the last 8 months this should be a great oppertunity to see even more talent up there. I also like that the engines are being given out at zero cost as this means a bigger chunk of the budget can go towards chassis R&D. The rest of the costs seem to be sunken whether this is open like the 250 of old or this new class. Tires, transport, rider salary are all spent no matter what the series is. I would like to see a tire limit to further limit cost. Not a spec tire, but limit the number of tires allowed per weekend or something.

With the "green" movement taking hold around the world, the death of 2 stroke was inevitable. At least from my perspective, they leveled the playing field a bit for privateers. If King Kenny wants to race GPs, I think that this a great place for him to go to right now. MotoGP is a factory series now, but Moto2 seems like a great place for privateers to be able to compete. Make sure the engines can not be cracked open to be modified and it is a great series for up and coming engineers and design firms. Its all about your chassis/rider/tire interaction. The engine power will play no part in this class which it has, can and will in the future do in GP.

So far Im more impressed with this class than I am the new AMA rules which are a mess. I really wish the big 4 along with Ducati and other manufacters had made a true American Superbike series like BSBK or JSBK. Make the rules similar to the others and spec them up WSBK and you have a great feeder series. We have the riders as the world can see with Ben Spies.

I havent been reading and keeping up with all the news on this so some of my assumptions and wishes may be wrong or already addressed.

As for chassis design. I might go with a first year Trellis style frame. It can easily handle the power, wheter it only works on Vtwins, I dont know, But i would look to keep the exotic materials to a minimium for the first year and instead make something that interacts with the engine and rider as best as possible. A steel trellis style frame can easily be constructed quickly and tested. Id venture to say that once you have a design you can easily produce the frame in a day or so. Its just welding steel up. CAD will aid in the design phase. The money you are saving on the material the first year can be routed to designing a more exotic and specialized frame over the course of the next year and half. Giving ample time to test, retest, tweek and tune a chassis.

Vs if you try and guess right off the green light and mess up... You are going to blow your RD budget and have a junk chassis that needs alot of changing and work. Or even worse a complete redesign. Not a big deal for the 4 if the Big 4 are allowed to compete since they have deep pockets, but for smaller teams it would be disasterous.

Is there any reason to assume Honda will supply inline four engines? It would be more interesting for them to field 600cc V4s. No issues with the Flamminis and FIM with that option.

This idea has zero basis in fact and 100% basis in the beer I just had;) Cheers.

That idea does make sense to me. Take the older, spring valve, 800cc engine. Cut it down to 600cc, replace expensive/exotic materials with cheaper ones and set the rev limit to whatever the regulation calls for. Done. Keeps the development cost down and you already have the mounting layout specified, enabling the chassis designers to get working sooner.

It has already been decided to use inline fours, as the existing Moto2 bikes were all based around roadgoing I4 units (Honda CBR600RRs and Yamaha YZF-R6). And it is a good deal cheaper to recast the cases for a CBR600, change the gearbox to make it a cassette-style extractable layout and produce that then try and sleeve down and modify an RC212V unit. It's also more expensive to produce V4s than I4s (two lots of camshafts and cam drives. It's a shame, but with Dorna getting the engines either for free or at low cost, Honda will want to spend as little money as possible on the engines. Which leaves the messing around with a CBR600.

Carmelo Ezpeleta just confirmed to spanish television TVE that Honda will supply engines to Moto2. No link yet, I will post it as soon as TVE puts it in their webpage.