FIM President Repeats Support For 1000cc MotoGP Switch

The move back to 1000cc by the MotoGP class is looking ever more inevitable. The issue was discussed in the Grand Prix Commission at Valencia, where the MSMA finally accepted that the switch was inevitable, reversing its previous opposition to the change after its own proposal - to lease 800cc engines which private teams could then build their own chassis round - was rejected. The chief drivers behind this project have been Dorna and the FIM, though IRTA is also fully supportive of the scheme, and FIM President Vito Ippolito once again emphasized the importance of making the switch back to 1000cc in an interview with the Italian magazine Motosprint, which Autosport has summarized on its site.

Speaking ahead of the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, due to be held on December 11th at the FIM's headquarters in Geneva, Ippolito told Motosprint "The 800cc formula hasn't worked because the power is about the same, while corner speed has increased. And costs have increased too." He pointed out that the manufacturers had accepted the need for change, and that nothing stood in the way of the regulations being changed after the current agreement with the MSMA ends in 2012.

The one thing that many people - most notably, World Superbike organizers Infront Motor Sports - believe is standing in the way of a switch back to 1000cc is the suggestion that engines based on production bikes could be allowed to take part in MotoGP, but Ippolito dismissed objections to this proposal. The key difference, Ippolito told Motosprint, was whether the bike was eligible to be homologated or not. The debate about the issue ended right there, Ippolito underlined. "It doesn't matter whether the engine is 1000, 1200, 750cc - MotoGP bikes cannot be homologated, so they can have whatever engine they want," Ippolito said.

Speaking to, IRTA representative Herve Poncharal agreed that the move was necessary. "Something has to change," Poncharal said, "we can't go on like this. MotoGP is too expensive right now." Poncharal expressed the hope that the switch to 1000cc and the use of engines based on production models would reinvigorate the class. The influx of frame builders and specialist parts producers which have flooded the new Moto2 class point the way to the possibilities a 1000cc class would offer. "Maybe we could have 25 riders on the grid again," Poncharal said.

The riders are almost unanimous in their support of a return to a larger capacity. At Valencia, Nicky Hayden immediately jumped on the idea, answering questions about whether he supported the switch with "Hell yeah! Why not make it 1200cc?" And Hayden is far from alone; speaking to the Italian broadcaster RAI Sport, Valentino Rossi reiterated his support for a return to 1000cc. "Going back to 1000cc and cutting electronics by 70%. This would be a very good move," Rossi said.

Rossi looks like getting his way, at least as far as the engine capacity is concerned. Reducing electronics is another matter altogether, one that is likely to be impossible to police and something that the manufacturers have so far been opposed to. At least a larger capacity is a start.

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I like the homologation interpretation b/c it makes things nice and simple. The list of parts that cannot be modified without re-homologation is listed clearly in the FIM rulebook.

However, I do worry a bit about using production engines only b/c prototype racing was invented specifically to avoid the economies-of-scale that give big manufacturers an absolute advantage. I can't claim that avoiding economies of sale has done anything to help small teams, but I still worry that allowing economies of scale will end up giving the major manufacturers yet another advantage in the modern 4-stroke era.

I hope Motocyscz tries again.

I too would love to see MotoCzysz give MotoGP another shot. In fact, I left a message on the MotoCzysz blog asking if the company was considering this, and to my surprise, I got a response. Here it is:

"The rumor I hear from very reliable sources is that the move to
1,000cc displacement is the first step to a future spec engine
series. Conjecture suggests this is why it is a 1,000cc and not 990cc
format i.e. production based. I have no illusion MotoCzysz would ever
be "the" spec engine. : )

We have made real traction in electric drive vehicles, this should be
the hot sector in the industry. If I can make living wages from this
pursuit than I can direct the rest of my profits into the next
generation C1, OK... I will put a little away then the rest can go
into the C1."

I very much hope what he says about MotoGP someday going to a spec engine never comes true. Anyhow, I'd love nothing more than to see a developed and competitive C1 on the grid in 2012...or sooner! If only I had an extra $20-$30 million hidden under my sofa somewhere...

The chances of a spec engine being accepted in MotoGP are vanishingly close to zero. The series requires support from the manufacturers - right now, it can't survive without them - and the manufacturers will never agree to the premier class using a spec engine. The MSMA has a veto on technical changes of this magnitude and they would never agree to it.

I, too, have heard paddock rumors about a spec engine, but it's usually propagated by the more wild-eyed conspiracy-minded part of the press room, and people with real connections to those making decisions say that it is unthinkable.

That's good...I hope that is indeed true. If MotoGP ever went to a spec-engine format like Moto2, I'd have to consider turning my back on the matter how much it would pain me to do so.