Manufacturers Want 800cc Bikes To Remain After 2012

The news that MotoGP is set to change capacity and formula again for the third time in 10 years has caused as much concern as it has joy. Almost everyone concerned has welcomed the return to 1000cc, not least the riders, and many people also expressed the commonly-held opinion that the switch to 800cc was the worst thing to happen to the class. But many observers also pointed out that the change of formula, though aimed at cutting costs in the long term, meant yet more expenditure in the short term as the factories would be forced to develop a brand new engine once again.

That criticism is shared by the MSMA, the association representing the manufacturers in MotoGP. According to MCN's extremely well-informed MotoGP reporter Matthew Birt, the MSMA is pushing for the 800s to get a reprieve in 2012. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told Birt that 2012 regulations will allow two separate formulas to run side by side, as in the first year of the MotoGP four strokes in 2002. Having invested so heavily in their 800cc machines, the factories could continue to run the smaller capacity bikes against the 1000cc bikes, with the liter bikes restricted to a maximum bore of 81mm and four cylinders, as announced in Geneva at the end of last year.

Meetings of the Grand Prix Commission - MotoGP's rule-making body - were due to take place at Sepang this week to iron out the technical details of the new 1000cc MotoGP regulations for 2012. But according to MCN, those meetings also discussed allowing the 800s to remain, and a set of technical regulations aimed at achieving some kind of parity between the bore-limited 1000s and the unlimited 800s. Fuel allowances and weight limits were the main levellers, according to MCN.

With much of the paddock currently en route back to Europe, Japan, the US or Australia, more news on this development will be slow to come. But once the parties involved have returned home and are back in the office, updates are likely to come thick and fast.

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Phoenix1 actually made a pretty convincing argument that the MSMA always intended to stick with the 800s and that the 81mm bore limit already provides the parity needed. Essentially, there is no reason to change the rules as the 81mm bore 800s are likely to be able to produce as much power as an 81mm bore 1000 as long as there are no rev limits.

This topic is a good read on the subject:

What happened to the MSMA that was all in agreement of the 1000cc format?
Tell Honda to make up thier mind already !!!

Thanks for the link Rats.

I'm going to be irked if they drop the 81mm rule for 800cc bikes. If the manufacturers want to run 800cc bikes, let them, but don't give 800s special allowances so they can beat the cheaper 81mm 1000cc engines.

I'm hoping they are negotiating a single fuel limit and a single weight limit that will allow the 800s to compete without creating a special 800cc rules package. I think 21L will have to be increased to allow the 800s enough fuel, and I think anything over 150kg will probably be too much for the small engines to pull in the lower rpm corners.

If the GPC want to make multiple formulas, they should be working on the bore rules for different cylinder counts, imo.

Looking forward to the next few days.

Judging by Sepang testing, 800cc is looking good for 2010. Changing to 1000cc will no doubt bring teething problems yet again as in 2001 and 2007. 800 is working fine.
Keep it that way. WSBK is working fine. I don't see any reason to change either format, other than for change itself.

Why don't they go all the way...
- 800 free prototypes
- 1000cc restricted bore, valve springs only (no pneumatic, no desmo)
- 1200cc twins with a weight advantage
Then in a couple of years they can phase out the 800s and further
tighten the 1000-1200 rules. Perhaps they could introduce a complicated
rolling handicap system for the 1200-2s. And a 3 part final qualifying
session. And a bizarre points system like AMA and BSB.

Oh. Wait.

The tightrope the MSMA are walking here cuts to the heart of the problem for GP.

The point of the shift in regs isnt really to save manufacturers costs in immediate short term, just as the change to 800cc wasn't really about safety. It's about making the costs viable for "the racing business" not the "bike maufacturing business".

1. Sales of bikes have fallen off a cliff and they need to cut costs to a minimum, but...

2. If costs go beyond a certain point private teams can start manufacturing their own prototype GP bikes in a competative fashion

3. If that happens, they have lost a big global shop window which will hurt not only pride.

A bit of perspective on all of this comes from Sterilgarda. Thier PR said they got more coverage out of Ben Spies GP wildcard than ALL of their WSB activity for the whole year. Considering how many races they won, plus the championship, plus Spies being a rookie etc etc...that puts a pin in it.

Un-flippin' believable. Keeping the 800's along with the new 1,000's in 2012 and perhaps beyond?? I'm sorry...but I couldn't disagree with this idea more. The 800's need to be eliminated by the 2012 season.

I'd like to think that the whole idea of going 1,000cc in 2012, rather than sooner, was to give all potential manufacturers plenty of time to get their racing projects ready. Now the current members of the MSMA are whining that they want to continue racing the 800cc machines?? I think everyone, whether incumbent teams or new participants, should have to start off fresh in 2012, with all machines at 1,000cc if that is the way the rules are supposed to be.

A two-tier MotoGP in this style will be a joke. And the people coming up with ridiculous proposals like this are idiots. Phoenix1, however, has got the right idea. Work on rules to allow multiple engine configs (not just fours) at 1,000cc to be equivalently competitive. Or go with something similar to WSBK engine displacement rules...

I used to feel much the same way but in looking at it carefully, the 81mm bore limit really makes things look very different. If you can get the same HP from an 800 and a 1000, does it matter which you use?

I definitely agree that a two-tiered system is the wrong direction because it prescribes particular motor configurations. Set the same limits that everyone has to follow and let the builders do their thing. If you can get a 250cc single out there and run with everyone else, why should I care what displacement it is?

What you say about getting the same HP from an 800cc and a 1,000cc MotoGP machine thanks to the 81mm bore limit for 1,000's may end up being true, but I just feel that the 800's vs 1,000's proposal stinks. I fully agree with you, as you said..."Set the same limits that everyone has to follow and let the builders do their thing."

The two-tier proposal doesn't make much sense...other than being an obvious compromise between the big factories that don't want to change what they are already using for whatever their reasons may be, vs. any new participants that will likely build a 1,000cc machine since, why the hell would they waste their money on building an 800cc bike in the first place.

MotoGP doesn't need a compromise. It needs a strong, well thought out and far-sighted set of rules that will attract the maximum possible number of participants in what should be the class that everyone wants to be part of, that doesn't need a major revision every 5 years....and this two-tier nonsense isn't that.

See, I am not sure there is a proposal, or at least there shouldn't be. Basically, it seems to me that the factories could - under exactly the same rules as everyone else - build an 800 that is competitive with the 1000s. Essentially, no two-tiered approach, just a different design decision within the same rules.

I really like the idea of multiple displacements b/c it allows the manufacturers to have options. They can choose high revs or low revs. Spring valves or pneumatic. Frequent rebuilds or infrequent rebuilds. Low end power or peaky power.

I'm not surprised that the GPC is having trouble ironing out the rules. How many bikes are running exactly 81mm as of right now? Probably none. The manufacturers want 800cc engines, but they don't want to dump money into rebuilding their 800s to satisfy the 81mm rule.

Furthermore, I think fuel is limiting engine performance right now. If they increase the fuel capacity so the 800s can run with the 1000s, it's going to start a bore war which will require all of the teams to be at the bore limit.

I believe this is the source of the two-tiered approach. They don't want to redesign the engines, but if they add fuel, it will start an 800cc bore war anyway.

I don't buy the MSMA's weak argument b/c the manufacturers are constantly redesigning engines and engine components. I think they are simply using the cost argument to weasel out of the bore rule. Honda is probably leading the charge b/c they couldn't care less about the authenticity of the sport at this point (1 title since 2003).

So the MSMA are making a patently bogus remark and Ezpeleta flies into Sepang for an emergency meetings. What's this all about then? MONEY! The MSMA are probably trying to hit Dorna up for more money.

I'm OK with multiple displacements too, but not the way the MSMA would want it.

I'd be cool with it if it was similar to the engine displacement rules for WSBK, with 1,000cc fours vs. 1,100cc triples vs. 1,200cc twins (not sure if WSBK actually allows for 1,100cc triples, but if not...they should). This follows the engine types that many manufacturers already have in production, but there is no reason the engines can't still remain full-prototype.

Or if they would go the route Rats proposes, unlimited displacement and relatively few, if any, limits on engine configurations. This would make things very interesting in MotoGP as it would give potential manufacturers any number of ways to obtain plenty of horsepower to be competitive with many different engine configuration possibilities. And also an attractive incentive to teams not necessarily interested in racing a typical four-cylinder machine. Heck, under this idea the MSMA could continue racing their 800's all they want.

To me, either of these options would be better for the sport than the MSMA's two-tier idea

The MSMA are trying to avoid the COST of rebuilding their engines. This is about how much the MSMA have to pay, not about fair rules.

The 800cc engines will require more fuel to keep up with an 81mm 1000cc engine, but if the MSMA add several liters of fuel, it will require them to redesign their engines anyway. An engine redesign is basically unavoidable.

However, the MSMA certainly don't want to pay for the redesign. Dorna have demanded the 81mm rule and 1000cc capacity b/c IRTA is going broke and the grids are shrinking. The manufacturers don't need the 81mm rule or more capacity. But Ezpeleta probably told the manufacturers point blank that Dorna are not paying for the transition b/c the MSMA wrote the 800cc rules that caused contraction and bad racing or maybe he offered the MSMA a pittance for the conversion.

So now the MSMA are coming back with a gruesome list of rules demands in order to help them avoid the unavoidable. They have to make it appear to Ezpeleta that they are seriously willing to follow through on a horribly complicated two-tiered technical rules.

I don't believe anyone thinks this is a good idea, but I'm not willing to say that bad two-tiered rules won't happen. I think this is just posturing right now. The MSMA want Dorna to pay for the conversion. In return, they might be willing to redesign their engines for 2011.

I hope what you are saying is indeed true, and that this is more an effort of posturing and positioning through the new regulations negotiations for 2012 than an actual serious proposal by the MSMA.

Personally, I think the MSMA should pay the price for the failure of their 800cc rules package and the damage it helped bring to MotoGP.

These 800cc bikes are like herpes .. just when you think they are gone they pop up again ... I was wondering if this 800cc proposal is from Suzuki . Maybe with sales plumbeting they just cant afford the change over to 1000cc yet want to contine with some sort of racing in MotoGP.

The news from the GPC meeting at the Sepang test that MSMA want to keep the unrestricted 800s is a U turn to rank with Gordon Browns best. Their reasoning, despite all agreeing 1000cc/81mm/4cyl. is that manufacturers have too much money invested in the format to walk away and build a new motorcycle in these dark times.
The reality is they want to keep developing the electronics, that you and I will never see on a street bike. Location based GPS with realtime predictive mapping,..the geeks are running the show from carpeted offices trackside, banks of laptops and monitors whirring and clicking away trying to decipher the data from a hundred different sensors plastered all over the bike.
It seems their intention was never to go the Litre route merely to implement a set of rules that ensure that those independents, interested in forming new teams to bolster grid numbers, will be joining a two tier series in which they have no chance competing, let alone winning ?!
Yes..protectionism not lack of money is the real agenda. Expect to see more punitive rules for the 1000cc bikes before the season starts.. weight and fuel limits will be to the fore.
The likes of Honda, Yamaha and Ducati have little respect for the history of GP and its fans, they have hijacked the championship in the knowledge that if they stick together, and they have a veto on all technical rules, Ezpeleta will never risk a confrontation that would see them's my ball and if I can't be Captain, have first pick and play where I want..?
I'd love to see Carmelo and the FIM call their bluff.

So do any of the current 800s have a bore size > 81mm?

If you have 4cyl, 81mm bore, fixed fuel limit, engine life limit just maybe there are a range of compromises that would let both an 800 and 1000 turn the same sort of lap times. My guess is Ducati will build a desmo-1000 that revs faster than everyone else's and go chasing top end power again.