Some Are More Equal Than Others: Suzuki To Get Extra MotoGP Engines

Jorge Lorenzo's huge engine blow-up during qualifying at the Sachsenring showed the extent to which manufacturers are finding the limits with engine life, but Yamaha's problems are nothing compared to Suzuki's. The Rizla Suzuki riders are heading rapidly towards the end of their allocation of six engines to last the season, with Alvaro Bautista already having taken his 5th engine so far, while Loris Capirossi is nearing that moment very quickly. After just 8 of the 18 races, it is clear that there is no way that Suzuki is going to make it through to the end of the season without taking a penalty.

According to Motorcycle News' Matt Birt, the pressure on Suzuki is about to be eased. MCN is reporting that the manufacturers have agreed to give Suzuki an extra three engines per rider, to ensure they make it to the end of the year without incurring a penalty. To take such a penalty once - starting from pit lane 10 seconds after the rest of the field have started - might have been overlooked, but Suzuki was on schedule to have one of their riders starting from pit lane almost every race from Indianapolis onwards. With an allocation of nine engines instead of six, MotoGP's smallest and least well-funded factory has a chance to make it to Valencia without being forced to use engines outside of the imposed limits.

That Suzuki should be allowed to disregard the engine is remarkable to say the least. According to MCN, the move came as part of an unwritten understanding among the manufacturers agreed at the start of the season that Suzuki would be given special dispensation to run more motors if they got into trouble during the season. But the special allowance for Suzuki raises a number of troubling questions about the rule and about the series.

The special dispensation for Suzuki is clearly an attempt to keep Suzuki on board in MotoGP. At Barcelona, Suzuki team boss Paul Denning had talked about the need to do extra testing, but extra testing would also have incurred a penalty. Suzuki's presence in MotoGP has long been tenuous, the Hamamatsu firm investing just enough to participate, but never enough to be truly competitive in the four-stroke era. If Suzuki had not been allowed extra engines, it is conceivable that the company would have given consideration to pulling out of MotoGP altogether.

Should they decide to do so, such a move is likely to come at the end of 2011, after the agreement between the MSMA and Dorna runs out. They could conceivably decide to pull out at the end of this season, but after Kawasaki withdrew from MotoGP at the end of 2008, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta flew to Japan and had a number of meetings with the boards of the Japanese manufacturers, in which he set out in detail just what the agreement between the MSMA and Dorna meant, and what consequences breaking the agreement might have. Suzuki would be little better off if they did withdraw, and consequently are likely to stay through 2011.

But the decision to allow Suzuki more engines is unlikely to go down well with the rest of the paddock. Suzuki have faced sustained criticisms from other manufacturers, team managers and riders for only fielding two bikes throughout the four-stroke era, while other manufacturers are running four or more. Suzuki's current predicament is at least in part due to their decision to run just two bikes, as the complaints from the team about the lack of testing can testify. If Suzuki had been running four bikes instead of two for the last couple of years, the amount of data the engineers have to work with would have been much greater, making it easier to find solutions to the GSV-R's reliability problems.

Riders for the satellite teams are likely to be the worst affected though. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards has been particularly vocal about the consequences the engine rule is having for the satellite Yamaha, and the knowledge that Bautista and Capirossi are getting extra engines is unlikely to improve his mood. The engine rules are already unpopular among the riders, and the arbitrary application of the rules is likely only to increase their dissatisfaction. It is already extremely difficult to explain the current set of rules to a casual fan, but if Suzuki get extra engines, it will become nigh on impossible.

Alvaro Bautista's engines:

Alvaro Bautista's engine usage to Sachsenring

Loris Capirossi's engines:

Loris Capirossi's engine usage to Sachsenring

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Everybody, including Paul Denning, knew at the beginning of the season that Suzuki would not make it until the end of the season on 6 engines. Why didn't they use a variation of the 'Dunlop tire rule' where tire manufacturers that have not won 2 4-stroke races were not given to the same limitations as tire manufacturers that have won were subject to?

This would have made a rule that would not need to be broken with the resulting outcry from the rest of the teams and emabarrasment to the sanctioning body. It would have indirectly singled out Suzuki as long term underachievers and either embarrassed them into investing more money into the program or dropping out altogether.

Tech3 should be livid. From all accounts they are suffering from the engine regs but have no relief from Dorna.


Exempt from the Rookie rule and now the engine rule?

This aint right. Every rider and team that complains has my sympathy.

Their exemption from the rookie rule makes perfect sense, since they don't have a satellite team. This, on the other hand… I see why they're doing it, but it's still frustrating to see different rules for different teams.

Exemption from the rookie rule makes no sense. The rule exists to help satelite teams get first crack at the rookies. How is Suzuki hurt by the rookie rule in a way that other factory teams are not? Just because Suzuki has no satelite team, why should they get rookies. Repsol cant. Fiat cant. Ducati cant.

Suzuki should have to daw from the same talent pool as the other factory teams.

They should be told "You can't grow new talent because of the rookie rule? Tough, get a satellite team." The rookie rule could have been used to effectively force Suzuki to put another bike or two on the grid but instead the GPC (or whoever) just bend over and take it.

Riders like Simoncelli and Spies are signed to the factory and then "lent" to the satellite teams. Without a satellite team to place their rookies, Suzuki is at a huge disadvantage.

The rookie rule is dumb to begin with (satellite team charity), just like the 6 engine rule, so it's only natural that they would hand out exemptions.

I think that tech3 shouldn't be too unhappy that Suzuki are getting new engines. From what I can see, I think it's only tech3 that are struggling engine wise (besides suzuki obviously). The satelite Ducati's and Hondas seem to be doing quite well. I think it's down to the factory Yamaha's already being slower then the rest and this is exacerbated on the satelite Yamaha.

I would have thought that with Jorge having lost 2 engines almost 1000km before they were due to expire would put serious question marks over the rest of his campaign. As that means the remaing 3-4 engines have to deal with an extra 1000km on top of the limit they are supposed to have. If they aren't making 2400, how are they gonna make more?

And a question on the penalty. Say Lorenzo breaks out a 7th engine at Estoril (2nd last GP), and he uses that engine for the Estoril race and for the Valencia race...does he start from pitlane for both races?

Roger ....

What a joke that man has turned out to be,

Long live the AMA ..... as long as you call it the DMG !


I think Suzuki is in the drivers seat on this one. If they weren't allowed to receive any special treatment, then they could easily just drop out of the MotoGP series altogether at the end of the year.

If Suzuki dropped out, and I think they really want to, it would put pressure on the remaining manufacturers to put out more bikes for next year to have a valid championship. For them, it might be easier to give Suzuki a little leeway with their under performing machines than it would be to field an additional motorcycle entry in next years championship.

Dorna that is. JOKE

Can you imagine if Fiat Yam went to Dorna and said Rossi will not be racing for the last 6 races due to the engine rule ?

Dorna would re write the rule book so quick the ink would not be dry before a new page was turned.

Dorna = cowards.

Said it on Twitter, will say it again now.


This is an internal matter for the MSMA, not Dorna. Dorna  bears no real blame here, it's the manufacturers which have got together to make this possible. 

Funny with all the problems associated with the costs of running these very expensive four stroke engines it seems to me that a return to two strokes would seem a reasonable option. Increase the displacement to 1000cc, apply electronic controls (TC, Launch Control, etc) and let them race...

One litre two-strokes? That'd be… interesting. Either it'd be the most entertaining race series ever, or everyone would too scared to ride :)

Not really, the increased displacement would produce more torque and more power at a lower state of tune. If you don't have to tune for all out power you can spread the power out over a wider power band making them easier to ride. Add the modern control systems and you have a light weight engine, that produces high horsepower relatively cheaply (at much lower revs) and has the rideability of the 800's (possibly better).

nace, great observation i think you nailed that one totally!...chester5040 i agree with you to what a mess dorna has made of a once great series. how can carmelo even walk around without a slew of bodyguards?? i know if i had a chance i would give him a knuckle sandwich and some words to think about!!..haha i just said knuckle sandwich!!

I'm not the type of person to get bent out of shape about this b/c everyone knows GP can't afford to have a Hayate Suzuki team for 2011. The private teams can't really complain b/c they exist to meet a motorcycle quota. They get bikes from the MSMA so regardless of the IRTA bylaws, the private teams have to follow MSMA directive.

I hope this gives everyone a window into the MSMA, though. The MSMA might be a professional engineering outfit, but it operates like a country club for dodgy old guys who want to draw very ample paychecks from a stable, orderly sport. Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki have all participated for the last 30+ years consecutively, Ducati is allowed as a stand in for Aprilia and Cagiva. It's been the same basic club since the 350s were canceled at the end of the 1982 season.

This post is probably going to surpass 100 comments. :-)

Kropotkin - what are people who work and live in MotoGP saying about this decision? We will hear from the riders at press conferences, but what about the crews, the crew chiefs, the track promoters, racing departments of manufacturers, potential teams that want to join?

And what are people in WSBK saying? Are they laughing at the circus that MotoGP has become? Do they feel bad that it has come to this?

Let's all take a step back, folks...

Suzuki have been running mid-pack on their best days, even with their short-lived engines.  It's not like they're going to suddenly rocket up to the front with 3 extra engines that still have to last longer than their first 6 did.

I understand that Colin Edwards will be pissed if he, for instance, lays his bike with his 6th engine down during qualifying at P.I. and has to serve a penalty for his 7th engine in the race.  But he might still finish ahead of both Suzuki riders anyway.

In the mean time, at least the mockery of two little blue bikes starting from the Pit Lane in tandem at Indy has been pushed back and they can continue to hide in 12th place, and still on the lead lap.

If they were winning, or battling at the front, this wouldn't be happening.

As an aside, I have to assume that Bautista's #1 engine isn't coming back again.  Perfect timing on that one...

I don't think it's the violence inducing travesty to make some dispensations for a struggling outfit. But it's just another sign that how close they are to losing Suzuki and who knows who could be next.

I love the spectacle of Grand Prix racing and I think that should live on with production-based machines. The WSBK format and delivery has it's place as well as World Endurance. Imagine how excited the MSMA would be if the Suzuka 8 hour was on the Grand Prix schedule.

If Suzuki does exit MotoGP it will be a sad day. I think they are weak for not commiting to homologation here in the US. The weak effort in GP. Is that passion, is that what it is about?


Ducati is far smaller company and look at what passion does for them.

And I am sick of hearing about what a brave little company Suzuki is!

A quick web search showed the following total production volumes for 2009 (bikes only):
Honda 196,179
Suzuki 163,865
Yamaha 161,640
Kawasaki 123,146
Source: Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association

I can't quickly find a official figure, but Ducati seems to produce around 30-40,000 bikes per year.

So yes, let's all feel reaaal sorry for this minnow of a company, struggling to find the funds to race in MotoGP.

This dispensation is a total joke, an embarrasment for the whole once-grand sport of GP racing. If you're going to make up dumb rules, you should at least stick to them. There's a decent chance that Lorenzo may yet need a 7th (or 8th...) engine, what if he loses the title due to an engine penalty? More pointedly, what if he loses the title by a few points having finished behind a Suzuki at some point (obviously only after an off)? Can't he protest the inclusion of the Suzukis with their illegal engines? Making arbitrary decisions like this lays an awesome minefield whose only guarantee is to produce further unintended consequences.

Someone get MSMA the hell out of the decision making process!! It's like watching DMG kill the AMA series, only in slow motion.

"Someone get MSMA the hell out of the decision making process!! It's like watching DMG kill the AMA series, only in slow motion."

Ironic. MSMA *IS* the manufacturers and DMG was trying to take them out of the position of making all the decisions in AMA

I think it would be better to let them go rather than have them go through the motions like this. It's a half-arsed effort and the bikes are career killers for those that have to ride them. There is nowhere to go after riding one, and they are no better equipped than the privateer teams.

And breganzane, I wonder what the profits of each company is like year by year. I imagine that is probably more the problem rather than how many bikes are shipped.

A quick Google search:

Suzuki: 31.8 Billion Yen, Operating profit 2009 calendar year.
Honda: 360 Billion Yen, Operating profit Fiscal Year ending March 31.

Even despite the difference in period and it not being net profit amounts, you can see why Suzuki perhaps feels it cannot afford MotoGP at the moment.

Honda and Suzuki are diversified companies that don't just do bikes, but Honda is way, way bigger. Just check out their HondaJet.....

I think Yamaha is the smallest of the big 4 Japanese manufacturers. They lost money in 2009--a lot of money.

I can't be certain, but the "Concorde" agreement maybe the cause of Suzuki's woes. The manufacturers probably get paid based upon their finishing position. They also get paid by Dorna to produce satellite bikes, then IRTA pay the MSMA to lease them. Suzuki is not in on that racket. They are the worst factory team and the produce no satellite equipment.

Kawasaki had the same problem after 2007. A poor finishing position, very little sponsorship, and no satellite racket to raise funds was threatening the long term stability of their program. They invested a lot of money to strike while Honda and Yamaha were a bit weak. It failed miserably.

Suzuki have learned from Kawasaki's example. Better to hang around until the funds materialize than pour money into a sport with shifting rules.

2012 cannot come soon enough. If Dorna the FIM and MotoGP had a lick of sense they would make the change for 2011.

The Manufacturers Association will only have one more year to be the blood sucking vampires they are.

Coming up with these rules is just showing how greedy and stupid they really are.

Left up to them they would kill MotoGP.

What a bunch of jokers.

I guess they need Suzuki in there to make sure MotoGP stays competitive.

I'm sure the other teams aren't laughing, however.

Dorna itself is a rather comical outfit.

Suzuki gets 3 more engines for each rider, the rest of the grid protest. Dorna then says lets make it fair, every other teams get 3 more per rider. Jorge says thank you Suzuki.

I've been saying this for a while a technical rule-making body, it's time for MotoGP to kiss the MSMA good-bye.

The fact that this is happening to Suzuki at all makes me wonder why they would have agreed to the engine-limit rule with the other factories in the first place. I'm with many others who believe that allowing Suzuki extra engines is an absolute farce, and only makes the series look worse than it already is. I understand that it may have been this, or see Suzuki walk away. Personally, I'd rather see Suzuki pay the price and play by the rules as all participants (especially a factory team) should, or let them walk from the series. If they walked, it would just be more egg on the face of the MSMA as well as this ridiculous engine-limit rule.

I think someone else said this already, but the proposed 2012 rules desperately need to be moved up to 2011...and it should be priority #1 that these rules be fleshed out and finalized ASAP.

"The fact that this is happening to Suzuki at all makes me wonder why they would have agreed to the engine-limit rule with the other factories in the first place."

Not hard to imagine there was a gentlemens agreement that Suzuki would get to the position it is in now then then be given a special dispensation. I read somewhere (probably here) insiders saying that there was no way Suzuki would make it through the season on 6 engines. They probably never planned to...

wow,,, some of you prefer a 14 bike (or less) grid. ???

Let Suzuki have all the engines that they want,, it won't help. A new bad lump isn't better than an old bad lump. ,,, it's only a fraction of the problems that THE mistake of a bike, has. ,,, Their own GSXR is faster with more potiential,,, Hell,, give 'em turbo-chargers,, anything to at least help make the starting grid look a shade better than pathetic..,, Even if the other manufactures all had to start 10 seconds back, from the pits, a Sazook wouldn't win. Like what was said earlier, next year the rules will be changed.

Good thing Capirossi got out for next year (Pramac, cheers),, now, how to get Bautista out,, he is too good for that team.

I don't think anyone here actually begrudges Suzuki getting this helping hand, it's agreed they'll still be midfield at best.
It's the arbitrary changing of the rules (only for some) half way through the season thats the problem. How is a satellite rider going to feel when he's beaten by a Suzuki on it's 9th engine without a penalty, while he wheezes along on #6, tuned right down, hoping it won't burst into flame and dump him on his head at 300kmh.

It seems to me that last winter Suzuki decided not to spent too much effort (read: money) in their engine, a design which does not differ much from when it was introduced in 2007, and just detune the thing. Seemingly hoping it would last the distance.

Now that it doesn't, which it already looked like after 3 races, they even get away with it......

That's what you get when you write final paragraphs at 1am, after spending the weekend listening to six different languages... Sorrry! 

Michael Guy, MCNs WSB reporter has written a piece in todays paper about a press conference at Brno with Maurizio Flammini, Chairman of Infront and the big cheese in WSBK.

Apparently he has it in writing from FIM lawyers that 1000cc production derived engines will never be used in in GP, and uses the WCM case as an example of how bullet proof his contract with the FIM is. He goes on to warn teams considering entering GP with a Superbike engine that they will lose their investment money and reiterates, in a veiled threat to Dorna, that he will spend his last Euro protecting the series' rights.

The 4cyl/81mm/1000cc 2012 MotoGP rules, albeit with unspecified CRT, was generally regarded by most fans as a step in the right direction with the jury out until fleshed out detail had been put on the skeletal bare bones..GPC meetings have come and gone, punters and noted commentators have asked, given accidents and the grid number, whether these rules could be brought forward a year..but still nothing? the silence is deafening!

Is this the reason why? does Dorna realise the strength of the Flamminis contract? perhaps understanding all to well that they will defend it to the hilt with a bloody courtroom battle, if forced.

We are told time and time again.." it's not Dornas Fault".. Well they were stupid enough to hand over technical rulemaking to the factories? They are gutless, have no integrity and clearly have no clue or desire to show some much needed leadership in these troubled times..

How is this dispensation for Suzuki going to attract other manufacturers to the series, spending millions when it can all change at the flick of a switch, mid season, without a thought to any sporting values?

Let it burn I say..from the ashes and with new people in charge, MotoGP, Moto1, GPSBK whatever you want to call it...can hopefully rise again.

I will be writing a piece on that very soon. I have the transcript from the press conference, and some reaction from other parties involved. It's very interesting, but in short, Infront position doesn't seem to be as strong as it first appears. 

Surely Infront's bluff was called with the Shopping Trolley Cup aka Moto2? They huffed and puffed beforehand then when the CBR spec engine was announced they went silent.

If Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha stop homologating their 1000cc engines, the engines would be legal in GP. I don't know if Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha are going to withdraw from WSBK or if they have simply resolved to build a limited-run of 81mm 1000cc GP replicas for sale to racing teams (like the old RGVs).

Based upon Ippolito's own words and the information we have about the FIM hiring a consultant to act as a liaison between the MSMA and the non-tech-savvy politicians at the FIM and Dorna, I'd say the FIM are trying to encourage a limited 81mm 1000cc production run.

Personally, I think the idea is completely cracked b/c the Japanese have never sold high compression combustion chamber technology. If a private outfit was able to engineer that technology themselves, a 24L CRT team would have a distinct advantage over a 21L factory team.

I don't see how it would work.

It's about time we had some reasoned debate regards the potentially cataclysmic convergence of the two respective series...most fans believe they should and can exist side by side, we want more racing not less..some realistic, brave decisions to be made and adhered to.

The two series can remain separate if the MSMA and the FIM write a good technical formula when this party with the Flamminis is over sometime after 2020.

Productions sports bikes are much too expensive so it comes as no surprise that a global credit crunch has cratered the industry. Imo, the bore-limiting, cylinder-count model proposed for GP (81mm) is far more appropriate for WSBK b/c it can drastically reduce engine costs which is good for the consumer.

For insance, WSBK could move to capacity bases at 800cc, 600cc, and 400cc with a maximum of 4, 3, and 2 cylinders respectively. This would allow the MSMA to bore limit across a production line. In the 750cc days, 72mm was the base, and we know manufacturers like to keep the bore stroke around 1.5, so let's assume they would use 72mm. A 72mm x 49mm I-4 would be an SBK, a 72mm x 49mm I-3 would be an SS, and a 72mm x 49mm I-2 would be a supertwin.

This allows a lot of interchangeability of parts and cross development. A piston improvement could be applied to 3 models. A single run of valves could be used to build 3 sports bikes. A supersport bike would be mechanically less complex and cheaper to produce by shedding a cylinder. Ducati would still get their displacement allowances for SBK, in fact they could just update the old 999 engine (not 999R) and race it in WSBK. Triumph don't need special treatment any longer.

Depending upon how they work engine mods and electronics, it could be affordable and fun to watch. If the bikes made 14,500rpm in competition spec, they would produce 180bhp for SBKs, 140bhp for SSs, and about 100bhp for STs. That's a neat arrangement that moves SBK well out of the way of GP while giving us cheaper products with more road-relevance than 1000cc SBKs.

The 1000s and the 67mm I-4 600s would become GP engines.

I like the discussion about scrapping the dogma associated with both series and rising up for something new!

But I think the idea of technical limitations makes it more complicated and again allows for race teams to get out the rule and check books to work around them. Many more bikes are sold than raced. Governments make rules for chemical and acoustic pollution as well as safety. Those homologation efforts are far more powerful than any race organization (though the two kinds may have influence on each other). I think the more straight forward way to set classes is to make limitations on production bike modification in WSBK more stringent and transfer highly specialized RACE PREPARED bikes to the realm of Grand Prix racing. I think the word prototype needs to be avoided. It's misleading and irrelevant. The true ethos of SBK racing is that any person can go in and buy a bike very much like the ones that are raced on the track. This is not really the present case.

SBK machines should be like SuperStock or even more like the bikes that roll off the floor. Clearly things like glass and signal stalks that could break off and be dangerous and safety wire and catch pans/bottles should be modified for safety reasons. But even emissions equipment should remain intact. It would be another challenge point for the factories to make bikes that are more powerful and pass emissions or the whole league is an effort to incite illegal modification of bikes for road use. They may not have screaming engines but to be able to sell their series as an effort 'of the people' and even expand their support series to underbone and other smaller displacement racing should endear them to the fan in Asia that they all seem to be chasing as an ever expanding market of individuals with increasing purchasing power. Add in track days on the same weekend and the ability of dealers to sell straight from the track and it could be very popular with fans (customers), promoters and dealers (factories).

This would free up the specially RACE PREPARED section of bikes for Grand Prix competition. Similar regs for WSBK could be implemented with some allowances for alterations in the name of advancement on a limited basis by year. For example the year of the custom valve train, piston/crankshaft, electronic package or even tires. Things like wheels, suspension and aerodynamic packages could be allowed alteration every year. Then the results of such studies in performance could be implemented directly in line with future models.

World endurance could be an extension of the Grand Prix rule book and calendar. The kind of data gained from efforts like that seem far greater than current Grand Prix efforts.

Then you'd have a series that was focused on and enjoyed commercial sales and a series that focused on development and enjoyed the greater profits associated with the entertainment spectacle (not that the former wouldn't enjoy similar revenues).

Notice not once in that plan is there a limit on revs, bore size, fuel or weights of bike or rider.

I meant to mention in my post that the new SBKs would be run according to rules more like WSS which feature entirely stock reciprocating internals and cam duration mods only.

However, keep in mind that heavy modification can actually protect the production model in some instances. Frame geometry is a good example. Production bikes are softer and more conservative. I don't really want to crash on a rough road b/c my stock bike has race geometry, but stock swingarm and pivot should probably be maintained like WSS.

The same stock-race incompatibility exists with engine compression as well. If they can't modify compression they will be tempted to run high compression on the stock model which shortens engine life and makes the bike run hot. It also leads to premium-fuel-only engines. WSS currently allows cylinder head modifications to raise compression, but high compression pistons (aluminum) would be cheaper and easier to install. They are commercially available as well. Definitely get rid of the full titanium race parts, but compression mods are a must, imo.

Exhaust mods could be another must b/c emissions compliant exhaust is very heavy. Does anyone really want to pay an additional $1,000 for a stock bike with Ti pipes just so the manufacturer can win an SBK title? Overall weight is also critical b/c you don't want to give the manufacturers incentives to thin frame walls, or skim weight out of the wheels or brakes. Personally, I don't want my bike to come unglued after a life-saving evasive maneuver causes me to hop a curb. Min weight is good, but raise the min weight so they stop playing with carbon fiber.

My main focus in the world of production bikes is to drastically reduce costs, the Japanese are actually focused on this as well b/c young people don't ride in Japan. I'm really only concerned with the cylinder count rules and rev-limiting via OTC electronics so the manufacturers can increase interchangeability and maintain road relevant rev limits. I don't particularly care which bore number they choose, anything between 68mm and 76mm would probably work. I just think costs could come way down if they used one bore and stroke measurement and then adjusted the cylinder count. I'm not convinced that changing the modification rules will pull race bikes down towards stock. I'm afraid that fewer mods in certain areas will pull stock bikes up towards racing spec which will increase costs for consumers.

However, I completely agree with you that the level of tune must be reduced drastically overall to keep the sport relevant to consumers and dealerships. No one benefits more from racing than dealerships. If you have a championship winning SBK/SS in your window, it is a big endorsement for the technical competence of your staff and your commitment to the industry. Dealers must be part of SBK trackside festivities at both national and international production bike races.

No 'probably' about it. I'm making a big reach for this idea.

But I think I was relying on the market to drive the compromises between weight and cost or reliability. People won't buy what they can't afford or what they don't think is safe. Toyota has shown us that even a small blemish on a stellar safety record can bring a company to it's knees. And Honda just made a cryptic announcement about their efforts to revitalize the markets for motorcycles and ATVs. I don't think making more expensive machines is part of that formula.

Ducati have already demonstrated the ability to sell a $70,000 GP replica in homologation legal quantities. They can sell R models by the thousands as well. BMW has also demonstrated an ability to sell high end SBKs to its customers, and the new S1000RR is unbeatable in Superstock trim.

The cost of Japanese bikes has gone up 25% in the last decade as well. The Japanese have added FI, and redesigned the engines on numerous occassions. Higher rev limits and higher compression has also made the power output irrelevant for road models. These changes wouldn't be a big deal if wages weren't stagnant.

The customer markets served by the Japanese and the European luxury marques demand completely different things. The Euro marque customers want wow-factor, monumental stat sheets, and prestige. Japanese marque customers generally want performance on a budget. The Japanese have economies of scale, but that's no match for a company that can sell thousands of $70,000 GP replicas.

Changes will have to be made to reduce costs, imo. Limiting cost doesn't work well b/c then the high volume producers have as big an advantage as the premium producers currently have under Superstock rules. The only solution I can think of is to specify bore, cylinder counts, and rev limits.

As you point out, the real problem with WSBK is that the bikes are hardly production. If they change the nature of the modifications (e.g. requiring aluminum pistons, cost-controlled suspension, OTC electronics), the sport would be in better stead. BTW, I can't take credit for any of these ideas, the MSMA actually proposed this concept at the beginning of the 1000cc era before the MSMA kicked them out. I think their ideas can work as long as they don't implement air restrictors again.

Or does it? It was amazing that they sold so many, so quickly of such a trick bike. I think it was timed exactly right at the peak of a the largest economic bubble ever. I don't think that's a rational option but it should be a possibility. It will push the larger factories to make tech cheaper and the smaller factories to make tech better. They cycle continues, the show gets better and the customer benefits. But as you say the luxury market offers something different yet I'd argue the budget bikes compete with little problem. Before the last 3 years of Ducati dominance it was Japanese factories winning out. Even displacement could be unlimited. What someone can sell should determine what they can race. Maybe significantly raising the minimum production units would be required in the more stock like SBK formula. That would leave the smaller producers to still meet a production goal to race in the GPs but still have a place to go for small innovators.

Can you tell I'm avoiding mentioning displacement, cyl number or limits on revs or fuel? Technical rules are easy to work around for a factory. Getting a CARB or Euro6 certified Desmosdici will be a lot harder.

It's difficult to discuss these matters b/c WSBK is not what it appears. Ducati can sell desmodromic technology. They can build a 600cc V-4 WSS bike, and sell it (historical evidence). The bike would win every race by about 20 seconds b/c desmo allows much higher revs and at least a 30hp advantage. There are procedures in place to stop this from happening. The same way there are rules to stop Ducati from racing the Desmosedici RR in WSBK even though it could be legally homologated (at least to stop them from racing it with a big advantage).

They can't get rid of the rules b/c the sport would be turned upside down overnight. Production SBKs would be 1400cc, but they wouldn't cost a dime more than the 1000s. The consumer version would dawdle around town, from the outside, we wouldn't notice any difference other than longer engine life and lower operating speeds. But unlock the racing fuel maps and the revised rev limit, and it would be a 350hp SBK at the track. WSBK would be in shambles with mega top speeds, riders who refuse to take to the track, and insurance companies who refuse to underwrite or provide medical coverage. If the production market trends are any indication, this would be their best selling bike :-D

That's assuming the manufacturers decide not to turbocharge. If they turbocharged, they could put two non-functional turbos on a 600cc street bike. It looks like a CBR600RR, but when they turn up the wick via the ECU it goes like a 1970s F1 car. The engine lasts 1 session.

I understand the concept of making the race track follow the production market, but it's not possible without strict rules. Without displacement limits, they can't even have feeder classes. Throw out tire dimensions as well?

I don't think they'd make a 350 HP, 1400cc superbike go around the track much faster than the current 800cc bikes. The lap records keep falling and it's not due to displacement disadvantage or fuel limits. Riders will still get on the bikes. If they keep throwing them up the road they won't be finishing races. Strict rules just more forcefully promote the illusion of control.

If supercharging makes more efficient power, they should be allowed to use it. But the model I suggested was that GPs would be like current WSBK rules in that certain things will be required to be like the production machine but things could be changed such as on an alternating year basis some components could be changed. If they wanted to plan production bikes for the designated experimental ECU year with mothballed turbos then they can. It would just be an extra cost that wouldn't make much sense and their production series bikes would have to work around them in place (and fit all the emissions systems around them?) Sounds like a stretch.

Was Ducati really going to try and race the Desmosedici in WSBK? I mean come on. They knew that would be a bomb and that a rule would put in place to stop them if they did try, which makes me wonder if they did try because a rule is in place. Running that bike is clearly a violation of the unwritten sporting rules and should have stayed unwritten IMO, but I guess some smarmy ass privateer would have tried it and so it had to be written.

Personally, I like the current formula. It seems fair, although Ducati probably wouldnt agree with me. It focuses on racing what you build and as always, there is a basic ballpark formula, although it would seem that Aprilia is having success with a little outside the box thinking. Its much easier to just outright ban exotic space age materials like carbon fiber and titanium or to specify EXACTLY what it can be used for. Carbon body work? Cool. Carbon wheels? No, not even if you homologate them. Titanium rear sets and exhaust systems? Fine. Internals? Nope. After you define what can be done you add 1 more rule which states if it isnt written here, then it is illegal and CAN NOT be done. BTW, WSBK has been pretty good this year. You have 7 factories competing. 5 different riders won last year. This year we are up to 6 and have 8 total races to do. Competition has been fierce all year with alot more guys fighting it out. Why change it? Its working.

Unfortunately this is the old chicken and the egg controversy. Factories want to sell what they can race as well as race what they sell and people want to buy what they see racing and winning. So who decides what that will be? I dont know.

I think I said this before, but CAD is the best and worst thing to ever happen to engineering. It makes the impossible possible, but at the same time it shortens the life span of a product so much because you have to redesign to be the next big thing. Same with metallurgy. Racing has become a business. And a fast paced one at that. But we have seen the quality of what factories sell to the consumer go up. I know that a stock 2010 Honda CBR600RR will probably turn a faster lap than even a full race kit 2003 CBR600RR. Because its that much better. But does the consumer need that? Personally I dont get involved in what other people want and should be able to spend their money on. The whole idea of changing everything for a purpose that I cant even really understand, other than to be different from the other series is ridiculous. 2002-2006 no one seemed to have a problem with MotoGP being 1000cc and WSBK being 1000cc. They co-existed just fine. From what I can see, the problem was the same thing that caused the death of F1. Since I dont watch it, I can only reiterate what Ive been told, which is the advent of the electronic race car. The thing that killed MotoGP was the sissies that said they were going to fast and yet somehow, they go FASTER now and the advent of electronic rider aids. We know it. Dorna knows it. MSMA knows it. Everyone knows it. They just ignore it.

Factories invest a lot of money into their bikes and their riders. Just like NFL teams invest a ton of money into their quarterback, they want him protected at all costs. Factories want this in racing too. Gone are the days when pro racers were larger than life. Richard Petty, Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Mick Doohan, Schwantz, Rainey, Agostino, all of them ooze manliness and have superhero like qualities about them. Id pick anyone of these guys over any current crop of racers in their respective series. That includes picking over Rossi. So you have to figure out a way to balance what the factories want, with a competitive series, and keep the people footing the bills happy. No factory gets into racing because its a money maker. They foot the bill, they should get some say.

And I hate to say it because it isnt PC(when have I ever cared about being PC? I must be getting old), but people want to see manly men racing burley machines. Fire breathing monsters like the 500cc 2 stroke GP machines. Hurling around Daytona Super speedway at 200MPH while being 1 inch away from 4 people at the same time. Commanding an F1 car that is held together with hot glue and duct tape wondering if the wheels are going to come off if you hit that corner just 1 MPH faster next lap. The element of danger is gone and so is the excitement. We have become such a safety society that even our most adrenaline pumping sports are somewhat boring now because they are so damn safe.

So you end up with mutually exclusive issues on the subject of cost. If you say you can use parts only if they are homologated, you raise the cost on consumers, since factories will push these parts to consumers so they can be used racing. If you say you can replace everything and anything you want in the engine to race with, you increase costs to race teams. You cant have it both ways. Unless you just dont want race replicas sport bikes sold to the public. I mean lets be honest, there are much better bikes to ride everyday that are just as much fun as my 600RR, but yet, I still have a supersport replica... But that wont happen. Sportbikes are money makers.

Ironically, I see you guys doing the same thing Dorna and the MSMA have done. 400cc, 600cc, 800cc, 297cc, 539.76cc. Where did you get those numbers from? Make it CARB legal or race street bikes. That wont ever be cost effective and its not fun or exciting. Try to fix the series by making these rules that even you havent figured out 100%. Not that you should BTW since it wont ever happen, so why waste your time figuring out all the details. Its just something that I noticed. Doing the exact same thing "they" have done and "they" have ruined MotoGP. Just saying...

So I think what Im saying is, let rules package exist for more than 3 years or so before it has to be changed. THAT will do more to curb costs in the long run than any of these window dressing changes. And its now 2:50 and I have to be at work in 4 hours. Awesome!

1. There are already incentives to prevent companies from homologating bikes like the Desmosedici RR. FIM homologation procedures are the last bastion of MSMA control to keep the products relevant and the sport stable.

2. FIM sanction and own both WSBK and GP so it is smart for the two series to be differentiated. You'll find that participants in both series complain frequently about cannibalization.

3. I'm not trying to tell people what to want. WSBK is fine, but the market that supports WSBK is in shambles. The racing rules define the market segment so an unhealthy market segment means that the racing rules are not in line with customer demands. Using max cylinder count rules and a single bore (OEM specified) for all sportsbikes in a single lineup, is a good way to reduce prices which are by far the biggest impediment to ownership.

Yes, the idea is borrowed from GP, but it is not their idea. It's quite common in the production world. Engine scaling with fixed bore isn't appropriate for GP, but it is useful for WSBK which relies upon a healthy consumer market. WSBK would maintain displacement allowances for twins.

4. I completely agree with adjusting the level of tune by specifying appropriate use of materials. The only people AFAIK who are controlling materials and parts application are DMG in AMA Pro. They use WSS rules in AMA SBK, but the modifications are controlled via a list of legally homologated parts. AMA Pro is broke so the state of tune is a bit weak, but the concept is basically what the Japanese envisioned in 2003 before they were thrown out of SBK racing. I believe they referred to it as Super Production.

Some very interesting suggestions there but one potential problem would be when you have Ducati with their £25k 1098R which is a production motorcycle going up against a £10k GSXR 1000. The Ducati has far better stock components which allow considerably wider scope for fine adjustments (suspension) as well as better braking, two areas which can make a huge difference in racing performance when engine performance is on par. I could even see Ducati making a limited run model similar to the Desmodedici which would be ridiculously expensive but sold with the sole purpose of being raced. Success would be reflected in improved sales of their 1198s, 1098Rs and probably all their models. In this scenario, the Suzuki has two choices, either greatly enhance its production model at considerable cost to the consumer so as to level the playing field on track where modifications would be strictly limited (as per your suggestions) or continue to offer competitively priced road bikes but struggle for results on track. A catch 22 if ever there was one! Race winning success sells bikes but they would struggle to sell bikes if their prices suddenly increased by 25-30% but they would struggle to win races unless their base models were competitive spec wise with their Italian and now more importantly, German counterparts.
Maybe the ability of race teams to modify and improve the basic production version of a bike is not such a bad idea after all. In stock trim, the standard BMW S1000RR would beat the R1 all day long....Modified in racing, it's a lot closer.

But this is not meant to be an attack on your suggestion Brookspeed, rather playing devil's advocate and looking at potential flaws in the idea.

Most of mine don't pan out to be worth much. But it's fun to talk about them. I read a lot about trying to fine tune the rules to satisfy engineers and others to exclude the demon of technological progress (i.e. electronics). I think that there's got to be a better way, different than now, different than 20 years ago and different than 50 years ago, but maybe a bit borrowed from each era mixed with new ideas to capture the spirit of the racing and keep everyone's interest considered in an egalitarian way.

The idea that a bone stock, EPA/CARB/Euro6 complaint BMW, Aprilia or Ducati race series bike would automatically trounce all more modestly priced Japanese products is maybe not true. Superstock results over the last 10 years suggest that Suzuki seemed to be able to build a competitive machine to be raced under 'superstock' rules. European factories could sell a pre-prepared race bike in regulator compliant trim, but I have a feeling it would be far harder to sell that bike to a team saying, 'hey, you'll win!' and leave out the part about how expensive it is to toss a dozen of them up the track every year. And even harder to sell enough units at the high price requested in numbers to meet a raised homologation threshold. If Ducati or BMW can build a race spec bike in compliant trim that they can sell enough units to comply then that just raises the bar for the Japanese factories. There is little evidence that they've been unable to meet and exceed a Ducati displacement on more than a few occasions.

How must Honda feel about this ruling? Sure, they've got the R&D budget and the will to optimise their bikes (and not just the factory rides) for reliability to last the season. But at what cost to power and performance? If they had 9 engines what would have Honda produced for their championship assault? Their bikes are already consistently at or near the top performance wise in top speed and power, but if they'd had a bit more slack and could have squeezed a bit more out of the RC212V how different would the championship table look? Would Lorenzo have the lead he has now?
The same applies to both Yamaha and Ducati - given a different set of goalposts the results this season could have been entirely different.

Yea but dont forget Suzuki had their bikes livery designed by Troy Lee Designs! all pale blue, just like my 6 yr old would do.........

If I was one of the other teams Id be pissed, just like someone else said, if Tech 3 are babying their engines to make it to the end of the season, now they must be kicking themselves

I just hope Edwards and Spiesus get fresh motors for laguna :)

From a fans standpoint, this ruling to allow Suzuki 3 more engines per rider seems like a rational attempt to keep grid numbers up, and Suzuki showing up to races. They are obviously struggling to keep up with the current pack(Suzuki fault). To have racers starting from pit lane for the last 3 or 4 races would just be a huge embarrassment to the series. It would highlight what a joke the rules are, and how well thought out they were before they were put in place(Dorna/MSMA fault).

On the other hand, how livid do you think the other teams should be? Let’s say Suzuki is a mid pack bike at best even with a fresh engine for each race. I think we can all agree that sounds about right. What about the 4-6 bikes the Suzuki finishes in front of because they are using fresh engines. What does that say to the Aspar Ducati team (or whoever) when Suzuki takes points from them late in the season because fresh Suzuki engines are raced against tired ones with 3 races on them?

This series is in desperate need of some consistency. Consistency in the bikes, so manufacturers aren’t spending loads of money developing bikes that will be obsolete before they are even perfected. Consistency in the electronics package for each team since they now rely so heavily on them. And consistency in rules and in their interpretation and enforcement. Making exceptions to some rules and not others is a slippery slope.

"What about the 4-6 bikes the Suzuki finishes in front of because they are using fresh engines. What does that say to the Aspar Ducati team (or whoever) when Suzuki takes points from them late in the season because fresh Suzuki engines are raced against tired ones with 3 races on them?"

That isn't fair at all, it won't make a difference to everyone else, but those riders behind Suzuki should be the most upset! It's just a shame it had to come to this. Suzuki makes such great consumer bikes. MotoGP should make it easier for these manufacturers to be more competitive... oh... wait...

that Suzuki will make it to the end with 3 more engines? I mean do the math, if Alvaro has wasted 5 engines in 8 races he'll need atleast 5 MORE at this rate to get to the end and that might not be enough. Also thats saying he doesn't crash badly or just blow an engine early. These bonus engines will not save Suzuki. They'll probably get to Phillip Island and be like "We need even more engines... OR WE'RE LEAVING AGAIN!"
The engine rule in theory works, but just like the catch phrase on this site has been "unintended results" win out. It's a shame that the riders have to think about engine life and ride gingerly for fear of engine allocation.
Part of me wonders if Lorenzo was thinking "OK, Pedrosa has more pace than me I'll go a little easier" or if it was more like "Oh he thinks he can pass me? I'll show him! Oh wait, I better be careful I only have so many engines!"
I think without the allocation rule we would've seen Jorge give even more of a fight, just my opinion

Well, for my first comment I'll just say that the more you make"Rules" for this series the worse its gonna be. The powers that be should come to an agreement for a set of strict "guidelines" and let all the teams "go for it" The more restrictions you put down...results in a parade ie; No Racing!

The simple fix should be:

tell suzuki to run a satellite team with 2 extra bikes , and then if they agree to do that next year, THEN allow then the extra engines

I did some looking around and Leon Haslam was almost as fast on the Alstare SBK at assen than the MGP bikes were with the bridgestone tyres and the lighter weight.

Wasnt it Kevin Schwantz who asked Suzuki a few years ago if he could have one of the development GSRVs to do work on for a month to see if he could iron out some of their problems and Suzuki turned him down?

I said it last night when I read this on MCN. I said it again in the comments on the Lorenzo's engines article here. And, I'll say it to his face if I bump into Carmelo at Misano.

Perhaps just changing the penalty rule for everyone in the paddock to the back of the grid would be more fair and still maintain the overall spectacle. All those with +6 engines compete for their slots against each other, automatically starting behind those with 6 or less engines.

Plus you lose a point for that race for every engine you are over 6. On your seventh engine, you start the race with -1 points, finish 15th, you get 0, and so on...

Perfect? Certainly not, but at least the rule is the same for everyone.

^ Not a bad idea at all, and something like that should probably be adopted next year if this rule still exists. But think of all the money sunk into these bikes by other manufacturers w the idea of avoiding at all costs going over the engine limit. If they were to make an "official" rule change 8 races in, that would be the biggest slap in the face to every manufacturer who made a real attempt at complying.

I think thats a great idea. Maybe make the points penalty higher, but automatic last place start is good. With so few bike on the grid anyway maybe they could move extra engine riders ALL the way back on the grid. Maybe the points lost per engine could grow. You lose 1 point for the first engine over allocation 2 points for the second etc. etc. I'm not a huge Lorenzo fan but it would be an outright shame if the rules prevented him from a championship

Go back to 2006, it was fun and fair like that ,everybody had plenty of power and engines ,everybody won once in a while...if it wasn't broke why they "fixed" it?

Remember! Everyone crashing all the time and getting hurt! Not like today with all the electronics and these super safe 800cc bikes. No one crashes anymore and breaks legs... oh...wait...

I hope someone from Suzuki is monitoring this site.
Almost every comment on this article is critical, no, pissed off, at the unfair advantage Suzuki has engineered for itself in regard to the engine limit rule.
Shame, shame, shame on Suzuki for bringing such a disgraceful effort to the MotoGP championship!
It seems that the ONLY reason Suzuki is in MotoGP is fear of what Dorna might do to them if they left. Japanese culture must be changing because with as much "losing face" as Suzuki has done the streets of Hamamatsu should run red.
I've ridden for over forty years on the street and track, often on Suzukis, but now I would not buy one, not after this.

Suzuki are obviously struggling, but I'm sure Suzuki are more pissed than most that they can't invest in their racing more heavily. I'm sure they aren't laughing to themselves that they are getting extra engines and preferential treatment. They can see as well as we can that it makes them look weak.
It's a true shame that a brand as big as Suzuki are struggling to compete with their peers in MotoGP. That they already need extra engines when you consider their lacklustre standing in the series suggests they have serious problems with funding R&D. They have what amounts to unreliable, uncompetitive motorcycles...They can't win on them and they are blowing them up trying!!
If as is stated in the article, that all the manufacturers were aware and had an unwritten agreement that Suzuki would get this support if they needed it is true, then the blame should lie squarely with the MSMA who implemented these ridiculous rules and double standards.
This does nothing for Suzuki at all. They still aren't going to win anything in MotoGP and now they have been made to look like the little baby who needs it's nappy changed whilst the big boys play outside in the park. It's adding insult to injury really.
If Suzuki is allowed to finish the season then they should not be allowed to gain from this rule bending, nor should any other team lose out by it. How that can be achieved is another matter, but it is a problem that the MSMA need to sort out as they got themselves into this mess.

What is really hurting Suzuki is the lack of a sponsor with money. Without big money to toss away you can't build engines that last twice as long. I'm sure Rizla couldn't drop 20 million E to achieve first place status.

Personally, I wouldn't have given them the 3 engines. Starting at the back of the grid and pit lane is the kick in the pants they front of the whole world. And it won't make them into contenders so I'm doubly baffled as to why it will be done. They are going to use more engines regardless and never have a chance at winning so what difference is this going to make at all? If they finish last or 12th big deal it won't affect the outcome of the championship a bit but it lets them off the shame train and that is what I really don't like.

I think the whole point of the three engines for Suzuki is not to improve their chances of winning or even their finishing position. It is purely to keep them within MotoGP until the end of the season. They cannot afford a name as big as Suzuki to walk away from the 'Premier Class' of racing. It weakens the series as a whole and its appeal to potential sponsors.
Suzuki may not be performing well enough to warrant inclusion in MotoGP, but they are still one of the biggest names in motorcyling and have a long racing heritage. MotoGP's image is not great at the moment with either fans or sponsors. They need Suzuki in the series to try and maintain some form of credibility.
The problem is that Suzuki don't seem to have their heart in it anymore for whatever reason and that could end up hurting the series just as much as if they weren't in it at all!

It's not whether they will use extra engines or not that is a given. It's whether they are penalized for it. Penalized or not they will still finish last in constructors and completely out of contention. Delaying the inevitable is always a faulty position IMO. And, I'll need a new handle if they go...