Suter Introduces 2012 MotoGP Bike - But Will It Be Much Cheaper Than A Satellite Machine

The upcoming changes to MotoGP in 2012 have the chance to revolutionize the class. The switch to 1000cc, along with the introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams, who will be allowed extra fuel and engines and to use production-based engines in prototype chassis, should shake up the grid considerably. 

Today at Misano, Eskil Suter introduced the bike he intends to supply after the 2012 MotoGP regulations come into effect. The machine is based loosely on Suter's MMX Moto2 machine, the chassis able to use roughly the same dimensions as the BMW S1000RR engine is very close to the same size as the Honda CBR600 mill being used in the Moto2 bikes. In its current state (basically Superstock trim), the engine already pumps out 210 horsepower, but Suter believes there is plenty more to come. The BMW engine was selected precisely because it was both extremely compact (almost the same physical size as the CBR600) and because the company believes the S1000RR motor has the most unrealized potential of the current crop of liter bike engines. In its current state, the bike displayed at Misano weighs just 145kg, some 8kg under the required minimum weight, giving a lot of options for altering the weight distribution of the bike.

The model presented at Misano forms the basis of Suter's development program. The Swiss firm and its eponymous director have partnered with the organization behind the Marc VDS Racing team currently fielding Scott Redding on a Suter MMX machine in Moto2, and have engaged Spanish CEV racer Carmelo Morales to help develop the bike. The cooperation is aimed at putting a Suter MotoGP bike on the grid in 2012, and if fruitful, could see the Marc VDS team race the bike while working with Suter to develop the machine. Whether this will be admitted as a CRT entry is yet to be seen; if not, the team will be entered as a factory prototype, giving up the three extra liters of fuel and 3 extra engines.

Suter estimated that the price for a MotoGP chassis would be between 350,000 and 600,000 euros. That includes the chassis, the aerodynamics package and running gear (wheels, suspension, etc), as well as sufficient spares to get through the season, the higher price quoted being to cover prolific crashers. The price includes enough equipment to field a single rider with two MotoGP bikes, as is currently common practice.

What the price does not include is an engine and, more importantly, all the electronics to control the engine. Engine costs are likely to be at least 100,000 euros, and probably double or even triple that if the motor is to be competitive. Electronics will add another sizable chunk, likely to be upwards of 200,000 euros, despite Suter's claims that the 1000cc bikes will have more torque and therefore require fewer electronic aids.

And so a full CRT MotoGP bike will cost at least 600,000, and more likely, well over a million euros a year, with no guarantees of being competitive. For between 20 and 50% more, teams could try to persuade a manufacturer to supply a satellite bike, which would at least give the team a fair shot at the top 5, under the right circumstances. If the teams are in this to be competitive, the costs saved by running as a CRT team look to be fairly minimal, at this point in time.

Throughout the negotiations to change the 2012 regulations and allow CRT teams to run in MotoGP, the aim has been to radically cut costs. Herve Poncharal has repeatedly told that the aim of the Grand Prix Commission is to cut the required equipment costs by half. Judging by the cost of the first candidate for MotoGP CRT status, that aim is still a very long way away.

With electronics likely to continue to play an important role in MotoGP after the return of the 1000cc bikes, the dream of a considerably cheaper series still seems a very long way away. The problem, as the phrase currently popular in the paddock has it, is that you can't uninvent the atom bomb. MotoGP went nuclear with the switch to 800cc, and that doesn't look likely to change any time soon.

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Good to see some options coming out of the shadows.

True, they cannot un-invent the bomb, but it can be legislated against...just like the real bomb.

What does SuperStock trim on a BMW engine mean as far as engine life?

"The BMW engine was selected precisely because ......the company believes the S1000RR motor has the most unrealized potential of the current crop of liter bike engines."

What makes them think that? It's not even as fast as the Aprilia in WSBK. ;-) The truth is about to be set free.

WCM was banned in 2003 when the MSMA rulebook was in place. In 2004, WSBK got new rules courtesy of the Flamminis and the SBK commission. The entirety of the 2004 regulations have never been made public, but if the Flamminis challenge this bike, the light of day will be shined on their series. The public will know what the Flamminis do not want them to know and what the FIM do not really care to tell anyone.

A competent tuner will be able to extract another 30hp out of the S1000RR engine, and people will begin asking why the SBK version is so painfully slow.

I shouldn't get my hopes up b/c the truth never escapes, but this is the closest it's ever been b/c I believe Dorna are using it as a weapon. Hurry up, 2012!!!!

Aprilia has years and years of experience using the Magneti Marelli systems and a ton of data. BMW is in their second year using a custom Bosch system with only the F1 data to go on. And car engines are a totally different beast to bike engines. 

The WCM debacle raises its head again. So we have Suter planning a BMW or at least a BMW based engine and Flammini making veiled threats that using an engine as a start point that is homologated for use in WSB will result in law suits. With the WCM precedent that you may start with a WSB engine but then you have to remake all the major components and at the very least every crankcase, cylinder block, crank, rods and probably the entire gearbox.

The chassis costs and electronics package costs are all irrelevant if they're joined by huge engine costs that are the inevitable result of having to have a "prototype" engine that will get past Flammini.

I can't see how Dorna, and Suter get round this one, but presumably they think they can.

We've been all over this many times. So is that what it boils down to?
Flammini: You can't use an engine from an SBK homologated bike (because of some secret agreement I have with the FIM)
MotoGP (Whichever organisation is making the press release) : Yes you can.

I guess this also affects the future of Moto2. When the spec engine agreement finishes will it let them bring in all the 600ss manufacturers and kill off WSS?

Here's what it boils down to:
Flammini: You can't use an engine from a homologated bike because of our contract with the FIM.
The FIM: Yes you can, it doesn't say that in the contract, it only says you can't use a homologated bike.

Game, set and match to the FIM. Until the FIM changes its mind. 

To understand why Dorna believe GP can use production engines, refer to Ezy's cryptic remark that everything boils down to homologation. To understand what Ezy meant, you must understand what the FIM homologate for WSBK. Information about homologated criteria is not easy to find, but if you look hard enough, you will find the tidbit of information that Ezy is referring to, but will not mention explicitly.

This homologation procedure will not apply to GP bikes; therefore, by Dorna's reasoning, the engine is no longer production regardless of how stock it may be.

Confused? Don't worry, it will all become clear very soon. The Flamminis will almost certainly challenge, and when they do, the cat will be let out of the bag. I'm going to get an extra large bucket of popcorn for this one.

If you really must know I can spoil it for you.

What market forces influence the prices of the electronics packages? The chassis from the Moto2 producers and engine builders from just about every corner of the earth seem to be up to the task of keeping prices in check for some of it. But what governs the cost of electronics packages? The hardware shouldn't break the bank. So is it the intellectual property rights? Can that be protected as a trade secret?

The price is going to primarily be tuning and there is nothing that market forces can do about that one (well, I guess a crushing economic collapse that forces technicians to be willing to work for pennies).

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I believe it's personnel that breaks the bank. The hardware isn't cheap b/c it's highly specialized, hence, everyone chooses MM, but I think the cost of maintaining 2 or 3 data techs for every bike is not cheap. You gotta feed them, lodge them, and fly them all over the world. The factories don't miss the millions, but it kills the small teams. Even after the small teams staff data techs, they still require some factory assistance. I believe this is part of the satellite lease contract, but it's still electronics expense.

Imo, those expenses won't disappear for CRT teams, but the cost of the bikes should be considerably less, and they actually own the equipment.

Conceptually at least, the electronic and much of the hardware could be used the following season or sold to newer teams and that is a longer term benefit of the CRT rules. However, the costs that are out of control are the brains that make all the parts competitive.

This is not a hardware problem, it is a software problem. Although Suter is establishing a hardware problem as a starting price.

What I would like to know is, what is included in that cost? It seems to be a lot of support making up the total rather than frames themselves.

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I read somewhere that the Virgin F1 team is cutting travel costs by setting up a central Data Analysis HQ center. Sure, some Data-people still have to travel with the F1 team (to be onsite), but now....some of them can stay home (back at HQ) and do their jobs without all the travel costs...but still communicate in real-time (through better application of IT technologies, rather than the brute-force of everyone joining the "F1 Traveling Circus" :-)

Making power is easy, controlling it is another thing altogether. That is why the electronics are so vital. To the writer who mentions the perceived lack of speed from the WSBK team, their problem isn't power but making it work. Hence electronics.

I firmly believe that the only reason that Dorna is treading this path is to reduce the influence of the factories. Currently their entire series is predicated around the participation of the factory teams and their ability or willingness to supply satellite teams. If any of the current factory efforts were to reduce their satellite operations then the current Motogp championship would become a farce.

I think it is interesting that mulit-billion (with a 'b') dollar entities like Kawasaki and Suzuki have, or are about to, pull out of MotoGP because they don't compete well in the premier class. That the other giants, Yamaha and Honda put the money and effort into their MotoGP programs speaks volumes for where there heart is at as corporation. Ducati, which is around a $200M company, is fully committed and is a peanut compared to these other factory teams. But Ducati, Yamaha and Honda are all there ... helping to provide our fan base with this level of racing.

Technology from the highest end of racing competition eventually filters down to the street bikes and, of course, helps in sales. I think it is sad that Suzuki and Kawasaki don't have the heart and soul (and business acumen in this case) to field competitive bikes ... it would strengthen the grid and make for more exciting racing overall.

Let's hope the path of CRT bikes lessens the cost for non-factory bikes and improves the racing grid!

Honda's pile of gold shows where their heart lies? Please excuse me while I vomit.

The MSMA, an organization dominated by Honda, writes the rules. Ergo Honda write the rules they think will help them win, and Honda decide which technologies are pertinent based upon what they want to develop. For all we know, they could be getting fuel efficiency data for their fleet of subcompact city cages.

The withdrawal of other manufacturers is a testimony to Honda's stupidity, and their ability to suck the fun out of the world's most epically pointless motorsport. MotoGP is so fundamentally without purpose, that it boggles the mind, thus stimulating every good irrational impulse that human beings have. Leave it to Big Red to assign MotoGP a purpose by writing rules to force everyone into developing partial throttle fuel efficiency and engine durability.

I'm back on the I-hate-Honda train. I'm sure Soichiro is turning in his grave at the sight of these corporate shills. Racing is to make your company look badass (with a "b") not eco-friendly or practical. What, HRC? You're all going out for drinks b/c you found a .5% fuel efficiency improvement at 35% throttle? May the racing gods have mercy on your souls.

We are starving! We need epic racing and bigger grids! Let us eat fuel efficiency data and engine charts? To the guillotine!! Long live the Motorsports Republic!

This revolution will end well, I promise. :-D

600k Euro's for a rolling chasis ??? Geezzz. That is just plain ole stupid. I dont care how many spares you get.

Rumor control mill has it that a factory satellite bike cost 2.5 million dollars to lease.

We see how many Bimoto's are in Moto2 with their rumor contolled 350k rolling chasis price tag.

The factory's need to sell the bikes out right to qualified teams and let the go-go aftermarket and performance guys have at it.

Guess it is not bad enough that we have the Manufacturers Association killing MotoGP. Now we have to have a chassis builder try and set the stage for unwarranted, outrageous price tags for a rolling chassis.

I guess in MotoGP "GREED IS GOOD" !!!!!!

Sad and pitiful. Hopefully Valentino Rossi and other riders will chime in and put an end to this stupid use of electronics, fly by wire, gps contolled mapping crap out of racing.

Oh yeah they say it is where it is at. Yeah where they are trying to keep a strangle hold on the premiere motorcycle racing series in the bean counting, money grubbing, idiots who are ruining it.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Suter is an idiot, but the price of this bike, if it is indeed 600k, is not terribly attractive. Do remember that Suter must pay the piper, though. He can't just buy a BMW engine for 5 grand and bolt it to the chassis b/c he needs to buy a license from BMW for resale.

Perhaps it is BMW who are being idiots about licensing?

If BMW are indeed the culprits of price gouging (if any gouging exists), competition will be the only way to reduce price. The Aprilia RSV and Yamaha R1 engines would make decent CRT engines as well. Even though they lack a bit of top end compared to the BMW, they both have a big bang firing order to improve tractability.

What i find surprising is that Suzuki motorbikes TV ads are all over the planet and it visibly must cost me a FORTUNE but yet they only have two bikes there and no satellites. How do they sell their "lie" to Dorna ?

Suzuki doesn't really need Dorna (or MotoGP), but Dorna sure needs Suzuki. To qualify as a world championship (under FIM regs) there is a minimum number of entrants required. The series currently is right at that minimum level.

Without world championship status, selling the tv rights would become a big problem for Dorna. And it's the tv rights that keep the bucks rolling in.

So, Suzuki just has to show up to have Dorna bending over backwards for them.

PS - I'm surprised at the cost of the Suter bike too

PPS - I also had a laugh at the comment about the BMW being so slow : )

I thought I'd read that the electronics to be used on the 1000s were to be simplified with the aim of reducing costs and increasing rider input thereby showing the fan what a good rider can do, as oposed to how clever the electronics are. Do we really need launch control, anti-wheelie, traction control, computor controled forks/dampers/clutches/dive/squat, brakes etc., etc? I've got nothing against an engine management system that looks after the fueling, ignition timing, detonation control, etc., and a basic data-logging system the like of which we can buy online for adaption to cars/bikes/karts, etc., (and have only 1 analist to interperate the info.), with perhaps 2 or 3 different maps selectable by the rider, but all this other stuf is just a bit over the top! Both technically and cost-wise!
Wadya rekon?

Oh yeah, I forgot about "fly by wire, and GPS mapping" and there's probably heaps of other electronic trickery I don't know about as well.
F1 uses a control ECU and the idea seems to work.

The teams, the riders and Dorna all want to reduce the electronics. The manufacturers don't. The manufacturers like the electronics as it gives them a lot of data they can use for road bikes. Currently, the manufacturers are responsible for drawing up the technical regulations, but their monopoly ends when the current contract is up at the end of the 2011 season.

I like the painfully slow comment in reference to the BMW engine, that's a riot!!

Unless the powers to be reduce the cost of going MotoGP racing it is going to remain in peril.

Ask the riders if they want all this stuff. I would venture to say most would opt out of having a computer control their motorcycles.

If Dorna does not address limiting the electronics involved they will accomplish nothing.

Unfortunatley the heavy hand of the Manufacturers Association will more than likely nuter any real limitation to big factory dollars continuing to rule MotoGP.

Until of course they get to the point of no return.