With just over a month to go until the Moto3 class replaces the 125cc two-strokes, the Grand Prix Commission has finalized the technical regulations governing the Moto3 class - with one or two relatively minor exceptions.
The rules (reproduced in their entirety below) reaffirm that the Moto3 machines must be a prototype chassis containing a 250cc normally-aspirated four-stroke single, with a maximum bore of 81mm, a spec Dell'Orto ECU, a rev limit of 14,000 rpm, and with no variable valve timing or variable inlet or exhaust tract length, including the use of EXUP-style valves in the exhaust. Throttles must be cable-operated directly by the rider, with no electronics to assist with throttle butterfly opening, though electronic assistance is allowed for helping with engine braking. Only standard gearboxes will be allowed (i.e. no seamless shift systems), and only two ratios per gear are allowed, to be selected at the start of the season.
Most of the detail of the regulations, however, have to do with the cost of the engines. As had been previously announced, a whole raft of rules have been introduced to ensure that engine costs will not spiral out of control. The most prominent of those is a price control, the rules stipulating that an engine (defined as the engine, one complete gearbox, and the throttle bodies and intake system) may cost a maximum of 12,000 euros, and manufacturers have to be prepared to sell engines to a minimum of 15 riders in a season. Manufacturers must submit a price list of spares for the engines, and the cost of all the spares needed to build a single engine must not exceed the price of a complete engine.
The rules also contain explicit constraints on both manufacturer and aftermarket tuning kits: though such kits and parts are allowed, they will only be given approval if the individual parts cost the same as the parts from the same engine. It will not be possible for manufacturers to offer a 12,000 euro engine and a 100,000 performance kit, as many had feared would be the case. Nor will it be possible for aftermarkets part makers to sell tuning kits at exorbitant prices. If a standard camshaft for a Honda NSF250R costs 500 euros, then anyone producing an improved version of the camshaft must sell that at 500 euros as well. Replacement crankcases, cylinders or cylinder heads are explicitly not allowed, and only stock items will be permitted.
The only exception to the parts list is the slipper clutch. Aftermarket slipper clutch systems are allowed, and they are allowed to cost twice as much as the standard system. But they, too, must be submitted for approval first, and like the engines any parts - both from the manufacturers and from the aftermarkets parts suppliers - the producers must be prepared to supply identical parts to 15 riders during the season. When parts are available, they must be made available to everyone who wants them at the same time, meaning no team will be able to negotiate special treatment and early access to upgraded parts.
Though tuning kits are subject to keen restrictions, the teams themselves may attempt to tune the engines. Though parts may only be replaced by other approved parts, the rules allow for engine internals to be modified by machining, meaning that parts may be lightened, and intake and outtake ports may be polished or port-flowed.
As in Moto2 and MotoGP, restrictions have been introduced on engine use. All engines will be sealed by MotoGP's technical inspector, with a maximum of 8 engines allowed per rider for a season. In effect, each engine must last for 2 races, with one engine required to do a little more mileage to complete the last of the 17 rounds which Moto3 will compete in next year.
One of the most significant additions is the introduction of a claiming rule, allowing any team to claim the engine of another team for 12,000 euros. The rule is similar to one introduced into MotoGP for the Claiming Rule Teams, and like that rule, the details remain to be worked out completely. The fact that the details have not yet been worked out could be an omen of trouble to come, with the claiming rule in MotoGP still causing problems between the teams and the factories, though the claiming price is much easier to determine for the Moto3 teams.
What is clear from the above is the lengths to which the Grand Prix Commission - or more specifically, Dorna and IRTA, as the two parties most directly involved - have gone to ensure that costs can be kept down in the new class. The restrictions on tuning kits from both the manufacturers and third party aftermarket suppliers were one area of particular concern, with many paddock insiders seeing this as a way of circumventing the engine cost rules. The only tuning option left open is work done by the team itself. Teams without an expert in four-stroke engine preparation my feel forced to go out and hire one, or at least send their engines to specialist tuners to have the engines ported and flowed.
Though the Moto3 rules may make the new class cheaper to enter, it would be foolish to expect that being competitive in the new class will be much cheaper than the 125cc class is currently. There are no restrictions on cost of the chassis, with teams free to spend as much as they wish there. The Moto2 class provides a prime example of how that works, with the class being led by Marc Marquez and the Catalunya Caixa team. The resources being poured into Marquez' team are not far off the amount required to run a satellite MotoGP team, and probably in the region of three times what the mid-pack teams are spending.
So it will be a safe bet that the Aspar, BQR and Ajo teams will be dominating the Moto3 class in the same way they have dominated the 125 classes. The top teams will be able to attract the top talent, afford the best all-round bike package and employ the best mechanics and crew chiefs to run the bikes. They will be able to afford the most testing, the best engine tuners to get the most out of the engines, and the best electronics people to produce the best software maps and traction control strategies (the spec Dell'Orto ECU allows traction control, though only in limited form). The best riders will be on the best bikes, with the best setup, and the most rideable engines.
Of course, only needing to spend 12,000 euros on engines will free up a huge amount of cash to spend elsewhere, and riders, crew chiefs, electronics gurus and mechanics can look forward to pay rises as the market value of their skills rise due to engine costs being limited. Cost cutting in racing remains an illusion, with teams prepared to spend as much money as they can persuade their sponsors to give them. The teams will always manage to find somewhere to spend money, and the most successful teams will continue to be the richest.
Below is the official press release announcing the Moto3 regulations from the FIM:
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission
The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Hervé Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and M. Paul Butler (Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 02 in Motegi (Japan), unanimously decided the following:
|1.1||4-stroke reciprocating piston engines only.|
|1.2||Engine capacity: maximum 250cc.|
|1.3||Single cylinder only.|
|1.4||Maximum bore size: 81mm. Oval pistons are not permitted (refer to Art. 2.3.1 of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations).|
|1.5||Engines must be normally aspirated. No turbo-charging, no super-charging.|
|1.6||Crankshaft speed limited to maximum: 14,000 rpm.*|
|1.7||Maximum of 1 ignition driver.*|
|1.8||Pneumatic and/or hydraulic valve systems are not permitted.|
|1.9||Valve timing system drive must be by one chain. An intermediate drive gear which rotates on only one axle or rotation centre is allowed in the system (refer to ANNEX1 for some examples of permitted systems).|
|1.10||Variable valve timing and/or variable valve lift systems are not permitted.|
|1.11||The engine is defined as the complete engine including intake system (throttle body, injectors), and one complete transmission.|
The maximum price of the engine must not exceed 12,000 Euros. No optional parts or service contracts may be used to circumvent this price limit.
Each engine manufacturer must undertake to supply sufficient engines and spare parts to supply 15 riders per season, if requested, and is responsible that the same amount of tuning kits (if any, see 1.12) are available, regardless where the tuning kit comes from.
Each engine manufacturer must submit a price and lead-time list of all the parts of the engine as defined in 1.11 and 1.12 (which are considered the “stock” parts) for the season for approval by the Organiser and may not charge more than these published prices. Approval is based on the prices and lead-times being in line with current market norms for these parts and technologies.
|1.15||In the event of engine updates or upgraded parts being developed, these must be made available to all customers at the same time, and respecting the price limits described in Art. 1.14.|
|Initial Mapping and Set Up Procedure|
The official ECU start-up procedure is to ensure manufacturers will be supplied with the official ECU with an initial map to suit their engine in time for the first official Moto3 tests. The initial map is intended for safe and trouble-free engine function, and not maximum performance. Performance mapping is the responsibility of the engine manufacturer or the Team.
For an engine to be eligible for the Moto3 class, one of the following two options for the ECU start-up procedure must be followed:
1. Manufacturers will be guaranteed supply of the official ECU with initial maps to suit their engine in time for the first official Moto3 tests provided that, by October 15th of the preceeding year:
2. Manufacturers can make an agreement with the ECU supplier to carry out their own initial mapping, with the following conditions:
|2. Inlet, Fuel System & Lubricant|
|2.1||Variable-length inlet tract systems are not permitted.|
Only one throttle control valve is permitted to control the power demand by the rider, which must be controlled exclusively by mechanical means (eg. cable) operated by the rider only. No other powered moving devices (except injectors and the idle control air bypass) are permitted in the inlet tract before the engine intake valve. No interruption of the mechanical connection between the rider’s input and the throttle is allowed.
Idle speed (including engine braking) adjustment by means of an air bypass system, controlled by the ECU is allowed (see also 5.4).* The maximum size of such air bypass is 12mm equivalent diameter, control systems may include a butterfly-type control valve.
|2.3||Fuel injectors must be located upstream of the engine intake valves.|
|2.4||Maximum of 2 fuel injectors and 2 independent fuel injector drivers.*|
|2.5||Relative fuel pressure must not exceed 5.0 bar.|
|2.6||Other than engine sump breather gases, only air or air/fuel mixture is permitted in the inlet tract and combustion chamber.|
|2.7||Only fuel from the official supplier may be used, which must comply with the FIM “Moto3” specification (TBA).|
|2.8||Only engine lubricating oil from the official supplier may be used (specifications TBA).|
|3. Exhaust system|
|3.1||Variable length exhaust systems are not permitted.|
|3.2||No moving parts (e.g. valves, baffles) are allowed in the exhaust system.|
|3.3||Noise tests will be according to Article 2.14 of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations. Test rpm: 5,500. Maximum permitted noise level: 115 dB/A.|
|4.1||A maximum of 6 gearbox speeds is permitted.|
A maximum of 2 possible gear ratios for each gearbox speed, and 2 possible ratios for the primary drive gear is permitted. Teams will be required to declare the two gearbox ratios chosen for each gear at the beginning of the season, and only these ratios may be used during the entire season.
The alternate gearbox ratios and primary gears must have the same list price and lead-times as the original supplied gearbox (see Art. 1.11 to 1.15).
|4.3||Gearbox systems must be of the conventional type. That is: constant-mesh with engagement dogs as an integral part of the gear, actuated by shift forks and shift cam or drum, with only one set of gears engaging at one time. So-called “seamless shift” transmissions (also known as Automated Manual Transmission, Instantaneous Gearchange System) are not permitted.|
|4.4||Electro-mechanical or electro-hydraulic clutch actuating systems are not permitted.|
|5. Ignition, Electronics & Data-Logging|
a) Only the ignition/fuel injection control units (ECU) approved by the series Organiser are allowed. This ECU must remain unmodified in hardware and software, as delivered by the Organiser.
b) During Moto3 race events only the official “Race” version of ECU software supplied by the ECU manufacturer may be used to write to (flash) the ECU. The only permitted changes are the setting (tuning) options included in this software.
c) The Technical Director may require the team to change the ECU on any machine for another standard one at any time.
|5.2||This official ECU will include an engine rpm limiter.|
This official ECU will include an inboard data logger, and no other additional data loggers may be used.
The datalogger download connector must be of the standard type as detailed in Annex 5 (see Compulsory engine management features).
Data analysis software is not controlled.
Recommended engine management and electronics features:
- dashboard: Dell’Orto part # 16001, see ANNEX 4,
- idle speed control stepper motor (ref. 2.2): Dell’Orto part # 17258, see ANNEX 4,
- UEGO (O2) sensor: Bosch LSU 4.9,
- Knock sensor: Bosch or NGK piezo-ceramic
- two timing options:
Compulsory engine management features:
- ignition must be of the inductive type, the maximum ignition coil current must be less than 30A,
- the throttle position sensor voltage output must be 0-5V,
- the crankshaft pickup sensor must be of the inductive type, voltage at 300rpm must be at least 0,8V and maximum voltage must be less than 100V,
- the camshaft pickup sensor, if any (see timing option no. 2 in 5.4), must be of the Hall-effect type, “0” voltage must be less than 0,5V, “1” voltage must be 4,5±0,5V,
- a battery is compulsory; proper engine management function is ensured only when the battery voltage is in the 8÷18V range.
- the datalogger download connector on the harness must be of the Lemo PEN.1F.308.XLM type, connected as detailed in Annex 5.
|* All the parameters identified by this symbol are set/controlled via the above mentioned ECU.|
|Refer to ANNEX 2 & 2A in the appendix for ECU dimensions, connector and pinout.|
|6.1||Chassis must be a prototype, the design and construction of which is free within the constraints of the FIM Grand Prix Technical Regulations.|
|6.2||Minimum total weight of Motorcycle + Rider: 148kg|
|6.3||Brake discs must be made from ferrous materials.|
|6.4||Suspension systems must be of a conventional, mechanical type. Active and semi-active suspension systems and/or electronic control of any aspect of the suspension and ride height is not permitted. Springing must be by means of coil springs made of ferrous materials.|
|6.5||Referring to Article 22.214.171.124 of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations, the lower fairing minimum capacity to retain spilled engine fluids is 2.5 litres for Moto3.|
|7. Wheels & Tyres|
|7.1||The materials permitted for wheel construction are Magnesium and Aluminium alloys.|
The only permitted wheel rim sizes are:
|7.3||The number and specification of tyres allocated to each rider per event will be controlled.|
|7.4||Only tyres from the official supplier may be used.|
|8. Materials & Construction|
|8.1||Construction materials must comply with Article 2.7.10 of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations.|
|8.2||Camshafts, crankshafts, piston pins must be made from ferrous materials. Inserts of a different material are allowed in the crankshaft for the sole purpose of balancing.|
|8.3||Engine crankcases, cylinder blocks and cylinder heads must be made from cast aluminium alloys.|
|8.4||Pistons must be made from an aluminium alloy.|
|8.5||Connecting rods, valves and valve springs must be made from either ferrous or Titanium-based alloys.|
“X-based alloy” or “X materials” means the element X (e.g. Fe, for ferrous or iron-based alloy) must be the most abundant element in the alloy, on a % w/w basis.
|9.1||Number of machines: the team can present only one motorcycle per rider for technical control. Replacement motorcycles may only be used subject to Article 1.15.3 of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations|
|9.2||Number of engines: a maximum of 8 engines per rider may be used during all Grand Prix race events comprising the season. A rebuilt engine will be counted as a new engine (see Art. 9.4).|
|9.3||Teams will be required to register engines at Technical Control on the day before the first practice at each event. Such registered engines will be sealed and seals may not be removed except under supervision of the Technical Director and staff. Only sealed and registered engines may be used on track at Grand Prix race events. An engine presented for Technical Control or used on track without intact security seals will be counted as a new engine.|
1) Engine seals: The engines will be sealed by means of wiring and identification tabs and/or other systems, so that major components (including but not limited to: crankshaft and it’s bearings, conrod and it’s bearings, piston, piston rings and piston pin, valves and their springs, camshafts) can not be replaced. Sealing positions must be approved by the Technical Director so that:
3) As an exception to the above, it will be possible for the 2012 season to break the seals if the following conditions apply:
|9.5||Apart from the above regulations, all other construction criteria, dimensions and specifications are as per the FIM Grand Prix Regulations.|