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The 125 Grand Prix class becomes the 250cc four-stroke Moto3 class in 2012

by JohnNicholas on 08/27/2010

MotoGPís new rule change eliminates two-stroke Grand Prix road racing with the announcement that in 2012, the 125cc class will use 250cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engines (with a maximum bore of 81mm). Tentatively to be called Moto 3.

According to the Moto Matters web site;

The good news in that announcement is that the Grand Prix Commission is thinking seriously about how to prevent the class once again being dominated by a single manufacturer charging monopoly prices to selected teams for the best bikesÖ. The bad news is that as they stand, the suggested solutions are so woefully inadequate for their intended aim that they more likely to encourage manipulation rather than reduce it.

There is good reason to believe that there will be many more than three manufacturers wishing to supply engines to the Moto3 grid: I have personally been approached by two separate manufacturers currently working on a Moto3 engine, and I know of at least one other project currently underway. And these are new projects being set up by manufacturers not involved in MotoGP at the moment: As the current crop of Japanese manufacturers all already have experience building 250cc single-cylinder four-stroke motocross engines, there is every reason to believe that at least one, and probably two or three, will also start building a Moto3 engine.

MotoGPís Technical Director Mike Webb explains that at the start of every season, the team managers drop by his office one by one and apologize for what they are about to inflict upon him, deliberately seeking out the boundaries of the rules as they stand. As we have discussed here before, the more rules that are drawn up, the more loopholes there are to slip through. Rules merely produce cheating at an exponential rate.

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Former World Champion Wayne Gardner had this to say;

The confirmation that the 125cc grand prix class is set to become obsolete is a very sad development. For decades itís been a great breeding ground for future talent and has produced many amazing champions.

Ö considering the class is going to be replaced by a 250cc four-stroke category. Slower, heavier and with less horsepower than the two-strokes theyíll be replacing, these new machines will also be a lot easier to ride, and this is my big problem. Like it or not, four-strokes do not promote or necessitate the development of rider precision. Skills like sharp throttle control and sensitive line selection are no longer as important because four-strokes lower the bar as far as accuracy is concerned.

Put simply, you can be less refined and still succeed. Ö. As a result, the riders that come up through the system will not be as good as the current generation, simply because they donít need to be. Is this really the way we want to go? I just donít know.

Now, I understand the move to four-strokes is partly about bringing costs down, but Iím not sure how this is going to happen. Afterall, you canít get much cheaper or simpler than a 125cc GP bike. Make no mistake, four-strokes are not cheap, and you can bet that the costs of this new class will definitely rise.

After all the expense and drama of the four-stroke MotoGP experiment, I wouldnít be all surprised to see the two-strokes make a triumphant return to the world championship arena one day. In fact, Iíll put money on it. The signs are already there.

Whichever way you cut it, the two-stroke is an ingenious design Ė light, simple, and the ability to produce a lot of power per capacity. And theyíre cheap to run and easy to maintain.

If governing bodies are really serious about saving costs and running a sustainable race series, they may just have to go back to the future. I really believe the two-stroke will make a comeback and I canít wait for the great sound of that high-pitched scream. I donít know when it will happen, exactly, but you read it here first.

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Here is another case of the Sanctioning body of a racing organization setting up rules that in the long run will be damaging to motorcycle racing sports as a whole.

Make your voice heard.