When the announcement was made that Moto2 would be single engine class, the accompanying press release stated boldly that the engines would produce in the region of 150 horsepower. This seemed an entirely reasonable and achievable figure, given that the top flight World Supersport 600s, such as those prepared by Ten Kate Honda or by Chris Mehew for the Parkalgar Honda team produce something very close to that number. So HRC's engineers disappeared into the dyno room with a pile of CBR600RR engines and bunch of ideas to get them producing horsepower.
Rumors floating around the Moto2 paddock suggest that Honda's engineers - normally no slouches when it comes to extracting power from four-stroke engines - emerged from the dyno room carrying not a powerful 600 cc engine, but rather the remains of several engines which had died in the attempt to find that horsepower. And so HRC switched tack, and went for reliability instead, cutting horsepower but ensuring that the engines will last reliably for the three race weekends they are expected to have to cope with.
The outcome of that process is that the Honda Moto2 engines, due to be delivered to the teams on February 27th, will produce around 125hp, according to both the Italian media and several sources inside the paddock. A far cry from the 150bhp promised, but given that the horsepower figures will be the same for everyone, not much of a problem. The engines will have the durability to last before being returned to Geo Engineering, the Swiss firm charged with maintaining the Moto2 engines.
To put those horsepower figures into perspective, while the Ten Kates, Parkalgars and last year's Yamaha R6s of this world produce the best part of 150 horsepower, even the relatively underpowered and extremely underfunded Suzuki GSX-R 600 of Barry Veneman produced north of 140 bhp, and a well setup Superstock machine will kick out over 125 horses. But the World Supersport engines are taken away and fettled after every race, and a Superstock engine would also require attention several times a season to keep it at its best. Honda's 125bhp should produce the same power throughout its life between maintenance intervals, keeping the teams on a level playing field. And that, after all, was the point.