Honda is to continue to supply engines for the Moto2 class. Dorna announced today that they had reached agreement with Honda Motor Company to provide engines for the intermediate class for three more seasons, from 2013 through 2015.
Maintenance of the engines has been switched, however. The Swiss-based company Geo Tech Engineering lost the contract for maintenance on the spec engines, which has now shifted to ExternPro, an engineering firm based at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
The extension of the single-engine deal means a switch away from a spec engine rule in Moto2 is unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future. Having a single engine has proven to be an effective way of controlling one aspect of costs in the series, though in many cases, that has merely led to the top teams finding other areas to spend their money on. The contract extension also means that it will be harder for the series to switch to a different brand of engine, as chassis builders accrue ever more data on how the engines work in their frames. Switching engine suppliers would mean all of the Moto2 teams having to dump their old chassis and build new ones, along with starting from scratch with set up data.
On the whole, the Honda engine has worked well in Moto2. The only real complaint about the engine has been that it is not possible to switch gear ratios. That is one of the key aspects which some in the paddock feel Moto2 riders miss out before heading to MotoGP. As long as the CBR600 does not have a cassette-style gearbox - and being a relatively cheap road bike, it is unlikely ever to get one - this issue will remain.
Below is the press release from Dorna:
Honda to power Moto2™ until 2015
Honda Motor Corporation, in collaboration with Spanish company ExternPro, will be the official Moto2™ engine supplier for the next three years extending until 2015.
The Moto2™ class, which was initially brought in to replace the 250cc two-stroke class in 2010, has since its inauguration been running a single-spec Honda CBR 600cc engine, with the aim of the championship to drive chassis development and uncover rider talent. It has been a hit with riders and fans from the start, and is providing ever-greater spectacles out on track as the series progresses.
New from 2013 is that ExternPro, part of the Parque Tecnólogico de MotorLand Aragón, will be the company preparing the engines for competition, ensuring their reliability, as well as carrying out regular maintenance. The three-year agreement sees the ExternPro-prepared Honda engines go head-to-head for the first time at this weekend’s Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar.
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta commented: “Moto2™ has been a success from the start, and just continues to get better! Honda has been our sole engine supplier since the inaugural race in 2010 and I am extremely pleased that we will continue to use its machinery for the next three years. The Honda engine has not only proved an exciting addition to the paddock, but has also been a technically very reliable asset, which is extremely important in motorsports. I would also like to welcome ExternPro on board, who have so far done a very good job during pre-season testing, and will no doubt continue to do so throughout the next three season".
Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice-President added: "Honda is happy to continue to supply the CBR600 engines for the Moto2 category, as this class has been proven to be a good way to keep costs down and allow riders to prepare for MotoGP, as Stefan Bradl and Marc Marquez are currently demonstrating. We also welcome ExternPro as new partner to prepare the engine ready for racing".