Subscriber Feature: The Future of Moto2

At the end of the 2018 Grand Prix season, the engine contract for the Moto2 class comes up for renewal. The existing Honda CBR600RR engine is in line to be replaced as the spec Moto2 engine, as Honda is set to stop selling the bike in Europe, and has no plans for a successor.

What does the future of the Moto2 class look like? With the end of the current contract two years away, Dorna has started the process of defining what is to replace the current Honda engine. The first order of business was to explore every possible option, and evaluate the positives and negatives. Nothing was out of bounds: options evaluated included continuing with Honda, opening up the engine supply to competing manufacturers, having a bespoke engine built, and even a return to two-stroke engines.

In the end, though, Moto2 will remain a single, spec engine supplier from a major manufacturer again. The Moto2 teams have threatened mutiny at any suggestion of opening the class to competition, from fear of spiraling costs. The current situation makes Moto2 extremely affordable: running a Moto2 team costs roughly half what it costs to race in Moto3.

Who is likely to replace Honda? All my inquiries through official channels met with failure, sources refusing to comment. IRTA Secretary Mike Trimby told me, "We are in the middle of planning for the future of Moto2. But as this involves sensitive commercial negotiations, I'm afraid I can't comment."

This is the first in what will become a semi-regular series of insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series will include background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion pieces. Though the vast majority of content on MotoMatters.com is to remain free to read, most notably the daily round ups at each MotoGP event, a select amount of content will be made available solely to those who have taken out a subscription.

The aim is to increase the number of site supporters and be able to move away from online advertising altogether, a model which is broken, as the rise of ad blockers demonstrates. Adding exclusive subscriber content adds value for site supporters, in addition to the desktop-sized versions of Scott Jones' photos for the site. The hope is that this will persuade more of our regular readers to support MotoMatters.com financially, and help us grow and improve the site. 

If you would like to become a site supporter, you can take out a subscription here. If you are already a subscriber, you can read the full article on the future of Moto2 here.

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Comments

"...and even a return to two-stroke engines".

Please, please, PLEASE be true!  Surely this would help the riders make the jump to the MotoGP category riding a "proper" GP bike!

Total votes: 99

Over on the subscriber article the discussion is a bit different. 2 strokes? Someone also said a better stepping stone class would have MORE electronics (ick!).

Anyhoo, repeat from the Supporter side as discussion fodder - Thanks David. This has been of much interest. Honda will clearly have a middleweight sportbike and engine available replacing this one, so the availability isn't a primary point. (The Euro 4 emissions/ABS crap is another story altogether). Their experience with the customer CRT bike was obviously shite. It does look like there is little to gain by providing these Superstock spec motors either. But Dorna can afford to pay a fair price for them too. It just doesn't look to be primarily about the financial terms does it?

If Dorna was just ordering a bunch of crated stock motors from Honda Japan it would be simple. But these are coming from whom, and what is their involvement? What would they rather be doing?

I ran a 2007 CBR600RR for yrs that I loved. Great motor. But yes, it is bulky. I have a Triumph 675r now and it is much narrower. It delivers wonderful power getting you out of corners. But up it really drops off up top. The wonderful aspect of the 675r is primarily the 250GP handling. If your get over the front and rude it aggressively it rewards you by giving you exactly what you wanted and inviting more. I bet that given the option of a more compact narrow engine, or a 4 cyl that allows for a longer upper mount parameter to work with, that the former is a better chassis developer's option. It is FLICKABLE. And torque might not be as exciting as HP, but it sure is rideable.

Is it very qualitatively different which middleweight spec motor is run? Not very much in my opinion. But amongst them, the triple does stand out in terms of narrow girth and manner of delivering power. More grunt. The transmission is notably close ratio relative to the Japanese 4's. W the quick shifter and more torque it seems subjectively closer ratio, but the rpm's confirm it. I am going to change sprockets on mine to get more top speed out of it (much lower than the Honda).

For little Triumph this also may bring interest and benefit that the bigger manufacturers don't share. They could use some press and higher profile in the racing world outside of BSB. With little interest from others in this contract there may be the ability to negotiate a better arrangement for them. "Better than Honda" amongst this caliber of racing could be a PR boon. And they can be proud of that engine...it is a beaut.

There is an 800 (765cc) Triumph triple engine in the manufacturing pipeline right now fir the next Supersport isn't there? Now THAT could be a middleweight dream come true. Goldilocks, step on up to the bowl of Moto2 porridge!

What is of more interest to me is that we may have a transition in Moto2. An era can end, in which we have ended up w "the Kalex cup" plus Speed Up and Tech3. KTM is here. Then the following year we are looking at ALL the teams having a need for a new chassis that is quite a bit different than this aged one.

The Triumph motor makes more change in a stagnant formula possible.
Has my vote!

*Edit add of specs (dyno will be 6-10% lower ish)

The Honda engine claims max 118hp at 13,500rpm and 49lbf-ft torque at 11,000rpm

The Triumph claims max 128hp at 12,500rpm and 55lbf-ft torque at 11,900rpm

Flatter curve on the Triumph, tailing off on top where the Honda holds on. The Triumph has a nice slipper clutch and quickshifter. Nice coatings inside to help it hold up. Racers w this Triumph have experienced a shift fork problem that the factory knows about and will surely remedy in the next one. Reliable otherwise. Thirsty motor drinks plenty of fuel. If we are going to see a 90cc (7.5%) capacity increase for the next motor, expect proportionate gains (137hp claimed?). It is currently 76 x 49.6 oversquare. And did I mention that triples feel GOOOOD?

Total votes: 84

Hello David,

Regarding subscription, I would definitely love to support you wholeheartedly. But can you introduce more options like ability to choose packages, So that we can choose and lower the subscription cost in the process. For example, ability to choose just the write ups at maybe $20 or $25 without photos. Or maybe not have the subscriber layout made avaliable, subscription with ads. What I mean is, give us some sort of options.
Now I know, all of this might seem a bit cheap. And I do believe that 40 just for the sake of supporting you is well worth it(not considering any other advantages). But the problem is, in many parts of world, $40 dollars is not something that can be easily parted with. It depends on the cost of living and general economics. $40 dollars might not mean much in US, but it becomes a considerable amount in say some Asian countries. I hope you can understand. Same amount for all doesn't equal same value. Anyway, my point is, give us some options so that we can support you at amounts that are affordable(and no need to give the whole package, make it modular), rather than not support at all by choosing not to pay up the whole amount. Any reader of the site knows that anything they throw into support you is well worth it, and I think with more options it would make it much easier for many of us to do exactly that.

Anyway with that being said, I would definitely love to thank you for all the great write ups you provide and all the Twitter interactions you manage to keep up. Very very few other writers (Mat being another) come close to you as far as the depth and quality are concerned.

Total votes: 108

The idea for more detailed analysis under subscription is good but I think the package should expand more. Something like $25 dollars for 6 months, $13 dollars for 3 months etc. A one-off $40 payment might seem cheap but when you start considering other factors such as economy and paying subscription to other services, it all starts becoming expensive so please segment the subscription.

Total votes: 88

Thanks a lot for the feedback. Very useful. I will look into a quarterly subscription. Making the subscription more modular is a good idea, but difficult and potentially costly to implement (will require coding). I am not sure the benefits would outweigh the costs, though I really appreciate the willingness to support what we do here.

To be continued, as they say. 

Total votes: 95

Honestly, all this 1/2 year/quarterly/monthly/weekly subscription nonsense is a distraction from your reason for running the site, and the pain of managing subscriptions with different end dates is going to suck up more time than it's worth - It's not like motogp.com allows you to pay less for 1/2 the season, or like you're asking much for the best motogp, moto2 and moto3 analytical reporting in the English language. 

 

Total votes: 79

I take your point, but MotoGP.com does actually discount access as the season progresses (at least in U.S. email promotions). They also offer genuinely cheap off-season access to their entire archive, including a killer annual holiday promotion. Basing the pricing and content access around the MotoGP season and/or calendar year has some logic to it, and could ease the management of a tiered pricing system by aligning all subscribers to the same subscription expiration date. 

I think you could also make a case for unlocking previously restricted content simultaneous with each season's subscription expiration. This would ensure that no subscribers would lose access to the content published during the season they had subscribed to, and provide delayed access to David and the team's exceptional content even for those MotoGP enthusiasts who are unable to provide financial support. 

Obviously David's site to run as he sees fit. In any event, I intend to continue to support it and visit as often as possible. 

 

 


 

Total votes: 95

i think having lots of smaller subscription is way better than just a few of the bigger ones. i personally believe the cost of modifying the codes to accept smaller types of subscription will be covered real soon with the added smaller subscriptions.

i, for one, live in a country where 1 dollar can provide you with roughly the same food that's costing a lot more in western world. so 40 bucks is a lot to us. i am cheap, but if the opportunity comes i would love to support you financially too as i have been enjoying the site for years. so please at least consider the option.

Total votes: 85

"The Moto2 teams have threatened mutiny at any suggestion of opening the class to competition, from fear of spiraling costs. The current situation makes Moto2 extremely affordable: running a Moto2 team costs roughly half what it costs to race in Moto3."

Teams holding a series hostage, that's always worked well. It's a disgrace Dorna has let itself be blackmailed like that. Moto 3 proves a spec engine is completely unnecessary. And, even worse, detrimentral to the racing and development of the rider.

Total votes: 93

Statements of opinion based on nothing but a dislike for the spec engine formula.  

Looking at the facts shows us your vitriolic comments are completely incorrect:

Moto3, unrestricted engine class, has a runaway leader, yes?

MotoGP, unrestricted engine class, also has a runaway leader, does it not?

Moto2, spec engine class, has a championship leader with an advantage of how much? 3 points or something isn't it?

So what exactly is your "detrimental to the racing" comment based on? As for being detrimental to the development of the riders you might have heard of a young guy by the name of Marc Marquez? It's early days but he's showing a little bit of promise.....

So how do you plan to fund a new unrestricted engine formula? I mean, you disrespect the teams actually out there doing the hard yards and make it sound so easy to come up with twice or three times the current budget, yet I'm not hearing any money making miracles. So lets hear how you would pay for it.

 

Total votes: 101

Hi
I'm very happy to be a new subscriber and look forward to enjoying all the extras!

Total votes: 90

If you can find the money to watch motogp in the first place, you can find the money to support the site. Glad to see a plan to keep motomatters moving forward. 

Total votes: 107

First of all, congratulations for choosing to support David, definitly the right thing to do. But now about your remark, let me try to give you a new prespective.

I am from India, and Tensports telecasts MotoGP in major part of the asian continent. As for tensports channel itself(Ten1, Ten2, Ten 3), it comes as part of a package of 245 channels which costs $3/month. That is $36 for an entire year worth of a whole package(245 including TenSports). Tensports telecasts only the qualifying and races, so we don't get to watch FP1, FP2, warm ups, Press Conferences, all the testings & anything else related to MotoGP(And no other Racing series for that matter). They don't even telecast repeats PROPERLY.

Now you might be thinking that we are virtually watching it for free. Not quite! TV packages as structured in such way that, it targets particular audiences of particular shows. Difference between a package that costs $1.2 & $3 will be just those tensports channels. Those of us who want to watch MotoGP opts for a package which costs more than twice as much. Roughly $1.8/month just for motogp, which translates to $20.4/year. Which is half of the subscription cost of Motomatters. So you get what I am saying? We watch a bare-metal version of motoGP(truely out of love for it) at $20 & $40 over that is really is expensive.

That is economics, same amount doesn't mean same value for all. It depends greatly on the earning power and living cost of different countries. Now as for David, I can totally understand that we might be a minority considering your potential supporters & it might be expensive to implement modular packages. All I saying is, look into it, do a statistical study of your readership & IF it is viable, please do introduce options. There might be many others who share my view, and you definitly deserves to get all the support you can get, its that awesome being here. Thanks David.

Total votes: 100

I am very much against paid-for exclusive contact, but that might be the programmer inside of me talking.
I was always pro open source and valued the unobstructed availability and use of information.

I've been meaning to become a site supporter for some time, but unfortunately I have limited funds and elsewhere to direct them.

I realize that you have to travel and invest heavily into what you do, and hopefully this adventure turns out well for you. You've been a source of rock solid news and I appreciate you not stooping down to the levels of sites that publish pure speculation and trivial information.

Total votes: 95

Very surprised to hear that Dorna are open to a 2 stroke engine, bring it on! It was quite unusual not to hear a 2 stroke engine at the Oulton Park BSB round last week. :-(

Happy to be a site supporter, keep up the great work!

Total votes: 92

I've been reading this site for as long as you've been writing this site. I have donated in the past - but not regularly enough for the amount of enjoyment I get from it. I think the subscription is well worth it - and long overdue.

Total votes: 90

From what I am hearing, it may not just be Honda that will not be producing a 600cc sports bike in the near future.  Yamaha has not updated its YZF-R6 for many years, nor has Suzuki done anything with its GSX-R600.  I am hearing the Japanese may soon give up on these highly tuned 600s entirely, and switch to 800cc engines for their 'smaller capacity' sports bikes.

Also hear Triumph will ditch the 675 triple, in favour of its 800cc triple.

A two-stroke engine in the Moto2 class would be great.  A bit like the old 250GP class in the 1970s and early '80s when it was pretty much all TZ250 Yamahas. 

I wonder if one of the Italian two-stroke kart engine builders would be interested...

 

Total votes: 86

I do wonder how good a stepping stone to MotoGP the class in its current format is. Could you get some MotoGP managers and riders opinions on this? Personally from a spectator point of view I would love to see a much more powerful engine and the same lack of rider aids. Some format that lets us see riders playing with the throttle, sliding the rear out of the turns and lifting the front. God I miss the 500s.

Total votes: 82

Moto2 will remain either 600cc or go to 675cc if Triumph gets the contract. HP won't change much, will remain around the 130hp mark. No real desire among the teams for more powerful motors.

Total votes: 97

765cc vs 675cc

Is it known that Triumph will keep making a 675 version alongside their 765? As far as I can tell it is just a 765cc coming. Curious how that will play out in Supersport racing regulations.

Total votes: 95

It's probably too soon for electric motogp machines, not to mention the loss of the roar would be something to get used to...

But please, don't go back to 2-stroke. It doesn't make sense for any company to start pooring money in new developments. Everybody's trying their best to stick within difficult regulations for a reasonably green environment, more and more countries even banning the sales of fosil fuel burning cars between 2020 and 2025. I think Dorna can do something better to contribute to the global march for a better environment than to go back.

I know that these few yearly races are not going to make a big difference on the global polution, but it's the image that has to be put out there. Like any other sport and its people, a lot of it has to do with setting out an example and showing people the way to go.

Total votes: 96

David should be able to maximise his income from his work, this is just another nail in the coffin of MotoGP for me, sadly.

I am poor, there is no other way to put it. Despite watching MotoGP since it's inception (and 500cc before) the recent doubling of the price of the Videopass (to €200) the season before last meant I had no choice but to stop watching MotoGP. 

Luckily, I had Motomatters to at least keep me informed, now it seems the more interesting content will be lost too. Simply put, it is beyond my budget.

I guess this is the modern pay to view world but something is lost by ever greater commercialisation. 

Shame.

Total votes: 95

A few points: first of all, and most importantly of all, most of the content on MotoMatters.com will remain free. I do not believe in putting everything behind the paywall.

However, in order to justify the cost of the subscription, I have to offer Site Supporters something extra. That something extra is additional, exclusive content. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and so it is a path I will continue. It will never be more than an article or so a week, however. 

I understand that the subscription is beyond the budget for some people. That is sad, and I am looking at ways of trying to make subscriptions easier to manage. 

However, without the support of MotoMatters.com subscribers, there would be no MotoMatters.com. This step is necessary, first of all to ensure the survival of the site, and then secondly to hopefully expand the site and improve its content. I would like to add writers to the site, but cannot currently afford to.

The bottom line is simple: someone has to pay for me to fly to races, and gather the information which goes into creating the articles on the website. If no one is willing to pay, then I don't go. If I don't go, then there is no content at all on the website. You may call that commercialization. I call it survival.

Total votes: 97