Motogp has announced recently that bikes will return to 1000cc and four cylinders for the 2012 season. This is seen as a hugely important change to the rule. Many riders, including Valentino Rossi, have said that the switch to 800cc in 2007 was the biggest mistake in the history of the premier class because the bikes all need to be ridden the same way. There isn’t enough excess power to allow the bikes to take different lines through a corner and make up time.
Valentino Rossi is the biggest revenue source of income for Motogp and its management company, Dorna. Is it a coincidence that he has spoken up and the sanctioning bodies have listened? That may be part of the reason but many other riders have voiced their dismay also. Let’s dive a little deeper.
The new rules state that the engines in Motogp can be full prototypes (like in F1) or production based. The displacement will be 1000cc and have four or less cylinders. There are also rules regarding the bore which will probably have an effect on how many rpm the motor can turn.
The significance in the rules lies in the fact that the motors will have four or less cylinders. When Motogp originally switched to its 990cc four stroke era in 2002, Honda was the only company to use a V5 motor. Rossi won the championship with this in 2002. After a falling out with Honda, he went on to win the championship for 3 consecutive seasons on a Yamaha. The only people that could compete with Rossi would be Honda mounted riders. Nicky Hayden won the title in 2006 on a factory Honda.
Ok, enough with the history. What am I getting at? Rossi is Motogp’s cash cow. It would be wise to keep him happy especially since he is getting old for Motogp and retirement could be around the corner. With a switch back to 1000cc and four cylinders, all the manufacturers could return to their engine architecture from the 990 days. All the manufacturers except Honda. This would keep “Big Red” from blowing everyone out of the water like they did in 2002 because they’d be behind on their development. It all seems to be too much of a coincidence to me
picture courtesy of Motogp.com