Sunday, May 18, 2008

250GP replaced with four-stroke 625-650cc inline-fours

250GP_four-stroke.jpgDorna unveiled its proposal for a four-stroke replacement for the 250GP class today. If it gets its way, 250cc two-strokes will be replaced by four-strokes of between 625 and 650cc in 2011.The capacity was chosen to protect World Supersport racing. With the aim of keeping costs down, further rules dictate the new engines will be inline-fours, won't have traction control and will use controlled ECUs. Unlike World Supersport, the as yet unnamed new class of GP racing will be exclusively prototype based. No production machines will be allowed.

While the new capacity may sound too close to MotoGP's 800cc limit, the changes are intended to drastically reduce costs. Right now, at about €1million, leasing a 250cc GP bike is only about one-third cheaper than a MotoGP machine. Under the new rules, that cost would drop to less than €100,000. That seems to be the driving reason for these drastic changes, so while we will mourn the loss of yet another two-stroke racing class, we will welcome more accessible, more competitive racing.

Final details of the rule changes will be announced after they are ratified June 7 at the Catalunya GP.