The 250cc two-stroke GP racing motorcycle is all set to become history. The 250cc class will be replaced by production-based four-stroke 600s in 2011, and according to a report on MCN, technical rules for the new class are now being finalized.
While European manufacturers like KTM and Aprilia, whose machines continue to do well in the 250cc class, are not too happy with the proposed move, Honda are said to be pushing for the change – HRC have already announced they will cease production of all two-stroke machines at the end of the 2009 racing season.
Speaking to MCN, KTM designer Harald Bartol says, ‘Technically I have no problem with it. I will build a four-stroke. I don't care. But I have a problem with whether it is good for racing. The costs will explode. As of now, 125s and 250s for growing up in racing and coming to MotoGP is the best situation. If we go to 600s, this is bad for racing. I am not sticking to two-strokes, but it should be a proper race bike. Not donkey racing with a 600!’
While technical regulations for the proposed 600cc class are yet to be finalized, the bikes are likely to have four-cylinder, 600cc, production-based four-stroke engines. Fancy engineering bits like oval pistons, pneumatic valve operation systems and variable valve timing will not be allowed, at least to begin with, and the bikes would be required to run on standard unleaded petrol.
Manufacturers would be free to use non production based chassis (and suspension?), minimum weight limit for four-cylinder bikes will be 155kg (bikes with one, two or three cylinder 600cc engines may have a lower weight limit, which is yet to be decided) and carbon /carbon composite brakes and wheels will not be allowed.
Here at Faster and Faster, we love two-stroke 250s like the Suzuki RGV250 and the Aprilia RS250, and we agree that the demise of racing 250s would be a sad thing. But in the larger scheme of things, we also feel that racing bike development should ultimately lead to better sportsbikes for the street. In that context, 600cc four-strokes replacing 250cc two-strokes may be a step in the right direction…
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...and just in time for Dorna's new plans for production-based 600cc four-strokes, here are some pics of the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R600! And we think it looks good!