Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four-strokes to replace 250 GP class, rules to be announced in France this weekend


End of the road for two-stroke 250s, begining of a new era for four-stroke 600s in GP racing? A sad day for those who remember Max Biaggi from his Chesterfield Aprilia days...

Back in September last year, we’d said that 250cc GP racing two-strokes would be replaced by 600cc four-strokes by 2010. Honda were pushing for four-strokes – HRC had announced they would stop making two-stroke racers at the end of the 2009 racing season. The Europeans – KTM, Gilera and Aprilia – weren’t happy about it, but would have to play along.

Now, according to a report on MCN, the rules for the new four-stroke class – which will replace two-stroke 250s in 2010 or 2011 – are ready, and will be announced at the upcoming French grand prix at Le Mans, on Saturday. It’s widely believed that the new class will indeed comprise of 600cc four-strokes, and that in its first year, no new teams will be allowed to race. (This would be to negate any advantage that experienced four-stroke tuners/racers from WSBK may have.)

There has been significant criticism of this impending rule change in many quarters, with detractors saying it will push up costs by a huge amount and that the racing wouldn’t be as interesting. Also, various sanctioning bodies like Dorna, FIM, IRTA and MSMA have to jointly agree on a lot of things before the rule change is actually implemented.

Still, the way things are, it looks like the two-stroke 250s era is coming to an end, with 2009 or 2010 being the last year when these bikes would be raced. Racing in the 250cc class is usually fast and furious – proper edge-of-the-seat stuff – but since street-going two-strokes are now defunct anyway, 600cc four-strokes are probably a step in the right direction. The only worry is, what would happen to the smaller European companies, who've been in two-stroke 250 GPs for ages, but who, unlike the Japanese, don't have street-going, multi-cylinder sports 600s from which to source technology for their four-stroke 600cc GP bikes…?

The world learnt to live without 500cc two-strokes. We'll probably also learn to like the four-stroke 600s. In the meanwhile, here's some pics from days gone by...


Also see:
The best two-stroke motorcycles ever...
Valentino Rossi's NSR500: One for the road...
KTM 125cc GP racebike vs Suzuki GSX-R1000!
Suzuki's MotoGP bikes over the decades...
Memorable: The Gilera SP01...
MR250: Malaguti returns to two-strokes!
Kevin Schwantz, back in MotoGP in 2009?!
The mighty Yamaha YZR500...
Stephanie McLean talks about the late, great, Barry Sheene...

External links:
Lambretta image gallery...
Joey Dunlop's brother, Robert Dunlop dies in an accident at the North West 200

1 comment:

Pieter said...

we introduce a new 250GP race bike based on 250cc MX motorbike more information at www.450gp.nl

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