New four-stroke 600cc bikes will be phased into MotoGP a year ahead of schedule to race against 250 two-strokes for one season in 2010, MCN can exclusively reveal.
The new bikes, which will form part of a series called Moto2, were not supposed to replace the 250s until the start of the 2011 campaign.
But the bikes, which are set to make the MotoGP support class cheaper and more competitive, will be initially tested in the Spanish championship next year to compare performance and lap times to 250s.
Concerns that 2010 will see a sparse 250 grid while teams focus their budgets and attention on preparing for the new 600cc era will result in a split grid instead.
International Race Teams Association boss Mike Trimby confirmed to MCN that a split grid is likely in 2010. “There is definitely a suggestion that we will go 50/50 in 2010 but that is for Dorna to decide.
"The bikes will be initially run in the Spanish championship and we can gauge the level of performance and lap times, work out whether they are comparable with 250s and tweak the regulations a bit perhaps to make sure we have got a competitive class for 2010, “said Trimby.
The last time a split class was used was back in 2002 when new 990cc four-strokes raced against the 500cc two-strokes for one season before the series switched exclusively to four-strokes in '03.
New rules for the 600 class were finally unveiled yesterday with rev limits for four-cylinders restricted to 16,000rpm. Dorna will supply a controlled ECU and a claiming rule will be introduced where teams can purchase the race winning engine for 20,000 Euros.
How do you think the new 600cc four-strokes will be when they race the 250 two-strokes?
For full story see the next issue of MCN, available on Wednesday, December 17.