Catalunya MotoGP: 600cc proposal unveiled as 250GP replacement

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Engine capacity for the new 250GP replacement class will now be 600cc, despite fears such a proposal would be in direct conflict with the current World Supersport series.

To avoid any clash, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta proposed displacement for the new class should be between 625 and 650cc when the issue was discussed at the French GP in Le Mans.

But the all-powerful Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association, who today unveiled a 600cc engine proposal with prototype chassis, threw out that idea.

The 600cc rule was submitted today in Catalunya at a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, and further talks will be held later this month in Assen.

But 600cc now seems certain to be the preferred capacity, as that engine size is the preferred option for the manufacturers, not least Honda.

Dorna boss Ezpeleta confirmed the plan to run 600cc four-cylinder engines was a result of a majority and not unanimous decision by the MSMA.

A plan by KTM to produce 500cc twins was dismissed, while it is clear Honda got its way with the new proposal. Only last week in Mugello, HRC Managing Director Kosuke Yasutake said Honda’s preferred option is to race 600cc in-line four-cylinder machines, despite the obvious clash with the current World Supersport series run by FG Sport on the World Superbike calendar.

All classes need to be sanctioned by the FIM, who requested to Dorna boss Ezpeleta not to propose a 600cc class because of the clash with World Supersport. But with 600cc engines already in existence, Honda sees no reason to change and wants Dorna and the FIM to find a compromise.

"Ezpeletas’ 625/650 proposal was supported by the FIM because prototype chassis and controlled engine management distinguishes it from the World Supersport class.

Yasutake said in Mugello: “If the Dorna proposal was 600cc then we could understand this. But anything else, I think it is difficult to find a manufacturer who can produce this kind of engine

"We think that a 600cc four-cylinder can be cheaper but with high performance. We are talking about possibilities of an in-line four-cylinder because we already have this technology.”

For more on this story see Wednesday’s MCN.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt