Commentary: MotoGP’s Brain Trust Messes With The Formula Again

Big changes are coming to MotoGP in 2027, including new engine restrictions that are intended to slow down the racers. PHOTO CREDIT: Yamaha

It’s time for more big changes to MotoGP, apparently! With the series getting kind of blah since Valentino Rossi left, the wizards of the FIM are now messing with the formula again, saying it’s all about sustainability and safety and blah blah blah. Never mind that the whole concept of a race series involving riders on custom-built, highly-engineered two-wheeled contraptions at hyper-speed is both completely unsustainable from a practical viewpoint, and highly risky. No, let’s not think of such obvious facts, and instead pretend this series is like the rest of the world, built for a better tomorrow.

So here are the changes. First off, the big one: Starting in 2027, engine size decreases from 1000cc to 850cc, with max cylinder bore of 75mm. Four-stroke four-cylinder is the only engine configuration allowed, and each rider will only be allowed six engines over a season with 20 race rounds. If the season is extended past 20 races, the riders will be allowed seven engines.

Further technical changes include a limit of four primary drive ratios per season, with 16 the maximum allowed number of gearbox ratios.

From 2027, the fuel used must be 100 percent “sustainable,” so alternatives such as bio-fuels or e-fuels only. Max fuel capacity drops from 22 litres to 20 litres for a full-length GP race, and from 12 liters to 11 liters for a sprint-length race.

But wait, there’s more! MotoGP’s rulebook now has new restrictions on bodywork size and positioning. Holeshot devices, or other components that change ride height, are banned. Max weight of the motorcycle now drops to 153kg.

All in all, an awful lot of arbitrary rules for a series that is supposed to be about the pinnacle of motorcycle competition. Apparently, it is turning into a bunch of dream-up-as-you-go regulations that are aimed at gussying up the races in the eyes of the environmentalist lobby and also maybe evening the playing field between the manufacturers.

That’s one thing that could be positive. Currently, the manufacturers fall into multiple tiers under the concession system (explained here). In reality, this does little to affect racing but it does help teams compete somewhat more evenly in the competition for top manufacturer in the series. It’s intended to promote fairness for newer teams who don’t have as many years in the GP ranks, as they develop their bikes. Under the new rules, all teams will be in the same tier, since they’re all starting from scratch with the new 850 engines. As well, all teams will be required to share their GPS data at the end of each track session, so smaller teams can benefit from the telemetry of larger teams.

Maybe this will help avoid the One-Team-Uber-Alles effect that has been common in the GP series for years. But even if that does happen, will it be a good thing? No doubt fans will have some opinions, but the end result will be gauged by what happens on the track starting in 2027, when intentionally-slowed bikes compete in what’s supposed to be the greatest motorcycle race series in the world.


  1. 250 singles for moto3, 500 twins, for moto2, 750 whatevers for motogp, then run what you brung.
    Sounds simple doesn’t it ?

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