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GP Week : Issue 81
Moto GP FEATURE >> BMW's hot new model is the S1000RR, launched early last year and getting better in World Superbikes. In standard form, it revs to 14,200, peaking at 13,000, with 193 horsepower (142 kW). The most significant of its specifications is the bore-and-stroke ratio: 80mm by 49.7mm. Dorna chose maximum bore size as a simple way to limit revs, in turn reducing reliance on electronics and cutting costs. The size chosen? 81mm. Gosh. The BMW fits, although only just. But the limit could have been set smaller, if only the Japanese bikes were being considered. By comparison, the bore sizes of the main contenders are: Suzuki GSX-R 74.5mm; Honda CBR100RR 76mm; Yamaha YZF-R1 78.0mm. These new regulations need to be finalised soon. The 800s run out of sanction at the end of next season. The manufacturers won a stay of execution, with permission to continue racing the 800 prototypes into the future, against the supposedly slower CRT (so-called Claiming Rule Team) bikes. But how much slower will they be? There is one shining example. At the Australian GP in 2009, on the same afternoon, national Superbike racer Wayne Maxwell's Honda CBR1000RR was a couple of hundredths faster round the lap than Chris Vermeulen's Suzuki, which gave everyone pause for thought. Just imagine if the V4 800 engine in his lighter GP bike, with carbon brakes and top-drawer suspension, had been swapped for one of Suzuki's 1000cc Superbike engines from the GSX-R? Vermeulen would surely have gone faster still. Factory sensitivities are being soothed with much talk of how the CRT machines will be a lower order of life than the full prototypes, with a lower order of performance. Maybe so in numbers (though in fact they are allowed more fuel and double the number of engines), but in terms of real world performance, it might not be so easy to guarantee. Instead of fighting against a trend that now seems inevitable, the embedded factories may have to do the other thing instead: abandoning expensive 800cc cutting edge development, and instead applying themselves to racing their own production 1000cc engines. Against BMW. When that happens, Moto1 will have arrived for good. If nothing else, you can be sure the grids will be full. 39