The motorcycles used in MotoGP™ are purpose-built, purebred racing bikes - ‘prototypes’ - which are not available for purchase by the general public and cannot be legally ridden on public roads.
The technical regulations to which Grand Prix teams must adhere to when they build their bikes for MotoGP™ competition provide a simple guide to the type of machinery the riders use.
Engine sizes permitted in each class are as follows:
MotoGP™ - As of the 2012 season, the maximum engine displacement permitted is 1000cc with a maximum of four cylinders and maximum bore of 81 mm - 2-stroke engines are not allowed. A maximum of 5 engines may be used by each permanent contracted rider for all the scheduled races of the season. Penalty for infringement of this means the rider will start from the pit lane 5 seconds after the start of the race. However, if a manufacturer di not won a dry race in 2013, or has joined the paddock since, it is allowed 12 engines.
From 2014, teams not directly entered by one of the major manufacturers as a factory team or satellite outfit, will be categorised in the so-called “Open class”. Whilst all factory teams (MSMA entries) will have to use the spec Magneti Marelli hardware with their own software, the “Open class”, regardless of its mechanical make-up, will run the spec hardware as well as software. From a mechanical standpoint, the “Open class” in 2014 will consists of full-blown prototypes (with Magneti Marelli software), prototype chassis and factory-spec engines. A total of 12 engines are allowed.
Moto2™ - The Moto2 Official Engine is currently supplied by Honda and tuned by Spanish firm ExternPro. This is a 600cc 4-stroke engine.
Moto3™- 250cc four-stroke, one-cylinder machines.
Apart from the displacement and number of cylinders for each class, engine type is restricted to reciprocating piston engines with no super- or turbo-charging, while the bike may have no more than six gears.
The following are the minimum weights permitted:
MotoGP™ Up to 800cc – 150 kg
Moto2™ motorcycle + rider 215 kg
Moto3™ motorcycle + rider 148 kg
The teams may add ballast to their bikes to achieve the minimum weights and the weight may be checked at the initial technical control, but the main control of weight is done at the end of practice sessions or at the end of the race. For the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes the weight checked is the total of the rider with full protective clothing plus the weight of the motorcycle.
In normal circumstances each MotoGP team has two bikes prepared for racing for each rider, so that there is no delay should a problematic bike need to be replaced before a race or before or during a practice or qualifying session. Moto2 and Moto3 classes may have only one bike per rider.
Grand Prix bikes are produced to win races and to showcase the design and technological capabilities of their manufacturers. The machines are therefore constructed from expensive, hardwearing and extremely light materials such as titanium and reinforced carbon fibre and benefit from the sort of advanced technology (carbon disk brakes, engine management systems, traction control), which does not feature on regular road bikes.
With millions of fans watching each round of the World Championship, when the bikes are on track, they are also showcases for the numerous big brands involved in sponsoring MotoGP™ teams. Each bike displays a race number at the front and back, and usually features the colours and logos of the respective teams’ main sponsor as well as numerous other logos displaying the names of teams’ sub-sponsors.