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Steve Parrish's MotoGP column

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner
Valentino Rossi (left) and Casey Stoner (right) have won world titles at 800cc

As far as I'm concerned, the move from 800cc to 1000cc engines is a very good thing - they should never have come down from 990cc in the first place.

The decision made in 2005 to change to 800s was a retrograde step, and everyone now realises that.

It was a knee-jerk reaction to the death of former 250cc world champion Daijiro Kato in a crash in 2003 - at the time, there was concern at bikes getting too fast, but the decision just incurred lots of expense and made the bikes more dangerous.

It didn't reduce speed and made them harder to ride. They became knife-edge machines, and as they were lighter they cornered faster, so it was actually more dangerous if riders came off. It was a costly exercise for all the manufacturers, and now we're in a recession they're looking at ways to bring back cheaper engines.

One concern is that there could be a war between World Superbikes and MotoGP - there'll probably be some lawsuits flying around as MotoGP was always supposed to be prototype bikes, and now the machine will be more derivative of road machines.

World Superbike riders have traditionally struggled when they've come over to MotoGP, and although this will close the gap between the classes, there will still be some major differences.

The move back to 1000s is a bean-counting decision, with the authorities saying 'what's the point of spending millions developing engines which aren't used anywhere else?', but it's a good one

Steve Parrish

The big thing about MotoGP is that the bike chassis is designed purely for racing, it doesn't have to make compromises on things like lean angles and corner speeds which Superbikes, which are based on road bikes, do - MotoGP bikes aren't designed to be ridden from Oxford to Cambridge.

The change does bring some similarities but the big difference is the MotoGP bike won't have a chassis designed for a showroom.

I'm not sure the riders will be that bothered - most of them are just paid to ride the bike they're given and make it as best suited to them as they can, so changes won't really bother them, but most of them didn't like going back to 800s in the first place.

I don't think it'll make any change to the competitiveness of the racing, either - the teams all have similar technical parameters to work in, and given the rules on engine capacity and the amount of fuel you can use, there's not really an advantage to be had.

A fan pays her respects to Kato at the Suzuka circuit
Kato's fatal crash at Suzuka in 2003 rocked the world of MotoGP

The bike industry and the authorities brought in 800s as a knee-jerk reaction, they've spent millions developing new engines and it's been a massive waste of money. It hasn't improved anything or slowed things down.

The move back to 1000s is a bean-counting decision, with the authorities saying 'what's the point of spending millions developing engines which aren't used anywhere else?', but it's a good one.

It will reduce costs which is good news, because that will allow more privateer teams to take part - and anything that brings more teams and riders on the grid can only be good for the sport.

Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Julian Shea



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see also
MotoGP poised for bigger engines
11 Dec 09 |  MotoGP
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
04 Nov 09 |  MotoGP
Cool Rossi crowned world champion
25 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Report - Rossi seals title win in Sepang
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Matt Roberts' column
26 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
What new rules mean for MotoGP
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MotoGP calendar 2011
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MotoGP on the BBC
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MotoGP standings
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Contact the motorbikes TV team
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Safety fears force MotoGP changes
04 Jun 05 |  MotoGP
Kato dies from crash injuries
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