Whether you’re a professional Grand Prix bike racer or just enjoy watching one, it’s important to know what the MOTOGP criteria is. The MOT is a globally recognized emblem that represents the highest level of standards and quality for motorcycle road racing, with each race meeting certain regulations regarding weight and performance. For a long time now, motocross has enjoyed a good reputation as the fastest-growing spectator sport in the UK. But there have been increasing concerns over some areas of the sport, and now the governing body wants to put an end to it.
The MOT defines the minimum legal level of power and performance of a motorcycle. It has particular significance in the UK, where four-stroke racing has long been a mainstay in the motorcycling culture. The modern day Grand Prix bike has grown to include super bikes and superabikes, and these lower down the series provide a different kind of competition to that offered by the traditional Grand Prix circuit. While there are several different classifications for bikes in the lower category, the MOT wants to standardise the way in which all four-stroke motorcycles are judged. It wants to make it easier for the audience to differentiate between a Honda Civic and a BMW 3rd series.
In order to be categorised as a “class” level motorbike, four-stroke motorcycles need to have certain minimum levels of engine capacity, displacement, horsepower, and torque. These are all included in the specification of an MOT, and the manufacturers are often granted a level of exemption based on whether they happen to be Italian, Japanese, British, or German. For example, Yamaha engines have typically been given a reduced capacity rating for their two-stroke machines. It is not a fair assessment to say that all Japanese machines are below the required level, simply that the class of Honda motorcycle included in the MOT has fewer Japanese manufacturers than many others.
The current four-stroke regulations state that motorcycles must have between one and three cylinders and have an overall bore of less than nine hundredths millimetres. This is formally known as the MIP (Massive Induction Power) and it is one of the requirements that will be looked at during the MOTOGP season. It is also worth noting that this requirement does not apply to superabikes, which are not considered engines. Therefore, it would seem likely that the addition of a superabike to a current class could lead to it being removed from the eligibility list.
A further stipulation is that the exhaust has to have a catalytic converter. The MOT often stipulates that this is a two-pipe system, but it may decide to allow a three pipe system if it is deemed to have a higher sulphur content than any of the other cars in its class. A catalytic converter allows the exhaust to pass through an activated carbon filter, thus reducing the amount of pollutants that are released into the atmosphere from the tailpipe. It is worth noting that superabikes are only allowed to participate in the premier championship as they are not considered cars. Therefore, it would seem unlikely that a superabike would be able to qualify for the MOT. There have also been calls for the removal of a second catalytic converter from superabikes, but this is unlikely to happen.
As with all other categories in the cc class, there are some basic criteria for judging the safety of a motorcycle. For instance, it must have no defective parts and all factory permitted parts must be fitted and functioning properly. In addition to this, the minimum weight for a bike must be fifteen kilograms and no more than twenty-five kilograms. However, if a motorcycle reaches this weight limit on a test day, it is considered to have passed, even if no faults were found with it.