Team Blue’s Managing Director wants racing to remain sustainable—for the pocketbook.
Apparently, MotoGP believes it needs to ride the coattails of Formula 1 (F1). On March 14, 2022, the Grand Prix motorcycle race series debuted MotoGP Unlimited on Amazon Prime, mimicking F1’s highly-successful Drive to Survive Netflix series. Unfortunately, a botched rollout and waning interest never moved the needle with non-racing fans.
Most recently, MotoGP organizing body Dorna Sports took another page from F1’s playbook, announcing one sprint race for every round in 2023. In 2027, the series will mandate the use of 100-percent sustainable fuel, but Ducati Race Director Gigi Dall’Igna recently called for more drastic measures. The masterful engineer wants MotoGP to consider F1-esque hybrid drive units with energy recovery systems by the 2027 season.
Those thoughts ruffled the feathers of many MotoGP bosses, and Yamaha Managing Director Lin Jarvis recently sat down with German media outlet Speedweek to relay his thoughts on the matter.
“It is very important that our sport remains sustainable in terms of costs,” Jarvis told Speedweek. “At the same time, it must remain relevant in relation to the technologies that we may use in production for the series motorcycles that can be bought. At this time, Yamaha has no plans to use hybrid power units on production machines. So, we’re not in favor of going in the hybrid direction.”
In F1, hybrid drive regulations have forced teams to utilize Kinetic Energy Motor-Generator Units (MGU-K), Thermal Energy Motor-Generator Units (MGU-H), and Turbochargers. In 2013, F1 upheld a 642-kg (1,415-pound) weight limit. Due to hybrid drives, that number has ballooned to 798 kg (1,760 pounds) in 2022. Production costs have also spiked as a result, with some teams spending three times as much on a hybrid unit.
While Jarvis isn’t on board with the costly and weighty hybrid engines, he happily supports the use of sustainable fuels.
“Yes, we too are confident that by the time Bio Fuel is used, engine performance could be very similar to that of today,” the Yamaha Boss admitted. “You may lose some power immediately upon introduction, but you may recover over time.”
Both racing and the consumer market are adapting to new technologies. But before blindly tagging along, MotoGP should also consider whether Formula 1 solutions will actually make sense for two-wheeled racing.