After months of speculation, Dorna and Triumph announced the British manufacturer will replace Honda as the sole engine supplier for the Moto2 World Championship. The deal marks Triumph biggest foray into Grand Prix racing.
“This is a significant moment for Triumph that brings an exciting new chapter to our 110-year racing history and builds on our celebrated TT and Supersports race winning triple engines,” says Paul Stroud, Triumph’s chief commercial officer. “We look forward to a long and thrilling relationship with Dorna and the Moto2 teams, riders and fans.”
The three-year contract, which kicks in with the 2019 season, will see Triumph supply race engines based on the 765cc Triple that powers the 2017 Street Triple RS. The Triumph engine replaces the CBR600RR-based inline-Four that Honda had been supplying since the Moto2 class replaced the former 250cc World Championship in 2010.
The Moto2-spec engine will have several modifications over the Street Triple RS powerplant. Triumph modified he cylinder head, revising the inlet and exhaust ports to optimize gas flow. To increase the engine speed, Triumph added titanium valves with stiffer valve springs. Managed by a spec ECU developed with Magneti Magelli, the Moto2 engine should have a significant boost over the production engine which claims 121 hp at 11,700 rpm and 57 lb.-ft. at 10,800 rpm.
Triumph also added a low output race kit alternator for reduced inertia, a tuneable race slipper clutch and a taller first gear. To make it easier to package into a Moto2 chassis, Triumph changed the sump for improved header run while revising the engine covers to reduce width.
“The engine feels strong and In particular the mid-range is very impressive,” says former 125cc World Champion Julian Simon who was brought in to help develop the engine. “The feel between the throttle and the rear wheel is very direct and controllable. The general feeling is very good and the engine already shows great potential.”
Scoring the Moto2 contract is a big step for Triumph, but it will also be a daunting one, replacing Honda and the Japanese company’s long, storied history in Grand Prix racing. Despite success in Supersport and TT racing, not to mention a win in the 2014 Daytona 200, Triumph has never made a serious attempt at Grand Prix racing. Triumph does have one Grand Prix podium, with test rider Percy Tait finishing second at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps in 1969; it was the only race the team finished in six rounds that season.
There’s still a lot of time for further development before 2019. Of course, that also means there’s plenty of time for Triumph to put the production motor into another model. With the manufacturer’s entry into Moto2, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a new Triumph Daytona 765 coming in to replace the Daytona 675.