GP to replace 250cc class with 600cc

New classification to race in 2011

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 30, 2008, Photography by F. Kirn
The 250cc class of Grand Prix motorcycle racing will be replaced by a new 600cc class by 2011.

The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) announced on June 27 that the new class will allow 600cc motorcycles with four-stroke engines and a maximum of four cylinders. The new 600cc category will become the second-tier class of grand prix racing between the 125cc class and the premier MotoGP class which features bikes with 800cc engines. From the series inception in 1949 until 2001, the premier Grand Prix racing class was 500cc.

The rule change was unanimously approved by the Grand Prix Commission which consists of chair Carmelo Ezpleleta, CEO of series promoter Dorna Sports, FIM safety director Claude Danis, International Road Racing Teams Association president Hervé Poncharal and Takanao Tsubouchi, secretary-general of the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association (MSMA) which proposed the change.

Red Bull KTM 250 rider Mika Kallio (right) is the current leader of the quarter-liter Grand Prix class.The second-tier 250cc Grand Prix racing class has developed many riders who later made a significant impact at the premier MotoGP level. Racers such as Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, who made the jump this year, became serious contenders in their debut seasons in the MotoGP class after winning the 125cc title.

The 2011 season will mark the first year that Grand Prix motorcycle racing will not feature a 250cc class. Since the FIM established the Grand Prix series in 1949, every racing season featured a 250cc class as well as a 125cc class.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing has also included 350cc, 80cc and 50cc classes as well as 500cc sidecar classes.

The Grand Prix Commission also approved a rule change to reduce the amount of sulfur allowed in unleaded fuel to 10 mg/kg from 50 mg/kg in 2009.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing classification timeline

Years Classes
2011 800cc (MotoGP), 600cc, 125cc
2007-2010 800cc (MotoGP), 250cc, 125cc
2002-2006 990cc (MotoGP), 250cc, 125cc
1990-2001 500cc, 250cc, 125cc
1984-1989 500cc, 250cc, 125cc, 80cc
1983 500cc, 250cc, 125cc, 50cc
1962-1982 500cc, 350cc, 250cc, 125cc, 50cc
1955-1961 500cc, 350cc, 250cc, 125cc
1949-1954 500cc, 350cc, 250cc, 125cc, Sidecar (500cc)