MotoGP bans use of "expensive" KERS

MotoGP has banned the use of kinetic energy recovery systems, deciding the green technology would be too costly to develop in these straitened times. Although KERS isn’t currently used by any MotoGP teams, Austrian manufacturer KTM was due to run the system in this year’s 125 World Championship, MotoGP’s junior Grand Prix series.

“I’d like to see the technology used in motorcycle racing,” said MotoGP technical director Mike Webb. “But for the moment it’s too expensive.”

The outlawing of KERS is part of a package of cost-saving measures to be introduced to MotoGP over the next 12 months. From 2010 riders will be restricted to one machine (currently riders use two bikes in practice and qualifying) and limited to six engines for the entire championship.

KTM’s KERS is an electrical system (above), powered by rear-wheel braking. Braking energy is converted into electrical energy, stored in super-capacitors, then converted back to mechanical energy which is applied automatically to provide extra acceleration in the higher gears. KTM suggests the system delivers the equivalent of 2.6 horsepower, a not inconsiderable boost to a 55-horsepower 125 engine.