MotoGP’s new tech rules: good or bad?


MotoGP’s biggest tech rules shake-up since 2002 has been announced: ride-height and holeshot devices are banned, engine performance and downforce aero are reduced. Lap times will be up to 3sec slower, which will have a knock-on effect for World Superbike rules

Ducati with Yamaha and KTM 2024 MotoGP bikes

This year’s Ducati, Yamaha and KTM MotoGP bikes – from 2027 they will have less engine performance, less downforce and no ride-height or holeshot devices

MotoGP riders will tell us what they think of the championship’s new technical rules – due to take effect in 2027 – during this weekend’s French Grand Prix, but we already know they will be cheering some of the changes.

I’ve not heard a single rider say they love the various appendages that have appeared on MotoGP bikes in recent years: holeshot devices, ride-height devices and extreme downforce aero; all pioneered by Ducati’s chief engineer Gigi Dall’Igna, who brought a Formula 1 mindset to MotoGP tech: don’t look at what’s in the rules, look for what’s not in the rules.

Why will riders be happy with less tech? Because they love using their own talents to control their motorcycles, dancing about on that high wire between victory and disaster.

“It’s too easy for everyone to ride at the same lap time. The rider should make the difference”

A while back Marc Márquez said these go-faster accessories make MotoGP bikes more like Moto3 bikes – instead of playing with the throttle and moving your body around the bike to increase grip and reduce wheelies you just tuck in and go full gas.

Last year I interviewed Luca Marini, then riding a Ducati Desmosedici to his first MotoGP pole and podiums. Even he wanted less Dall’Igna tech.

“I hope in the future we can have a bit less [downforce] aerodynamics and maybe stop with the rear [ride-height] devices, because now it’s too easy for everyone to ride at the same lap time,” he told me. “Often the top twenty riders are within one second. MotoGP bikes are not easy to ride but I’d like to have something more difficult, because it’s the rider who should make the difference.”

The new rules fully ban holeshot and ride-height devices, which reduce the skill required to launch from the grid and exit corners.

New MotoGP 2027 regulation diagram

MotoGP’s current aerodynamics regulations – the 2027 rules reduce fairing width and length to reduce downforce on the front tyre


There had been rumours that ride-height devices would stay, but with riders allowed to deploy them less frequently, like DRS in Formula 1. Congratulations to the rule-makers for not taking that road.

Downforce aero is the other big talking point among riders and fans. The new rules don’t ban this technology but reduce it.

The maximum width of the upper fairing reduces by 50mm to 550mm, the fairing nose is moved back by 50mm, the maximum height at the rear of the bike is reduced by 100mm to 1150mm and the rearward taper of the front fairing aero appendices are narrowed.

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“This may not seem a lot but the manufacturers reckon it will have a big impact on the amount of downforce created by the fairing,” says MotoGP technical director Danny Aldridge, who wasn’t involved in the rule-making process but enforces all tech regulations. “Moving the fairing nose back will especially have quite a big impact on downforce on the front tyre.”

Hopefully less downforce aero will also mean that motorcycles will create less wake, which should make overtaking less complicated

The initial push for the new rules – concocted by Dorna, the MSMA (the Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers Association) and MotoGP director of technology Corrado Cecchinelli – was to reduce engine performance, because top speeds are nudging towards 230mph (370km/h).

This will be achieved in several ways: by reducing engine capacity by 15%, from 1000cc to 850cc, by reducing fuel capacity by 10%, from 22 litres to 20 litres, by the introduction of 100% “non-oil-refinement origin” fuel and by requiring engines to last longer. Riders are currently allowed seven engines per season (eight, if the calendar numbers more than twenty races). From 2027 they’ll only get six (or seven).

Valentino Rossi leads Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP 800cc era

MotoGP’s 800cc era (2007 to 2011) was mostly (but not always) characterised by processional follow-my-leader racing – Valentino Rossi leads Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa


These changes will come into effect a decade and a half after MotoGP engine size was increased from 800cc to 1000cc, because the peaky 800s helped cause mostly tedious follow-my-leader racing from 2007 to 2011. The 800s had been introduced because the original MotoGP 990cc four-strokes, which arrived in 2002, were considered too fast.

Will the 850s be any better? Let’s hope so. The 800cc rules didn’t include any bore and stroke restrictions, whereas the 850cc rules do. The current 1000s are allowed a maximum bore of 81mm, while the 850s will have a maximum of 75mm, so the engines will be squarer, which in theory means peakier.

However, the 850s will be allowed a third fewer gearbox ratio options, down from 24 to 16. This will reduce costs and force engine designers to create a broader spread of power, which usually makes for better racing.

Racing’s road-bike category can’t be faster than its prototype category

The biggest surprise of the new rules is that GPS (Global Positioning System) will be allowed for the first time since it was banned in 2010. But this time it’s different. GPS data – which records bike speed and position (including cornering lines) – will be available to Dorna and rival teams, not live, but after sessions and races.

This will help slower manufacturers and riders to improve but that’s not the main goal of reintroducing GPS.

“This is mainly to help Dorna on track safety,” explains Aldridge. “We have a collaboration with Padua University, working on safety. This information will tell us how fast the bikes are going when they go down and how far they travel, so it will help a lot with track design.”

Minimum weight of machines will drop four kilos to 153 kilos.

What effect will all of this have on lap times?

“The guess is between two to three seconds,” says Aldridge.

Which will obviously have a knock-on effect for World Superbike technical regulations, because bike racing’s road-bike category can’t be faster than its prototype category.

Valentino Rossi leads Cal Crutchlow and Hecotr Barbera in 1000cc MotoGP race

MotoGP’s last change in engine capacity took place in 2012, when the 1000s replaced the 800s – Rossi leads Cal Crutchlow and Hector Barbera


There’s no word yet on how WSB rules will change, but WSB contestants Ducati, Honda and Yamaha sit on the MSMA, so they will already be aware of the need for change.

Will BMW, currently second in the WSB riders’ and constructors’ points chases, be encouraged to enter MotoGP under these new rules? If the German marque wants to contest the premier class there’s no better time than when the rules change.

Any new manufacturers, like BMW, will get full concessions when they enter the championship, allowing them engine upgrades and more engines, more aero upgrades, more testing, more Wild Card entries and so on.

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There is one performance factor that MotoGP’s new rules don’t address: corner speed.

The downforce reduction will have a small effect on corner speeds (ground-effect fairings and downforce diffusers aren’t banned), but the best way to make riders slower through corners is by reducing tyre grip.

Why is reducing corner speed important? Because MotoGP’s best racetracks – including Mugello and Phillip Island – are already short on run-off and if corner speed continue to increase, they will have to be removed from the championship.

Current MotoGP tyre supplier Michelin is happy to reduce ultimate grip if Dorna asks for it. And 2027 would be the ideal time to do this, because it would be part of an overall reduction in performance.

“If Dorna thinks we need to do something then we are ready to do something,” Michelin’s two-wheel motor sport manager Piero Taramasso told me recently.

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