MotoGP's switch to 1000cc engines from 2012 has been passed by motorcycle racing's government body, the FIM. The change has been mooted since the summer, and was officially approved during yesterday's Grand Prix Commission meeting.
Only the basic engine concept has been revealed so far – with the capacity being up to 1000cc and the engines having four cylinders and a maximum bore of 81 millimeters. FIM president Vito Ippolito said that further details would follow soon, but that this should be sufficient for the manufacturers to begin preparing for 2012.
"This base will give all the manufacturers the opportunity to start work," he said. "At the beginning of next year we will produce the new rules in a more complete format, but that is the basis; 2012 will be the year of a new era of MotoGP."
MotoGP commercial rights holder Carmelo Ezpeleta added that further meetings to fine-tune the format would take place before next season's championship commences.
"This has been approved and between now and the start of the 2010 season we will have another two meetings to define the rest of the specifications for this new class," he said.
There have been concerns that changing to 1000cc engines would bring MotoGP too close to World Superbike rules, although Ippolito has previously suggested that the FIM feels engine similarity would be irrelevant as the crucial differentiation between the two classes is that MotoGP bikes are pure racing prototypes whereas Superbikes have road origins.
MotoGP started with 990cc engines when it superseded the 500cc world championship in 2002, but the engine capacity was reduced to 800cc for the start of the 2007 season.
However this change failed to reduce cornering speeds as had been hoped, and led to criticism from leading riders who felt the lower power and greater importance of electrical systems such as traction control meant MotoGP was no longer sufficiently challenging.