Moto2

Honda celebrate brilliant first year of Moto2

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The Valencia Grand Prix marked the end of the inaugural Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship, a new philosophy in Grand Prix racing that promotes low costs and equality to give riders a fair chance of performing at the front of MotoGP's intermediate category.

All Moto2 riders are equipped with identical Honda CBR600RR engines, Dunlop tyres, ECUs and slipper clutches to ensure that riders have the best chance to display their talent on the racetrack.

Honda said it is proud of its role as engine supplier to this brave new World Championship. The specially prepared CBR600RR engines have proved fast and reliable throughout the 17-round series which has featured some of the most thrilling racing ever seen in Grands Prix, with unpredictable results and ultra-close finishes. Qualifying has also been ultra-close, with the fastest 20 riders on the Valencia grid covered by just 0.999 seconds. At Le Mans the Moto2 grid was the closest in history, with the top 27 riders covered by just 0.969 seconds!

Moto2's first World Champion Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2) was one of the most experienced riders in the championship's inaugural year and he used that experience to dominate much of the season.

The class also made several new stars whose riding talent lifted them to the top step of the podium. During the course of the 17 races there were an impressive nine different winners (Elias; Karel Abraham, Stefan Bradl, Jules Cluzel, Alex De Angelis, Andrea Iannone, Roberto Rolfo, Yuki Takahashi and Shoya Tomizawa, who tragically lost his life at September's San Marino GP). Five different chassis constructors won races (Moriwaki, Suter, Tech 3, Motobi and FTR/Speed Up), with Suter taking the constructors' crown.

"Moto2 racing is very, very competitive and fantastic for the fans," says Honda Racing Corporation Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto.

"We are very happy that Honda has been able to help this new kind of GP category. Toni Elias did a very good job. For much of the season he was at the front, concentrating so hard and thinking how to win in this new category. The reason for the close racing is that the performance of all machines is very close ‰ÛÒ the engines are exactly the same, so the competition is on the chassis side. Moto2 is also a team competition, because the engineers and mechanics must work very hard to set up the chassis around the rider. And because the machines don't feature any kind of traction control system, Moto2 is very good for rider training. Even though we have hi-tech electronics in MotoGP, traction control isn't magic, the rider still has to ride the bike. We are very happy that the engines have performed so well, with an excellent reliability record. Also, it is good to see so many chassis manufacturers involved in Moto2."

Mike Trimby, General Secretary of the teams' association IRTA, is also enthusiastic about the new category which replaced the 250cc class that had been in existence since 1949.

"Moto2 is a huge success," says Trimby. "We are delighted that the teams have taken to it so well. The attraction to the teams is that they can sell this class to a sponsor because they have the chance to make a name for themselves. In Moto2 any team that works well gets a chance of making the podium or getting a pole once in a while. That means they've got something to sell to sponsors, whereas in 250s they had nothing to sell, unless they were a big team that could afford factory bikes."

This year's Moto2 series was heavily over-subscribed by teams anxious to take part in the new class. For the 2011 season there have been 60 requests for the 40 places on the grid.

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