Is BMW Preparing to Launch a MotoGP Effort?

After a recent change in management at BMW Motorrad Motorsport, a MotoGP entry could be on the cards in the future

Toprak Razgatlioglu, 2024 Australian WorldSBK. - Gold and Goose

The question of BMW’s potential involvement in MotoGP as a competitor has been a recurring one for over a decade now, but a new change of management at the top of BMW Motorrad Motorsport could make it a reality.

Nothing yet is certain beyond the arrival of Markus Flasch at the top position within BMW Motorrad Motorsport, after departing BMW M for his new post at the end of last year.

BMW made a MotoGP bike back in the 990cc era, but it never raced, and has been involved in the Superbike World Championship - owned by Dorna Sports, which also owns MotoGP - on-and-off since the early-2010s. 

Since around the same time as BMW’s initial WorldSBK involvement, a BMW factory MotoGP team has been spoken of only in rumour or hopeful anticipation. In the old CRT days of MotoGP, BMW S 1000 RR engines were used in Suter chassis’, but no true MotoGP prototype has been built in Bavaria and made it to the starting grid.

When Suzuki announced it was quitting MotoGP during the 2022 season, BMW was contacted by Dorna about potentially entering the series and taking the grid slots vacated by Suzuki. Although it had little interest at the time, that interest appears to have increased since the arrival of Flasch.

Flasch told the German publication Motorrad that he “would not rule out” a BMW entry in MotoGP, where the Bavarian brand has long been the official safety vehicle partner. In that role, BMW supplies both safety and medical cars. Further, BMW sponsors the MotoGP qualifying award, named BMW M Award, which has been won in the last two years by Francesco Bagnaia, and rewards the best qualifier of the season with a car from BMW’s M division; and it also provides the motorcycle that MotoGP world feed commentator and pit lane reporter Simon Crafar uses to record on-board laps of each circuit in advance of the race weekend.

When Suzuki was in MotoGP, it was recognised as an ambition of the championship to have 24 bikes on the grid, with each manufacturer having one factory and one satellite team. The current grid sees Ducati with twice as many motorcycles as anyone else, but a competitive sixth manufacturer, along with the return of the Japanese manufacturers (particularly Yamaha, which currently has no satellite team) to competitiveness, would theoretically put MotoGP back in a position to target its two-teams-to-one-brand formula.

In reality, any MotoGP entry from BMW would be a way off, especially with a potentially major regulations change set for 2027, but having signed 2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu to its World Superbike programme for this season, a move into the prototype series could bring one of motorcycling’s most extravagant talent’s to its premier championship.

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