Could MotoGP return to a two-stroke engine formula?

The two-stroke engine formula could be about to get a modern, eco-friendly 'reboot' to form the basis of MotoGP and even F1 in future

500cc MotoGP Nakano Biaggi Rossi

They are words that few ever thought they would hear in the context of MotoGP ever again but advances in technology has given rise to the notion that the two-stroke formula could well define the future of motorcycling’s premier category.

Two-strokes formed the basis of the regulations for erstwhile 500cc grand prix motorcycling class until 2002 when it was rebranded MotoGP and 990cc four-stroke engines were introduced.

This was done on the basis the two-stroke formula was simply too ‘dirty’ heading into the new millennium, though it didn’t stop it from being controversial with many purists left longing for the days of that distinctive soundtrack and aroma…

However, two-strokes may not have been consigned to the history books just yet as it appears such an engine is being considered for a revival by engineers in Formula 1, which are currently developing the regulations that will form the basis for the next generation engine cycle to begin in 2025.

New technologies since two-strokes disappeared from the racetracks and advances in crucial elements – such as fuel – could see the idea revived motorsport wide.

Indeed, alternative synthetic fuels, capable of reducing emissions using a mix of hydrogen, high pressure injection and exhaust treatments are just some of the ways two-strokes could be ‘rebooted’ for modern times.

In layman’s terms, it means a lot of the negativity surrounding the engines – namely the emissions and fumes they belched out – won’t be an issue as before. Moreover, it means some of the more emotional aspects, such as the noise, could be retained.

Certainly, they’d sound more appealing than the current F1 V6 Hybrid systems, if not quite as raucous as a mid-90s 500GP bike… and don’t expect them to smell quite the same (for some that may be a blessing…)

Regardless, MotoGP is heading for a critical moment when it comes to deciding on which direction to take for the next generation of racing.

While it will resist the shift towards a more eco-conscious fuel model such as that being adopted by Moto E, MotoGP is still committed to show it is forward-thinking and more efficient, meaning all forms of engine development will be considered…