“Worst kept secret” in MotoGP evaporates as Triumph confirm Grand Prix entry
Mugello’s fine history as a pillar of the modern Grand Prix calendar was enriched a little more on the weekend of the 2017 Gran Premio D’Italy Oakley with the (long-awaited) announcement that Triumph Motorcycles will supply their race-tuned 765cc Triple (based on the 2017 Street Triple model) for three years of Moto2 from the 2019 season and when the five year agreement with current manufacturer Honda comes to a conclusion.
“This is a special day and a lot of work has been done in advance,” said Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. “We have been looking for a new model of engine. Triumph is a very mythical [sic] factory and we have made the announcement here at a special circuit. It will be a new era for chassis manufacturers and a refresh for the category. [Moto2] has shown that the single engine category has been very good for riders coming into MotoGP so we will continue with the same system.”
Triumph has distant Grand Prix pedigree but has yet to win a round of the FIM World Championship in any category since formation of the competition in 1949. Their competitive efforts with the 675 Daytona sport model has included success in Supersport categories at national level (Britain and Germany in particular) and road races like the Isle of Man and the North West 200 as well as the iconic Daytona 200. Replacing Honda in the intermediate class of MotoGP represents a significant increase in their competitive profile and for a brand that has enjoyed a resurgence largely based on their heritage, retro and custom image.
“This is a pivotal moment for us another step in our progressive history,” said Paul Stroud, CCO. “We are going to become an exclusive engine supplier to a global championship, placing Triumph in front of 400 million people internationally. It is a terrific prospect for us and we see it as a significant step in our brand and as a British company. I cannot wait to thirty-four motorcycles heading down into that first bend; the sound will be absolutely amazing.”
Stroud then claimed that Triumph are set for another “record year” of sales with a 22% increase “thanks to the quality, performance and style of our motorcycles.” When pushed on why (and whether) Triumph should make the move to Grand Prix he added: “We are constantly looking at ways of taking the brand forward and promoting the brand. We were delighted and flattered when we were approached by Dorna. Was there any debate? Internally no. There was a lot of positive support for the opportunity.”
Aragon-based company ExternPro will continue to look after tuning of the powerplants. “We will supply kits and parts and they will build the engines and pass them on to the teams,” said Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Director of Emerging Markets and Product Strategy.
The Hinckley firm admitted they have clocked up the hours and mileage with the first versions of the motor that had been tested in a Triumph-constructed frame by Julian Simon around the Motorland circuit in Aragon. Reliability and the same performance level Moto2 had seen to-date with Honda were obvious benchmarks. “We’ve had an engine on the rig now for six months,” Sargent added. “It is an engine platform that we know very well anyway aand have been racing with the 675cc version now for over ten years. We have a lot of experience at some of the toughest races in the world. Having won at the Isle of Man and the North West 200 – two very fast and demanding circuits and Daytona 200 which is one of the longest races in the world – we have a lot of experience as to how this engine performs in fairly extreme conditions. We know and respect the fact that coming into Moto2 that we are going to be exposed to some of the best talent in the world riding a motorcycle with a Triumph engine. We’ve got twelve months worth of testing ahead of us now on the rig and the track.”
“In terms of developing the production bike engine there was a significant team on that,” he continued explaining the resources Triumph had to divert to their venture. “In terms of taking that-on for the Moto2 then we’ve had about half a dozen people on it so far.”
“Obviously we are aware that reliability is absolutely paramount and it is a discussion we had very early on with Dorna. We have done a lot of durability tests already and we’ve got another twelve months still to go. We are confident that the engines into this paddock will be ready.”
While any hints of the fall-out of Brexit were partially sideswiped by the fact that Triumph can ship engines from their plant in Thailand they did leave a small carrot dangling in terms of future involvement when it came to an enquiry about seeing the marque in the premier class one day. “We wouldn’t rule anything out at this stage,” Sargent teased.
726cc engine details
- Modified cylinder head with revised inlet and exhaust ports for optimised gas flow
- Titanium valves and stiffer valve springs for increased rpm
- Low Output race kit alternator for reduced inertia
- Taller 1st gear ratio
- Race developed slipper clutch which will be tuneable
- Specific race ECU; which will be developed with Magneti Marelli
- Revised engine covers for reduced width
- Different sump to allow for improved header run
Triumph also claim:
In ‘road’ set-up the new 765cc engine delivers the highest ever level of performance for a Street Triple; delivering power of 123PS @ 11,700rpm and 77Nm Torque@10,800rpm.
It has more than 80 new parts compared to the previous generation engine, including an increase to the bore and stroke. All-new engine components include
- new crank
- new pistons
- new con-rods and balancer shaft
- Nikasil plated aluminium barrels
- Revised gearbox
The race specification Triumph 765cc Moto2 engine has been developed further to allow the engine to breathe more freely and rev harder than the production bike; increasing overall performance. Other changes have been made specifically to adapt the engine for race use.
Photos by Triumph/OTOR