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What Fuel Do MotoGP Bikes Use?

MotoGP is the premier racing series in the motorcycling world watched by millions across the globe. The bikes utilize the latest technology, designs, and materials, and so it is natural to wonder what fuel MotoGP bikes use.

MotoGP bikes use unleaded petrol fuel that is similar to premium unleaded petrol sold at gas stations, with an octane number between 95-102. Their fuel tanks can only be filled with fuel from FIM-approved suppliers, and they have a maximum capacity of 22 liters, or 5.81 US gallons.

Since MotoGP bikes are using ordinary fuel, what is it that sets them apart? Keep reading as we take a deep look into the various types of fuel available and how it impacts MotoGP bikes and ordinary motorcycles as well.

What Fuel Is Used In MotoGP?

MotoGP uses unleaded petrol according to FIM specifications supplied by an FIM-approved supplier. It is similar to the premium-branded unleaded gasoline sold at regular gas stations, usually having an octane number of around 100. The fuel suppliers vary by team.

Moto2 and Moto3, the lower categories of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, feature just one fuel supplier (currently Petronas). Many motorsports, including Formula 1, feature various different fuel suppliers depending on the team. MotoGP follows a similar system, with each team choosing their own fuel supplier.

Some current MotoGP fuel suppliers include Castrol supplying Aprilia, Shell supplying Ducati, and Repsol supplying Honda.

What Octane Is MotoGP Fuel?

MotoGP fuel has an octane number of about 95-102. As the octane number goes up, better the fuel tends to burn within the engine, and the fuel is also more stable than that of lower octane number. Normal petrol has an octane number of 95, and premium petrol has an octane number of 99.

The advantages of using unleaded petrol with a high octane number are lower fuel consumption and better engine performance. High octane fuel also reduces the risk of engine knocking (when fuel ignites at the wrong time) which can do a lot of damage to the piston, cylinder, and expensive crankshaft bearings.

MotoGP Fuel Suppliers Over The Years

Each MotoGP team is permitted to choose their fuel supplier, but they must comply with FIM specifications. This is done by the fuel supplier who submits 10 samples to the FIM for testing in advance before the race. Over the years, fuel suppliers have teamed up with racing teams to become their team sponsor.

Repsol collaborated with the Honda Racing Corporation for many years to form the Repsol Honda team to contest the World Championship. Repsol was also the official competition fuel supplier for the Repsol Honda team. Subsequent to this, Honda was sponsored by Elf, who became an official fuel supplier, and is a brand of Total.

Moto2 and Moto3

The same fuel specification rules are enforced for Moto2 and Moto3 as well with exclusive fuel supplying rights from 2016 awarded to the French oil company Total that continued until the end of 2019. The company is already involved in supplying fuel for car racing and has been active in motorsports for many years. From 2020 to 2022 Petronas is the exclusive fuel supplier for Moto2 and Moto3

KEY POINTS

• MotoGP bikes use fuel from various suppliers, unlike Moto2 and Moto3 bikes that all use Petronas fuel

• These suppliers must be FIM approved

• The fuels used are unleaded forms of petrol, with octane numbers between 95 and 102

How Much Fuel Do MotoGP Bikes Use In A Race?

MotoGP bikes can use up to 22 liters of fuel during a race (5.81 US gallons). Fueling is permitted only in the pit lane after the fuel has been inspected before the race. Teams are not permitted to add or remove fuel during the race unless there is a restart. Riders have run out of fuel in the past.

This may seem disappointing to some, but the fact is that MotoGP is not only about speed but also about riding ability, fuel efficiency, and strategy as well. The rider who is able to not only go the fastest but do so while not running out of fuel is the one who wins.

Will MotoGP Ever Go Electric?

MotoGP is unlikely to ever go electric because there is already an electric version of MotoGP named MotoE. MotoE is for electric bikes only and the series has been around since 2019. A total of 18 teams are participating in 7 races that make up the MotoE season. 

Dorna Sport selected the Energica Ego Corsa motorcycle for MotoE, which has a top speed of 168 mph (270 kph) from a power output of 120 kW (163 HP). For comparison, a 765 cc Moto2 bike made by Triumph churns out 138 horsepower, with a top speed of 183 mph (295 kph), while the 1000 cc MotoGP bike can produce closer to 290 HP.

MotoGP 2024/27 Fuel Rules 

MotoGP is trying to set new standards where the fuel used in all its classes must be of at least 40% non-fossil origin (i.e. not made from oil). From 2027, fuel used in all MotoGP classes must be of 100% non-fossil origin. This is a similar goal to F1’s Carbon Net Zero initiative, which hopes to see 100% sustainable fuels used in the engines from 2026.

Right now, the major limitation of electric vehicles is their frequent need to recharge their batteries with small range, but as battery technology advances, the power-to-size ratio is expected to increase. 2027 has been marked as the turning point by which time all fuel used must be non-fossil, but electric vehicle technology is moving fast too, and it could become more lucrative.

However, much like Formula One already has Formula E to act as its electric racing series counterpart, MotoGP already has MotoE. For this reason alone, it’s unlikely that we’ll see MotoGP go full electric any time soon.

Final Thoughts

The fuel used by MotoGP bikes is similar to the fuel found at any gas station. It is unleaded petrol with an octane number between 95 and 102. MotoGP fuel is supplied by various FIM-approved suppliers depending on the team, and it is subject to a strict set of regulations.