While we experienced many twists and turns during the treble of consecutive events, we were able to observe some details on the MotoGP prototypes, on which it is interesting to linger.
It is always interesting to study the MotoGP prototypes and their details in detail, in order to learn a little more about these monsters of power.
A detail here on the Honda that Tetsuta Nagashima rode at the Japanese Grand Prix is that extra piece of metal on the rear brake lever, which is useful when the rider is leaning at drastic angles. lean high to the left and the rear brake lever is a little hard to reach. With this metallic appendage, it allows the pilot to operate the rear brake without having to contort himself.
In this photo, taken on one of Team Pramac’s Ducati GP22s, it is interesting to focus on the role of this small electronic exhaust valve. This valve is also present on the Aprilia and has been tested on the Honda.
The upper exhaust thus has an electronically managed mechanical valve or valve, which can be opened and closed at certain times to benefit from progressive engine braking, by increasing the negative torque when this valve is closed, but also to help the rider to better manage engine power.
It’s a smart little device, and it’s something that’s been around for a while. Indeed, in the era of CRTs, many of them were already equipped with exhaust valves: the technical teams were already using all possible tricks to compensate for their natural power deficit.
This little detail on KTMs is less about performance and more about rider comfort, which in turn can contribute to performance. This small duct hidden behind the side fairing, which is actually part of the fairing itself, is an air duct that is designed to channel cool air to the rider’s footwell. With the exhaust line running just behind the footpeg, it can get extremely hot in that area. We remember several riders who have aluminum tape on their boots to limit the effect of heat. It’s less aesthetic but just as practical. For those who doubt it, just remember the beginnings of a fire suffered by the Ducatis there…
This air comes from the front air intake, which appeared during the off-season tests. This one, characterized by a peripheral entrance around the main duct, has caused much ink to flow. It is also used to cool the ECU located under the tank cover. The electronics do not appreciate the high temperatures generated by MotoGP engines
In this photo of Marc Marquez’s Honda RC213V, we can focus on two elements. The first concerns the change of chassis that the Spanish driver uses from Japan. It has actually reverted to the standard chassis developed for the 2022 season. It can be distinguished by the swingarm pivot bolt. Here we see the version of the chassis that uses the big round nut, but previously Marc Marquez had used a version that doesn’t have that big round nut and sits just flush with the frame.
The other interesting detail in this photo is the torque sensor, which sits above the gearbox output sprocket. The torque sensor measures the rotational force coming from the motor. This allows engineers to use the collected data to get a picture of the actual torque achieved by their engine and highlight it against other actions happening on the bike: wheelspin, drift, and technical feedback from the rider. It’s a useful tool to help technical teams turn the awesome power of MotoGP into something usable on the track.
Here is the left handlebar of Joan Mir’s Suzuki, which was in the hands of Danilo Petrucci when this photo was taken.
Here you can see the buttons Joan has at her disposal, for engine brake, power and traction control maps. We also note the presence of two thumb-activated levers: one is intended to activate the Ride Height Device device and the other concerns the Holeshot Device of its Suzuki.
Here is an excellent photo to judge the extent to which the Ducati has been adapted to accommodate the rear Ride Height Device. Everything is designed to give the rear wheel as much room as possible: the fuel tank is curved and the rear exhaust is offset to the side, or even the outside of the machine.
Whether or not we appreciate the presence of this technological device, we must recognize that it is a huge key to performance and victory for the moment. As often, Ducati’s technical teams – supervised by the wizard Gigi Dall’Igna – have developed and brought the technology to the track and we see here how far they are in their evolution because everything has been designed around this device, but the other factories are now equally good with their designs and functionality. Indeed, even those who seem to be a little behind are working on big changes that could see them take another step in the evolution of how their bike can exploit this advantage.
Suzuki’s new rear aero package has been unveiled at Motegi. It is a design that seems to have a mixture of the design of the Aprilia and the Ducati. Aprilia had opened the ball by experimenting with an F1-type fin that the Noale brand has not kept, Ducati has also made its contribution with a double pair of thin fins, which are reminiscent of a dinosaur skeleton, and which equip now all Borgo Panigale motorcycles.
Suzuki have been working on developing a mix of these two solutions, with the fin initially presenting at a similar angle to the design present on the Ducati, but then curving to be horizontal when the bike is upright. It seems that Suzuki has sought to combine all the positive points developed by Aprilia and Ducati: downforce in a straight line for braking and acceleration stability, additional load for better rear grip when cornering, then downforce at high lean angles to help find that little bit of extra grip at the apex.
Here is a photo of one of the transport wheels that Ducati uses to move its prototypes from race to race, like all of its competitors.
Of particular note here is the carbon fiber molding that runs around the top of the wheel, located just behind the front fender. We first noticed this coin at Silverstone last season, but never quite knew what its purpose was, especially since it only appeared occasionally. It turns out that it houses tire temperature sensors, a crucial technical data at the moment. The Ducati had them on tracks like Buriram and Motegi so they could figure out how their front tire works quicker, considering they hadn’t ridden those tracks for 3 years.
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