HRC Boss Shuhei Nakamoto Debrief Transcript: On The 1000, Fuel Limits, HRC's Budget, Motegi And Suzuka

The Brno MotoGP test gave journalists the rare opportunity to speak at length with two of the driving figures behind MotoGP. As well as Ducati's Filippo Prezioso (the transcript of which you can read here), we also got the chance to question HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. Nakamoto fielded questions on a number of subjects, sometimes with a healthy dose of humor. He naturally spoke about Honda's new 1000cc RC213V, and the development direction HRC have pursued, but he also talked about the effect that fuel limits have on bike developments, including the opportunities they offer for developing new technologies.

Nakamoto-san spoke about the effect that the earthquake and tsunami has had on Honda's production and consequent budgets, and the knock-on effect that this will have on the level of support being offered. He revealed that HRC expected to supply 6 bikes for next year, but only 2 factory machines, and he also spoke about the possibility of a switch from Motegi to Suzuka. Though he personally liked Suzuka, the track has not been approved by the FIM and would be unlikely to receive FIM approval for MotoGP.

It was a long and interesting conversation, hampered sometimes by Nakamoto-san being forced to deliver it in what is clearly his second language. His words have been rendered a little easier to understand, while trying to remain faithful to the original, and also trying to convey some of the humor behind his words. It is well worth the effort of reading.


Q: Can you say something about the new 1000?

The new 1000? You can see it on track! [Laughs]. Casey and Dani are testing the new 1000 today, Casey has already tested it for two days at Jerez, he has more experience with our new machine. This is the reason for his lap time being not so bad from run one. We have brought here a little bit different chassis to the one at the Jerez test, we are checking whether this direction is better or not. And Dani, it's the first time he rode the new machine, he is trying to feel more about the new machine, he is trying to get a feel for it.

At this moment, both riders gave us the same information. Our data analysts and engineers are checking over all the data. Then we will decide our future at the end of the test.

Dani and Casey are both on the same machine, which is slightly different to the Jerez test.

Q: Dani has two bikes, the Jerez one and the new one, to see the difference, right?

Yes.

Q: Can you tell us the goal you are fighting for? The goals for the new bike in terms of performance or consumption.

Racing machine the goal is very easy to identify, I want it to be a winning machine! Nothing else! [Laughs]

Q: Apart from the capacity of the engine, which is obvious, what are the biggest problems in having a bigger capacity engine in a machine that looks quite the same?

With the new bike, we are following the 800 machine concept. The only difference is the size of the engine.

Q: You mean for the layout or also for the construction of the engine?

Concept. There are of course differences, because the engine is differences.

Q: In terms of performance, how much more horsepower do you have than the 800 now?

Just a little... [Laughs] This piston bore with 81mm limit, if you make a 1000, you have engine speed limitation, therefore engine revs is much much lower. And also the fuel tank capacity of 21 liters stays exactly the same. The fuel tank capacity means this is the energy, the energy which you can use during the race. This means overall the energy is exactly the same, and this means you cannot make such a big power engine. To make a bigger engine with the same fuel capacity means we need a new technology. Therefore we are trying to make some new techniques to make an engine with good fuel consumption. If this technology is successful, this technology can be used on road machines. MotoGP new regulation forced Honda to make a different engine. If you only use fuel mapping, in this case the engine drivability is very bad. This means you need a completely different approach. Usually racing engine is more revs, more power, this is normal for racing engine development, but with new MotoGP regulation, you have to take a different approach. At this moment, neither rider has complained about engine drivability. Of course, our 800 engine drivability is not so good, and this is a similar level. We couldn't make one which was totally different, but at least this is similar level as 800 engine drivability.

Q: Was it easy to base this 1000 engine on the 800 engine?

Not easy, but it looks OK. We check today and at the Jerez test and today this morning for fuel consumption level is similar to 800.

Q: Ducati previously talked about one way to be as efficient as possible with fuel would be to use a capacity which was below 1000cc. Is this something that Honda considered? Or are you looking more at fuel injection and fuel management technology to cope?

Fuel management and fuel injection technology, only this is not enough to use 1000 engine. You must have something different if you want to use full capacity of the 1000cc.

Q: Is Honda using the full 1000cc?

More than 800 less than 1000. Something in this area. [Laughs]

Q: Is it important to Honda to have the fuel capacity limits, to have the 21 liters.

Yes, because for even 20 liter, we are against, because if we go to 20 liters, engineer has to try something different. If engineer try different, he can find another new technology. Anyway, good fuel consumption is better for worldwide, not only the racing engine.

Q: The Formula 1 experience will give you support in this way?

No. I have less Formula 1 experience, not enough to make motorcycle engine.

Q: As I understand it the limit on fuel pressure makes direct injection either very difficult or impossible …

Fuel pressure limitation is not so important to make direct injection for normal injection system.

Q: Do you really think that racing with control over the fuel consumption is good for the world, because it doesn't look like 21 liters for 100 kilometers is a fantastic fuel consumption, considering that a car like CR-Z from Honda is 7 liters for 100 kilometers.

CR-Z has electric power assist, so if we have electric power assist our fuel consumption we can make much, much less.

Q: And don't you think that electric is the way to go?

I don't think so. We know that if you want to use electric assist system in racing like in Formula 1, the costs are huge. My experience in Formula 1 where Honda also tried to make a KERS system, that time everything was so expensive. For road use, for production engine is OK, because big or small doesn't matter for road use, battery size doesn't matter, you have a lot of space. But for racing machine, you have to make a small special battery and small and high performance motor. This means costs are huge. I saw the electric racing machine at Laguna. But I have to say that technology is far away for use on racing machines.

Q: Did you start from the 800 project for this bike?

Development group is different, because 800 is 800, and 1000 is 1000, but both teams are using exactly the same concept.

Q: How has the different capacity changed the direction you have to develop in? How are these bikes different in your view to the 800?

The 800 and 1000s are similar. As you can see!

Q: During the 800cc era, there have been a lot of complaints about a lack of overtaking with this style of bike. Do you think there will be more overtaking, closer racing with the 1000s, or will it stay the same?

I don't know. I don't think size of engine can make a difference. Because everyone has a similar engine.

Q: In your opinion, this kind of formula will be successful in the near future, because we see that every factory is reducing the numbers of bikes. Don't you think that a different formula, maybe all CRT or something else could be better?

If my understanding is correct, all manufacturers not trying to reducing prototype machines. Honda we can make 6 riders machines next year, if people want to have them. If people have enough budget, we can supply them.

Q: And next season, these 6 bikes, will be apart from the supported works riders will be exactly the same.

Yes, because with this regulation, we can only make one specification, we cannot make two or three specification. Therefore we change philosophy two or three years ago. Satellite teams also have same specification. This year's machine, works specification and satellite specification, the difference is only the transmission. Transmission is different. The gearbox.

Q: But if they want, they can also buy the gearbox?

Yes. Next year, yes. But not so cheap! Much more expensive than my house!

Q: Is the gearbox, the transmission technology, is that something that could come to road bikes one day.

I don't think so. Because racing machine transmission, usually shift up is at maximum revs. If you short shift, in this case a big shock happen with the new transmission system. But a road bike usually short shifts, and never uses maximum revs. But on the road, is very very few times.

Q: So the transmission works better in the peak of the power.

Yes. Our transmission is targeted in this area.

Q: To come back to the question about whether the 1000s will bring more exciting racing, to me it comes down to one question: Is MotoGP about technology or is it more about entertainment?

Ask Dorna! [Laughs]

Q: Do you think this new regulations should be fixed for a few years? So do you think in the near future, you or another manufacturer with this technology and these rules can make a cheaper engine to sell only the engine to chassis manufacturers, or is this more difficult than in the past? The 1000 engine.

Prototype engine? No chance. No chance to sell.

Q: How do you expect the bikes to be distributed next year? We hear two bikes in the Repsol team, maybe one or two bikes in Gresini, maybe one or two bikes at LCR.

We are talking, not decided yet. We have many requests, but just talking, nothing decided. Dani and Casey are both under contract, for two riders we have decided. But we are talking to Marco and Andrea. And also some of the new teams want to use Honda's machine, we are talking. For the level next year, you know that in Japan we had a big earthquake and tsunami, so we in Honda Motor Company, usually in next year's budget we already know in August, sometimes the end of July, but this year, everything delayed. The situation is that we are still talking in this year's budget and also we have just started to talk about next year's budget. Very difficult position to make an answer to the riders. I am very happy with Marco and Andrea, both riders are growing a lot and yesterday they showed a very good performance, I'm very happy, I wanted to keep both of them, but I can say nothing here because I am waiting and I am trying to find budget for them.

Q: Is Honda's plan to have 4 factory bikes and 2 satellite bikes for 2012, or something different?

From HRC we are asking for the same budget as this year, but the company clearly said no. Because of the tsunami and earthquake, the parts supplier couldn't supply several parts, therefore we couldn't make the cars. Overall Honda business, car sales are about 70% [of normal] and we could only produce 30% fewer cars if you compare to last year. This means that only 70% we could make. This number is a big damage to Honda's overall budget. The first request from Honda Motor Corp to HRC is we must cut 30% of the budget, but it's impossible! I tried to convince them that this can't be done, this was my biggest job. Fortunately I recover a little bit, but 30% is impossible, I think.

Q: Is Honda the motor manufacturer who had the biggest problem in Japan?

For motorcycles, it's not such a big problem, of course we have some problems, but most of the Honda motorcycles are made in each country, so in India, last year we sold 4.5 million motorcycles, all of them were made in India. In Indonesia, we sold maybe 2 million and something, they are all made in India.

Of course we are making bikes in Japan, but Japan make big capacity models, like the CBR 1000. Anyway, this machine sales number is not so big, unfortunately, therefore damage is not so big for the motorcycle.

Q: I mean, does Toyota have more trouble than Honda?

Toyota, Honda, Nissan, some of GM and Ford, they are using the same CPU for their engine control unit. We can make a car, but we cannot make an engine control unit, and this is a problem.

Q: Speaking about India and Indonesia, the sport is growing enormously throughout that region, it is very popular throughout Southeast Asia. How important do you think it is that MotoGP goes and races in that region?

I can't say how, but I want us to go, because India and Indonesia are both very big markets. If we can show them MotoGP performance, maybe they are happy. You know that on the bottom of your machine, we put Satu Hati, which means One Heart in Indonesian. This for Honda Indonesia, who wanted to do something. I hope this works.

Q: Talking about the races, yesterday Valentino suggested to move the Japanese GP from Motegi to Suzuka? If the riders accept this suggestion, do you think it is possible to race there, or is the track in the same condition as in 2003 when happened the accident with Dajiro Katoh?

The track is different. Maybe two or three of the walls they renewed, and paddock area is now fantastic. Press room is also very good! This is very important for you, yes? [Laughs] Original layout remains but after the hairpin, the very high speed turn, that corner now has a chicane, the chicane is only used for motorcycle races, Formula 1 never used it. Some areas have also been modified, and access roads is now 100% vehicle access, before this was not so. West and south was a different access road, but now you can go all the way round.

FIM checked new Suzuka circuit, and FIM is not happy. For several things. Hairpin corner run off zone is not enough, or something. I forget the exact details. Now course license, before Suzuka was 2nd, now they give us 3rd rank license. Regulation is clearly showing we can race only on grade A, A1 and B. Now, Suzuka is 3rd.

Q: From the political point of view of Honda, is it possible to move the race to Suzuka?

Good question. But I'm not politician, I'm a comedian as you know! I think - and this is my personal feeling - we can race in Suzuka, because this year like every year we do the Suzuka 8 hour races and there were no big accidents, of course many crashes happen. But no big injuries.

Q: At the moment the race will take place at Motegi. Do you expect your factory contracted riders to race at Motegi? And if any of them decide not to go to Motegi, have you decided what potential penalties or action you would take against them?

I believe that all of the Honda riders will come to Motegi. I explained to them what is the penalty based on the contract. I'm not saying we should go a different way to the contract. Contract shows that if you don't go to Motegi, the penalty will be this, this, this, this. Therefore I don't know if final decision will be this or this or this. I explained this. The worst scenario is to terminate the contract, but this is something already written into the contract. This I just explained to the riders. Honda has not decided that if the rider does not come, the contract will be terminated. We have not decided. I have just explained this. Maybe people are misunderstanding.

Q: Speaking about Motegi and Suzuka, we've got a big discussion about whether riders will go to Motegi this year, but this is a subject that may come up year after year for some people. So would Honda support moving the Japanese Grand Prix from Motegi to Suzuka or somewhere else not this year but maybe next year or in the future?

But anyway, Suzuka doesn't have a license, class B license. So if FIM make a lot of requests for changes, we can't do everything. A good example is the hairpin, the run off zone is too close, but there is already a road around there, we cannot make it any further back. So some requests from the FIM would be impossible. If FIM give us B grade or 2nd grade, we can start to consider. At this moment, no. Honda has never pushed the FIM to give us a 2nd grade, we never did.

Q: Would you like to see racing at Motegi in 2012, 2013, 2014, or racing somewhere else?

I think racing in Motegi. Personally, I like Suzuka, because the circuit layout, with high speed corners and low speed corners, it's a very good course for riders, a demanding and challenging course. Motegi is a little bit stop and go, so overall I like Suzuka, but this is my personal opinion.

Q: Did you test this bike at Suzuka?

Yes, we tested this bike at Suzuka, Motegi and also Sugo. You remember, Yamaha circuit. Very close to Fukushima we are testing! [Laughs]

Q: With the 1000, what do you think the performance potential of these bikes are compared to the 800? How much faster are they than in the lap times?

If chassis potential is exactly the same, at this track, the engine give us maybe two tenths. Because engine couldn't give us cornering performance and braking performance. This engine only give us acceleration and top speed. With acceleration, we are using traction control, even with the 800, which means the biggest difference is not top, but middle and bottom torque. Even with the 800, we reduce the torque, with 1000 machine cannot give us any gain, because with 1000, we reduce more compared to the 800. After that, with this new machine on the straight, the big torque makes the bike want to wheelie. And again, the rider has to close the throttle or the electronics control this with anti-wheelie system, so again, couldn't make a gain. In the middle of the straight you can start to have a gain, to the end, but when top speed is higher because of a little bit more power, it means you have to brake a little bit earlier. Overall, around this kind of circuit, gain is one-and-a-half to two tenths maximum from the engine side. But at different circuits, the engine will give us a lot more, it depends on the circuit characteristics. Probably Laguna or Jerez the gain is very small.

Q: You are already testing here in race configuration for the fuel consumption? For the 21 liters fuel consumption?

Yes. We are testing in the race configuration.

The Brno MotoGP test gave journalists the rare opportunity to speak at length with two of the driving figures behind MotoGP. As well as Ducati's Filippo Prezioso (the transcript of which you can read here), we also got the chance to question HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. Nakamoto fielded questions on a number of subjects, sometimes with a healthy dose of humor. He naturally spoke about Honda's new 1000cc RC213V, and the development direction HRC have pursued, but he also talked about the effect that fuel limits have on bike developments, including the opportunities they offer for developing new technologies.Nakamoto-san spoke about the effect that the earthquake and tsunami has had on Honda's production and consequent budgets, and the knock-on effect that this will have on the level of support being offered. He revealed that HRC expected to supply 6 bikes for next year, but only 2 factory machines, and he also spoke about the possibility of a switch from Motegi to Suzuka. Though he personally liked Suzuka, the track has not been approved by the FIM and would be unlikely to receive FIM approval for MotoGP.

Comments

SUZUKA

Interesting Nakamato San mentions run-off area at the hairpin at Suzuka. From my observations, there is plenty of room, and, I never saw any accidents there in all the years I went to Suzuka.

There are more dangerous places at Suzuka which are high speed, and, I could see from the telecast of the Suzuka 8 Hour Race, that there are now plenty of run-off areas, compared to the old Suzuka. Dunlop Curve, which was dangerous, now has a big run-off area. That is a high speed corner.

If the race was at Suzuka, I would be booking a ticket. Never to Motegi, though. Not because if any radiation fear, just that its a lousy track.

Total votes: 108

Funny

Thanks David

Great interview, entertaining and insightful.

Total votes: 105

Slight correction

Hi David,

Good article as usual, thanks.

Just a slight correction however. You wrote "...possibility of a switch from Suzuka to Motegi". Shouldn't that be "... possibility of a switch from Motegi to Suzuka"?

Graham

Total votes: 88

off topic: GB vs GB29

Ok, have to ask... what does your B stand for?
:)
Graham Byrnes

Total votes: 92

" ... what does your B stand

" ... what does your B stand for? "
The singular of what the GP riders have very large ones. :)

Does that help?

Total votes: 94

hmm...

...the most interesting part to me was the "termination of the contract" for defecting riders and how unspecific he was about if the penalties were going to apply or not...he was sort of flashing the katana to me...

Total votes: 83

Setting the stage for a negotiated peace

I rather suspect that Nakamoto was setting the stage for some sort of 'settlement with honour' all round if HRC's rider/s refuse to go to Motegi - allowing Honda to appear to be expressing solidarity with the people affected by such a decision by a 'substantial' fine - perhaps to be donated to a humanitarian fund for the good of the area- while retaining the services of its best riders.

I think Pedrosa and Stoner would agree with such a move, it would allow them to express some sort of 'this is a good outcome all round, we were able to exercise our right of caution and the people of the area will receive the benefit'. Stoner for one expressed an intention on the part of the riders to do something tangible to show their support for the people of Japan.

The possible six bikes in interesting - de Puniet would, I think, like to have a chance on a Honda again after his miserable year on the Ducati, and of course the possibility of Marquez being offered rapid promotion from moto2 is there as well. Dovi and Marquez at LCR, Simoncelli and Bradl at Gresini - food for thought.

Total votes: 100

I agree Oscar. If Honda were

I agree Oscar.

If Honda were aggressively pursuing heads on chopping blocks over the Motegi saga, I would expect their dialogue to be much more specific and hardened.

What I instead see is a more diplomatic approach, especially when compared to the sensationalist theories thrown around in journalistic circles over the last few months. Sometimes 'hits' should be weighed up with maintaining credibility.. but I digress..

There is no doubt than Stoner and Pedrosa are doing very good things at Honda at the moment, and the thought of Honda dismissing them over such a passionate debate (especially when it relates to safety) is laughable in my opinion.

Sure, they could terminate contracts over it.. but they won't. They'd have to be batshit mad to even consider it as a realistic solution, and to be fair - Japanese 'honour' has had more beat-up about it than substance over the past oh.. five hundred years or so.

I'd like to see Nakamoto fall on his sword should something happen to one of his riders as a result of going to Motegi. Let's cut straight to the chase - lets see this honour of which you speak. Let's go old school.

Maybe some journalists could join him? Shit's about to get real.

Total votes: 100

lose little? or lose big? either way they LOSE

re: "If Honda were aggressively pursuing heads on chopping blocks over the Motegi saga, I would expect their dialogue to be much more specific and hardened."

exactly. the "big bad bully" approach (in the context of nuclear disaster) out of the japanese on this will endear them to NO ONE. the majority who buy their products and hold their stock DON'T sit on the board of nuclear regulatory commisions, nor have taken advanced course work in chemistry. they can lose little...? or they can lose big...? and with the quake and it's resultant by-products... they've already lost BIG...! no amount of misplaced aggression (after the fact) is going to change this.

Total votes: 102

ridability

I would have liked someone to have asked Nakamoto whether the change to 1000cc engines has improved the ridability of the bike so that the electronics package doesn't have such a big influence on overall performance.

Total votes: 112

It's there

He said the electronics will still be needed for traction control and wheelie control, and that's why the engine would only be worth 0.15 - 0.20s/lap.... and that the drivability would be no worse but not better than the 800, because of the fuel limits.

Total votes: 91

He said the electronics will

He said the electronics will still be needed for traction control and wheelie control, and that's why the engine would only be worth 0.15 - 0.20s/lap.

My reading of his words is: the 800 already has too much power for most of the time on the track and has to be cut down to not wheely or not spin the rear. In that areas the 1000 won't produce a benefit as it has to be cut down even more to the same level as the 800's.

But still ..., Stoner was 1 sec faster on the 1000 at the Brno test...

Total votes: 106

1 second

"If it was the motor alone..."

Riders usually go faster on Monday anyway due to further set-up refinement;
New chassis;
New more flexible front Bridgestone.

Or, Nakamoto could be sand-bagging :-D

Total votes: 85

Riders usually go faster on

Riders usually go faster on Monday anyway due to further set-up refinement;

correct, but Stoner is on a new bike, he and his team know the 800 far better. So that might level each other out.

Total votes: 97

B/c

Stoner was 1 second faster in testing b/c running the bike in qualifying trim is probably part of the testing regimen. Without fuel limitations, the 1000s would be about 1 second faster per lap (at Brno) than they are in race trim.

Look at how close the testing times are. I'd like to watch that race; especially since the 1000s have the torque to block pass. Alas, HRC control the sport so we are stuck with fuel limitations and anemic grids.

Total votes: 92

Stoner was 1 second faster in

Stoner was 1 second faster in testing b/c running the bike in qualifying trim is probably part of the testing regimen.

According to Nakamoto-san:

Yes. We are testing in the race configuration.

Total votes: 93

1 button

A MotoGP rider only needs to flip one button or toggle one switch to get into qualifying trim.

I was a little bit disappointed in the question b/c teams are obviously testing in race trim. It is less certain whether or not they are testing in qualifying trim as well.

Nakamoto-san said the bikes would only be .2 faster in racing trim. Casey was 1 second faster a Brno. Two scenarios, imo. 1. Nakamoto doesn't know what he's talking about (lol) 2. Casey wasn't in racing trim when he set his fastest lap.

Total votes: 89

Good try

However if you consider that Stoner probably qualified...in qualifying trim, his Monday test time on the RC213V is still a massive 0"7 improvement over his time on the RC212V.

Total votes: 86

Of course

The MSMA have some 19,000rpm agreement working behind the scenes. Furthermore, the 800cc engines must make 3 races so they may be a bit detuned for mileage as well.

The RC213V should have at least 20hp more than the RC212V, and the additional torque, while mainly useless when the bike is upright at 100% throttle, is probably quite beneficial in the slower stadium section and the long climb up the hill.

They are also on the 2012 Bridgestone spec, I believe.

Total votes: 98

Do you read?

1. Same fuel=> same energy => same average horsepower.
2. Torque is limited by traction control or by rider's wrist except at the end of the straights
3. (from Preziosi) Torque at wheel is what matters, not torque at engine, and torque at wheel at the same speed is determined by... power.
4. Engine ALONE would be worth 0.2. There were chassis changes and new tyres... and different track conditions.

Total votes: 97

Qualifying trim

We were discussing qualifying trim.

Total votes: 100

I was thinking that if the

I was thinking that if the engine designers and the electronics engineers would not be aiming for top end power as they already have more than enough power with the 800cc which has subsequently meant an increased need for traction control to help control the high revving/narrow power band engines.The result of these peaky engines has meant that only a few more talented riders have been able to get the best from them.

The leading riders have either better throttle control and therefore use less electronic interference or their team have a far better electronics package (and electronics personnel) than the rest of the field and so they consistently are at the front of the field.

If they use the extra cc's to increase mid range torque it might improve the competitiveness of the less talented riders reducing the peakiness of the engines and reliance on and the importance of the electronics package. Thus we might see a more competitive field of bikes closer to the front.

We know that the works riders will be quicker but will the non works guys get a bit closer???

Total votes: 93

What about electric...

What really took my interest was when electric bikes were mentioned... He said they were not ready for racing, but looking at the development pace - they are ready on par with supersport times (which is faster than Moto2, or at least they were last year) so this has lead some involved with EV to say that they will soon be faster than MotoGP.

Now bow would they take to an EV entry that nearly blitzes the field? I'm sure it's not likely, much politicking would get in the way but it's a really interesting thought all the same.

Total votes: 94

I think comparing lap time

I think comparing lap time isn't quite enough. AFAIK, total distance of electric bike races are still far shorter than MotoGP/Moto2. If you increase the racing distance of EV races, the bikes will be a lot heavier because of the battery and the lap times will be much slower.

Total votes: 100

Correct but think of the rate of improvement...

Last year's TTXGP best lap was 1'44, this year's pole by Mission Motors was 1'31 and during the race they were consistently lapping in the 1'33. Plus the 6 first bikes all beat last year's lap record.

EV qualifying 10 seconds from MotoGP (or 7 seconds from Bostrom and Elias) isn't earth shattering yet but considering they shaved off more than 10 seconds in 1 year, it could get much closer pretty quickly (not implying they beat MotoGP next year). And it's already quite impressive considering they only started racing 2 or 3 years ago.

TTXGP race was 8 laps, which is obviously short compared to MotoGP 32 laps and AMA SBK 23 laps.
However, compared to the Daytona Sportbike race consisting of 10 laps it's fairly close, and Mission Motors was just under 3 seconds from Jason DiSalvo's pole on his Ducati 848.
Another interesting comparison is that Steve Rapp, both competing in AMA SBK (7th) and TTXGP (1st) is barely 5 seconds slower on the Mission Motors than on his BMWS1000RR.

Also you don't need races as long as in MotoGP to get an awesome show as proven in STK600 or STK1000 (WSBK supporting classes) with 10 to 12 laps races.

EV matching Daytona Sportbike laptimes (and race times) a couple years from now is not a fantasy, gaining 3 seconds in 2 years could definitely happen given the current rate of improvement.

Total votes: 84

EV qualifying 10 seconds from

EV qualifying 10 seconds from MotoGP (or 7 seconds from Bostrom and Elias) isn't earth shattering yet but considering they shaved off more than 10 seconds in 1 year, it could get much closer pretty quickly (not implying they beat MotoGP next year). And it's already quite impressive considering they only started racing 2 or 3 years ago.

... and consider that the e-bikes don't have a JLo, Pedrosa or Stoner in the saddle plus no Bridgestones on the wheels ...

Further, we are comparing the creations of small bike builders with the might of current MotoGP factory bikes.

Total votes: 91

NOT EVEN A FACE FOR RADIO

re: What really took my interest was when electric bikes were mentioned... He said they were not ready for racing, but looking at the development pace"

i didn't get the impression he was talking about pure EV, but hybrid EV... KERS style EV. at least 80% of the equity (if not more) in motorsport is in the soundtrack.

Total votes: 96

Direct Injection

Fuel pressure limitation is not so important to make direct injection for normal injection system.

Interesting. I was idly reading a Porsche blurb on their DI petrol engines. They mentioned an injection pressure of 120 bar, which is certainly not generated remotely by a pump! They also mentioned the same 10-15% efficiency improvement that was mentioned in the earlier Nakamoto press conference.

Although if it's already selling in Porsche show rooms, you'd wonder why there would be an issue about making it work on a bike engine... other than cost.

Total votes: 103

DIrect Injection Appropriate?

The question would be whether or not Direct Injection would be appropriate for a Bike, or any other specific engine.

Interesting you mention Porsche. A few years ago Honda Performance Development was competing with Porsche in the American LeMans sports car series.

Porsche came out with Direct Injection to improve efficiency. Honda never did (and still has not). The explanation I got at the time was that While DI was more efficient, it was not uniformly so and that DI was certainly not an advantage high in the rev range. In the move to DI, Porsche lost some top end, and Honda won the LMP2 championship.

So, it's not a slam dunk that it would be better for a High-strung bike engine than port injection.

By the way, the common theory in the US is that the Honda seamless shift bike transmission is a miniaturization of the same transmission used in the Honda LeMans cars and in IndyCar.

Total votes: 94

Top end vs efficiency

With my conspiracy-theorist hat on:

Honda have helped orchestrate rules that now favour efficiency via fuel restrictions, and lower revs via bore restrictions... and so maybe things are swinging back towards DI?

But yes, have just been reading about impossibility of getting good power from DI 2-strokes due to short mixing times.

Total votes: 104

Racing shouldn't have to care about fuel efficiency

"Anyway, good fuel consumption is better for worldwide, not only the racing engine."

I think it's a pity that racing has to be sacrificed for R&D work on fuel efficiency. But I guess that that's the only way the racing departments can sell the deal to the management...
But as far as I am concerned, I think fuel efficiency should be no issue in racing. While I agree that fuel efficiency is a goal worth pursuing especially for the mid-term, i think it would be more important to investigate into alternative technologies like electric vehicles or fuel cells for the long term. Because even if the fuel consumption could be minimized, petrol would still be a limited resource and the detrimental effects on the environment wouldn't go away.
But racing should be left alone, since the fuel consumption of MotoGP bikes has no effect on the "real world".
But maybe the will really make a technological advancement that will render the fuel limit meaningless. Fingers crossed.

Total votes: 103

Candid and amusing

He strikes me as a top bloke does Nakamoto-san.

An excellent read - most informative. HRC loves to set themselves engineering challenges.

Stefan Bradl to my mind would be a far better candidate than RdeP.

Total votes: 104

Do they really use Repsol fuel at all rounds?

Nakkers has been quoted elsewhere about the benefits of Respol fuel being developed for the bike. If it's true that they uniquely use Repsol fuel, how do they get it to Phillip Island, for example? Repsol doesn't have a single outlet in Oz and I imagine the story would be the same at other non-European rounds. As racing fuel is highly flammable and dangerous, I imagine it would be a nightmare getting a single consignment into any country.

Total votes: 87

Always done it...

Not many in Australia were using the Elf MITS42 unleaded 2-stroke fuel either, even though there was an Elf distributorship, so they would have needed to ship in a consignment of that each year. I imagine multinational companies get a more sympathetic hearing when they pick up the phone to a shipping company with a difficult request than would you or I...

Back in the Fogarty days, there would be a bunch of empty Agip drums about after a SBK, so it would seem to be standard procedure.

Besides, there must be some sort of Repsol distributor in Oz since the oil is/was sold in bike shops. So even if they didn't usually deal with fuel, there was someone to look after the import process and receive the shipment.

Total votes: 78

Oh Please bring

back Suzuka to the full time calendar! It's got to be one of the best tracks in the world.

Total votes: 95

I was just watching a YourTube video

of the final lap of the '93 race - Schwantz, Doohan and Rainey battling it out - lots of passing. I'd love to see it back but I'd bet they would need a lot of changes for FIM approval.

Total votes: 104

Capacity

Thanks for that David. I thoroughly enjoyed Nakamoto's non comittedness regarding just about everything.
81mm Bore and actual capacity was intiguing.'More than 800,less than 1000...
(laughs).' Given current chassis,fuel consumption,electronic efficiency,cost cutting etc. 4 x 220 cc pots = 880 is a guestimate from my side.
Honda, as incremental as ever. Gearbox and 17000 rpm swicth point.
Fools they ain't within confinement of the rules.
Neither are Ducati. Full blown 1000cc Ducati probably.
The fix is in the riders. HRC have them by the truckload.
Ducati stole the 800 march in 2007 with the engine. That's one side of the coin.
The flipside of the coin was someone had to ride it to win with t.
The Bridgestone tyre in 2007 was never a cause for complaint in terms of 2007 and Stoner's Championship.
Michelin filled 2nd and 3rd in the title chase that year even though they represented less than 70% of any grid that year.

Total votes: 105

Ducati stole the 800 march in

Ducati stole the 800 march in 2007 with the engine.

And Yamaha continued to steal it with the chassis for 3 consecutive years.

Total votes: 102

HRC

One arm gives MotoGP a warm embrace by building some of the coolest and most-technologically advanced bikes. The other arm holds a gun to MotoGP's back by imposing fuel-limits to control which companies go racing.

Everyone knows damn-well that fuel-efficiency technology can be developed regardless of the maximum fuel capacity. In fact, there is scarcely a moment when the engineers are not trying to make more power from the same air-fuel mixture. The 21L rule serves one primary purpose--to avoid horsepower regulations. If given the choice between horsepower limits and fuel limits for sprint racing, I'll take horsepower limits every time.

Nakamoto-san has already been reduced to begging Honda for reasonable budget cuts. Hopefully, the sycophantic geisha girls at HRC will realize that bathing Honda executives is not a good way to establish HRC's legitimacy.

1000cc, 81mm (or similar reg), and 24L would create a sport so flush with cash that HRC could sign their own paychecks. If they return to homologation specials in WSBK, HRC would generate so much revenue, they would call the shots in the motorcycle division. Maybe Suppo can talk some sense into them.

Total votes: 101

I spat hot tea out of my nose. Literally.

"I'm not politician, I'm a comedian as you know!"

Total votes: 107

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