MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
MotoGP 2017: revealing the factories’ R&D plans
We are in the midst of MotoGP’s winter testing ban but work never stops in race departments across the globe. This is what the big six have planned for 2017
The 2016 MotoGP championship was a season of technical transformation. There will be no big rules shake-up in 2017 but the factories are still hard at work getting to grips with last season’s changes.
Most factories describe their 2017 priorities thus: better turning and better corner-exit performance. In other words they are still getting their heads around the Michelins. In the Bridgestone era, the way to make a race-winning lap time was on corner entry; now the place to make a lap time is from mid-corner to the exit.
One reason the factories struggled to adapt to the Michelins during 2016 was because the tyres kept changing. Michelin had to learn on the hoof, frequently bringing new tyre specs to races, which required different bike settings. That should be less of an issue in 2017 because Michelin engineers have a full season of knowhow, so they know where to go with constructions and compounds.
At last month’s Valencia GP I sat down with one rider and one engineer from each factory – Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha – to find out what they’re doing to their bikes in their efforts to win the 2017 MotoGP crown.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.