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.
Honda's MotoGP bento box
A new part that Honda used at Sepang may help it catch Ducati on the straights
This Michelin promotional photo shows HRC test rider Stefan Bradl rocking through a left-hander during MotoGP’s first preseason tests at Sepang earlier this month.
It also shows much more, but less to do with Michelin’s latest Pilot MotoGP tyres than with Honda’s latest RC213V. Most of all it shows what HRC is doing in its efforts to eliminate Ducati’s top-speed advantage.
Apart from new aerodynamic designs, we rarely get to see factories working to improve straight-line performance, because most of that work goes on beneath the bodywork, inside the engine and inside the ECU.
Look at the seat hump (A). If look carefully you will notice that HRC engineers have attached what looks like a small container to the left side of the hump; rather like Ducati’s so-called ‘salad box’, which first appeared in 2017 preseason testing.
This one seems to be Honda’s version, a ‘bento box’ of sorts.
What’s inside the box? If you look at (B), you will notice that the small carbon-fibre pods that appeared on some RC213Vs at November’s postseason tests, protruding from the tank cover, don’t appear to be there. Those pods (see photos) hid various electronics cables and connectors, which had previously been mounted beneath the fuel-tank cover. HRC is working hard to increase horsepower and torque by improving engine breathing, hence the redesign of the air inlet and airbox which has necessitated the repositioning of various electronics parts and the steering damper (C), which no longer anchors to the lower triple clamp but to the top of the upper clamp (also see Marc Márquez’s RC213V below).
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.