Thomas Morsellino

Tom's Tech Treasures: Yamaha's New Exhaust And Swingarm, Aprilia's Holeshot Device


Rear wheel cover on the GP19 and carbon swingarm.
David Emmett: The full set of rear aerodynamics on the Ducati Desmosedici GP19, from the swingarm spoiler to the rear wheel covers. The rear wheel cover mounting points are clearly visible: at the rear of the chain tensioner, and at the front below the aluminum bracket with holes. The rear swingarm spoiler caused huge controversy at the start of the year, and now all manufacturers bar KTM have one.
Ducati used a loophole in the regulations to use the swingarm spoiler and wheel covers, but this loophole will be closed for 2020. For next season, all parts which are not part of the structural part of the motorcycle will be classified as part of the aero body, and so their designs will have to be homologated, with one update allowed during the season. So Ducati can start the season with one spoiler, and alter it once during the year.


Lighter front mudguard on the KTM RC16.
Peter Bom: Although it is a little bit difficult to see in this photo, the mudguard ends immediately after the double L of Bull. This leaves more of the front tire exposed, helping it to run a little cooler and prevent overheating. Some KTM riders have complained of this previously.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero, Exhausts, And Other Details From Brno And Austria


The nose section of the Ducati fairing
Peter Bom: This is a great view of the inside of the nose section of the fairing. This is the air intake, which channels the air from the point of highest pressure at the nose, then channels it around the steering head and into the airbox, and from there into the engine.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero Packages And Seat Units Tried At The Brno Test


Ducati swingarm and wheel cover bracket
Peter Bom: This is the rear end of the Ducati swingarm, with the bracket for the aerodynamic wheel cover attached to the chain tensioner. Above the bracket and at the end of the swingarm, we can see an accelerometer. The data from this accelerometer is probably being used to tune the mass damper in the GP19's 'salad box' to match the circuit and the tires being used.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: New Frames And The Importance Of Airflow - Photos From Assen And Sachsenring


The frame on one of Valentino Rossi's Yamaha M1s
Peter Bom/David Emmett: At both Assen and the Sachsenring, Valentino Rossi had two different frames on each of his Yamaha M1 bikes. One with a weld on the frame, one without (below). According to Maio Meregalli, the two frames are identical except for the weld (which is present, but has been ground down). This changes the flex a fraction, and gives a very slightly different feedback. At Assen, Rossi only used the frame with the visible weld.
Note also the rubber band being used as a brake lever return spring. Rossi is now the only rider using a rubber band instead of a steel spring, something which used to be common but is now rare. The spring/rubber band is there to give the riders enough resistance, a 'good' rear brake feels quite heavy. The spring is available in a variety of spring rates or stiffnesses (see the color at Honda), and the preload can be adjusted as well. No such nonsense with this old-school rubber band on a multi-million dollar racing motorcycle.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero, Tanks, And Exhausts From The Barcelona Test, Part 2


Switchgear on Johann Zarco's KTM RC16
Peter Bom/David Emmett: Color-coded buttons (with labels) on the left handlebar of Zarco's KTM, green for traction control (TC), red for engine brake (EB), colors chosen for self-evident reasons. The thumb lever with the N on it below the handlebar is used for engaging neutral. You do not want to engage neutral while on track, so it is locked out and impossible to engage during normal riding. The position of this lever varies per rider: Zarco is not using a thumb brake, so can mount it on the left handlebar.


Triple clamp and left and right handlebars on Johann Zarco's KTM RC16
Peter Bom/David Emmett: ' There is a lot to see here. On the right handlebar, Zarco has two buttons, again color-coded. The blue button (LC) is for launch control. What the green button (CE) is for is not clear, though the most likely explanation is either the engine kill switch or the pit lane limiter.
Note the slotted top triple clamp. That is one way of managing flex, something which Yamaha also uses. Look carefully at the small locking bolts running in the slots behind the triple clamps. This is a way of ensuring the two handlebar clipons are in exactly the same position on each side.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero And Frames From The Barcelona Test, Part 1


Valentino Rossi's finger-operated rear brake
Peter Bom: To be able to apply the rear brake deep into right-hand turns (where space to operate the foot pedal runs out), some riders are experimenting with the idea of operating the brake with one or two fingers of the left hand. Valentino Rossi is one of those riders, trying the system at the Monday test after the Barcelona race. The current state of technology in MotoGP, and especially the type of tires being used, makes using the rear brake crucial at various points around a circuit. The rear brake is used particularly to help the bike turn mid-corner. The question is now whether we will see more riders use finger brakes, and at more points in the track.


Spirit level on Dani Pedrosa's rear wheel
Peter Bom: A spirit level in the rear wheel, at a right angle to the direction of travel. Never seen one before or heard of one being used outside of endurance racing, where the wheel stand is asymmetric to be able to stand the bike up horizontally in a pit lane which is not horizontal. I would take an educated guess that the MotoGP teams use a spirit level to ensure the rear wheel is horizontal to be able to zero out the accelerometer sensors, especially the lateral sensor.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Wheel Covers, Carbon Swingarms, And More From Mugello


Carbon swingarm on Pol Espargaro’s KTM RC16
Peter Bom: In terms of shape, this swingarm is identical to the aluminum version. The advantage is primarily weight, of course, but also that you can modify stiffness in multiple directions quite easily. You do that simply by laminating in a different direction, by placing the layers of carbon at different angles. We can expect to see KTM bring a lot more carbon swingarms now. The initial investment is very high for the first version; making a mold to lay the carbon up in is expensive. But because you can create swingarms with different stiffnesses by changing the way the carbon is laid, it is much less expensive in the long term.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Carbon Swingarms, New Seats, And Sensors Galore At Le Mans


Carbon swingarm on Pol Espargaro's KTM RC16
Peter Bom: Interesting to note that KTM's first attempt at a carbon swingarm gave an immediate improvement. At Aprilia, for example, we have seen a number of different prototype carbon swingarms, but the riders have so far always reverted to the aluminum items. Apart from the weight – Pol Espargaro says the bike is still around 5kg too heavy – carbon fiber has one major advantage as a material for a swingarm: you can modify stiffness in both force and direction just by changing layering, using the same mold. Producing a mold can be expensive, but because it can be reused to produce different swingarms, it is still an attractive proposition.


Load cell on the Ducati GP19, used for the quickshifter
Peter Bom: The red cylinder is a so-called load cell. It measures extremely precisely exactly how much pressure (in compression or tension) is being put through it. This information is used by the ECU to make changing gear up or down easier, by cutting the ignition once the load reaches a preset value as the rider presses the gear lever down or up. The sensors used in MotoGP have to be extremely precise, and most importantly, they have to provide stable output even when exposed to severe vibration and high temperatures. The bolt thread on a sensor like this broke on Fabio Quartararo's bike at Jerez, leaving him unable to change gear.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Carbon Frames And Aero Updates From Jerez


The carbon fiber covered chassis on the Honda RC213V test bike used by Stefan Bradl
David Emmett: This was the talk of the Jerez weekend. Stefan Bradl had two bikes at his disposal, this one, featuring a different chassis design (see the scalloped section in the center of the main beam), and the standard aluminum chassis. After Honda spent the winter working on the engine of the RC213V, they are now diverting their attention to the chassis. Riders have complained of a lack of front end feel from the 2019 frame, and this seems to be an experiment to create a bit more feel, especially on corner entry and mid corner. Marc Márquez tested this chassis at Jerez on Monday, and set his fastest time on the bike.


Another view of the carbon fiber covered chassis on Bradl's RC213V
David Emmett: A view of the full frame. The welds appear to be in the same place as the standard frame, but the top beams are different.


Bradl's standard Honda RC213V aluminum chassis

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Scoop: This Is What Ducati's Holeshot Device Looks Like

The eyes of the MotoGP world have been on Ducati over the past few months, as they have rolled out new and surprising (not to mention controversial) engineering ideas on the Desmosedici GP19. At the Jerez test, there was an aerodynamic seat, and a brake torque arm connected to the rear chassis, and more.

But up until four manufacturers protested Ducati's use of an aerodynamic spoiler attached to the swingarm during the first race of the season at Qatar, all the talk had been of Ducati's so-called holeshot device. It first came to public attention when Ducati riders were spotted stopping at the exit of pit lane at Sepang, and twisting a lever on the top plate of the triple clamp (shown below) before practicing their starts.


Key for engaging the holeshot device

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