No Place To Hide: Testing Underway At Jerez - With Official Moto2 Engines

The results of testing for the Moto2 class so far have been fascinating, but they have also been fatally flawed. At the public tests at Valencia and Estoril, and at private tests at tracks such as Valencia and Barcelona, there have been two variables that have made interpreting the times more akin to the dark art of Kremlinology than to a straight comparison: Engines and tires, two of the most significant factors on performance of a racing motorcycle.

Without access to the standard Moto2 engine from Geo Tech, teams have been left to decide for themselves what level of tune to use for the Honda CBR600RR engine which the standard Moto2 engine is based on. Some - especially the wealthier teams - have opted to use the highest level of engine tune available, fitting World Supersport-spec engines to their chassis to allow their riders to find the problems with chassis and setup that are likely to appear at race pace. Others have opted for the cheapest possible solution - a standard CBR600RR engine with a few HRC parts inside to bolster reliability, rather than performance - to allow them to concentrate on chassis and suspension setup and run as many laps as possible without worrying about cost and expensive engine rebuilds. Still others have decided on some kind of compromise, using an engine based around a Superstock level of tune, balancing reliability and cost against speed, trying to get the best of both worlds. Another factor was also the tires: Dunlop brought a mixture of tires to the tests, and not everybody got to use all of the various tires available.

That is now over: at Jerez, the Moto2 riders will be testing with the official Geo Tech engines for the first time this year, and everyone should have equal access to the spec Dunlops. By Sunday night, we should have some real meat to sink our teeth into, with times set using comparable equipment, the only variables being rider skill, chassis development and setup.

If the rain holds off, that is. At the moment (Friday lunchtime) rain has hit the circuit, and is expected to fall for much of the afternoon. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is better, however, and the assembled Moto2 teams should get two full days testing in before the season commences officially at Qatar. Times and updates will be posted as they come in.

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I don't understand why would some teams want to use a higher spec engine for testing purposes?
What's the use of testing with an engine 10-20 hp more powerful than what you'll be using all year long? Seems to me that at best it would be a useless expense, at worse it would create extra problems that you won't even have with your Moto2-spec engine.
I'm obviously wrong because some teams spend the extra cash but does anyone have an explanation?

The question was actually answered in the story

> to allow their riders to find the problems with chassis
> and setup that are likely to appear at race pace.

Practice, all other things being equal, often shows a pace a bit under race pace. As such, sometimes chassis problem don't show up in practice but do on race day : bad.

A faster/more highly strung motor can force those problems to reveal earlier. i.e. if the chassis can handle the full motor at 98% pace, then it can handle the spec motor at 100%. It is the mechanical equivalent to a medical stress test. Heart palpitations don't happen in the easy chair. Do show up in a 10k.

Will the 2011 engines be the same as last year? Or will they finally be given the necessary increase in horsepower? A complaint last year by many riders was the lack of horsepower available from the Honda enige. Anybody an idea?

I understand that DORNA ordered these engines, and, according to HRC sources, "they got what they ordered and paid for". Main objective seems to be reliability, not maximum power output, because this is one way to keep the engine cost low. As far as I know, DORNA didn't change their order with HRC for 2011, so we will most probably see "new" 2010 spec engines this year - basically.