Honda's RCV1000R production racer is due to get some upgrades after all, but those upgrades are not set to come until 2015, according to reports on GPOne.com. The performance of the RCV1000R has been a source of some disappointment for the teams who stumped up the roughly 1 million euros a season the bike costs, as well as for the riders who have been hired to race the bike. After reports that a Honda test rider had lapped with 0.3 seconds of the factory RC213V machine, expectations of the bike were very high indeed.
On the track, the RCV1000R has not got anywhere near the times expected of it. Comparing the fastest race lap of the fastest RCV1000R rider against the slowest RC213V rider shows an average difference of 0.730 seconds over the first five races of the season, four tenths more than Honda had managed with a test rider. Teams have complained, riders have been open in criticizing the lack of power, and the current teams have been eyeing the Open class Yamahas fielded by the NGM Forward team with some interest.
The Open Yamaha bikes look set to be the path which Honda has also chosen to follow, GPOne.com is reporting. The Honda production racer is to get the full RC213V engine, complete with pneumatic valves but without seamless transmission, from the beginning of next year. Using the RC213V engine in the production racer in 2015 will help Honda prepare for 2016, when spec software becomes compulsory for all MotoGP machines. Yamaha has already benefited from running the M1 engine in the Open class with Forward for much the same reason.
Though the RCV1000R will not get the seamless gearbox - that technology is too sensitive to be given away - pneumatic valves will remove the biggest weakness of the production Honda. All of the production Honda riders have complained of a lack of acceleration, and pointed to it as being the place where they have lost the most ground to the Factory Option machines. Pneumatic valves will allow for more aggressive cam profiles and greater valve opening, which will help to boost midrange power and torque. They also allow the engine to rev higher, producing more peak horsepower. For a fascinating breakdown on the benefits of pneumatic valves, see Kevin Cameron's explanation on the Cycle World website.
Work is to start on early versions of the uprated engine soon, and Honda have given RCV1000R riders Nicky Hayden, Hiroshi Aoyama, Scott Redding and Karel Abraham some suitable motivation for the rest of the 2014 season. GPOne.com is reporting that Honda is to bring a single, uprated RCV1000R to the last races of this season, most likely starting from Motegi. The bike will be given to the highest-placed rider in the standings, who will get to use it for the remaining races. His input will then help develop the 2015 version of the bike.
Below the difference in fastest race laps between the fastest production racer and the slowest factory bike:
|Fastest RCV1000R||Slowest RC213V|
|Qatar||Scott Redding||1:56.416||Stefan Bradl||1:55.937|
|Austin||Scott Redding||2:05.996||Stefan Bradl||2:04.462|
|Argentina||Hiroshi Aoyama||1:40.904||Stefan Bradl||1:40.093|
|Jerez||Scott Redding||1:41.109||Alvaro Bautista||1:41.153|
|Le Mans||Scott Redding||1:34.886||Stefan Bradl||1:34.017|