Major Upgrades Coming For Honda RCV1000R - But Not Until 2015

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 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, 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. 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  
  Rider Time Rider Time
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
Average   1:47.862   1:47.132
Difference 0.730


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This should definitely spice things up.... can't wait for 2016, "no more tiers"

What bullshit... Assuming steel valve springs really are the limiting factor, H*nda could whip up a pneumatic head in their sleep and have it delivered tomorrow.

I don't suppose there's any basis for the teams suing H*nda for some manner of breach of contract?.

Or how about a one-race rider boycott/protest, where they all pull off after one lap on the grounds that the bike's slug-slow speeds are unsafe?

I'm too lazy to look it up, but it would be interesting to see Aleix's and Colin's times. I know this is about the RCV1000R, but Yamaha's reference point would be interesting.

Here ya go - Aleix' Fastest lap vs Fastest RCV100R, and vs Slowest and Fastest Fast lap of Tech3/Factory M1s

Aleix ESPARGARO 1:56.192
Fastest - Valentino ROSSI 1:55.621
Slowest - Pol ESPARGARO 1:56.345
Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.224
Aleix slower than fastest M1: 0.571
Aleix compared to Slowest M1: +0.153

Aleix ESPARGARO 2:05.519
Fastest - Valentino ROSSI 2:04.152
Slowest - Jorge LORENZO 2:04.871
Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.477
Aleix slower than fastest M1: 1.367
Aleix compared to Slowest M1: -0.648

Aleix ESPARGARO 1:40.602
Fastest - Valentino ROSSI 1:39.339
Slowest - Pol ESPARGARO 1:40.340
Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.302
Aleix slower than fastest M1: 1.263
Aleix compared to Slowest M1: -0.262

Aleix ESPARGARO 1:40.937
Fastest - Valentino ROSSI 1:40.195
Slowest - Pol ESPARGARO 1:41.409
Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.172
Aleix slower than fastest M1: 0.742
Aleix compared to Slowest M1: -0.472

Le Mans
Aleix ESPARGARO 1:34.426
Fastest - Valentino ROSSI 1:33.878
Slowest - Bradley SMITH 1:34.246
Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.460
Aleix slower than fastest M1: 0.548
Aleix compared to Slowest M1: -0.180

Avg Aleix faster than RCV1000R: 0.327
Avg Aleix slower than fastest M1: 0.898
Avg Aleix compared to Slowest M1: -0.282

Even the readers here can give info you won't find anywhere else : )

Thanks for taking the time.

I'm sure that Soichiro Honda must be rolling over in his grave with this sort of too-little, too-late half-assed response from the company bearing his name.

I look forward to what Nicky Hayden, Hiroshi Aoyama and Scott Redding are able to do with a more competitive bike but it is shameful that they've had to wait at all.

Honda grossly and intentionally misrepresented the RCV1000R and can and should do better to correct the situation.

That's the worst good news of the year especially with Jorge unable to challenge, to at least have Nicky or Hiro give Aleix a hard time NOW would be great.

Instead it could be the last gasp for the 69 on a bike nobody should be riding and knowing Honda they'll take it out on the rider, never admitting failure.

The teams that fell for Honda's early claims for the RCV1000R must be smarting at Honda's carrot dangling at this point. While Yamaha is eager to back away from supplying chassis for Forward Racing and next year will likely follow their original plan to supply only engines to Open class teams. It's embarrassing when your customer teams beat your factory team after all. Honda is taking notice of this so don't except any parity between next year's RCV1000R and the factory racers no matter what they are saying.

Scandalous... Just scandalous. But I tell you what. I bet there will be even more heated racing between Redding, Aoyama, and Hayden to get that bike. Aoyama has been racing better than I have seen him in a while. Redding is a rookie in his first season but doing quite well. Hayden is an ex World Champ who just keeps getting the short end of the stick. I am beginning to think he is someone that Rodney Dangerfield, (American comedian), was inspired by when he said he gets no respect.

I will be watching those three very closely all the way up until the end of the season. Have a feeling that Honda want ANYONE but Hayden to get the bike if I judge on their history together.

"More heated racing between SR, HA, NH..."

Naw. I doubt any of them will get too excited about H*nda's latest carrot-and-stick gimmick.

Call me a cynic, but if I were one of them, I'd see this as a bit of a slap in the face.
"Sorry we lied to you. Sorry you're not happy with our craptastic bike. But hey, if you try EXTRA hard, you just might get a new cylinder head at the end the end of the year! Trust us, it will be a massive improvement!"

I agree it is a slap in the face for all of them. But Redding is up and coming and is hungry to show that he can beat Hayden. Hayden, for some reason or another wants to stay in Motogp where it has been shown for years that he will not ever get top billing treatment or parts that could win a race. NH determination to stay and be given good equipment and SR wanting prove himself for me personally shows that those two in particular, with or without the carrot will push to be the top Open Category Honda.

And really, Nicky in particular has been chasing carrots since 2007, and has been let down everytime. Honda, Ducati, now back to Honda... The history speaks for itself.

Whether the claim that Honda makes about how its interpretation of the rules resulted in the production racer is true or false, I do not know. But ambitious teams like Aspar and Gresini did not invest to build teams that they did to be saddled with a bike like the RCV 1000R. Honda not doing anything for them this year only tell me that they don't really care. With no decent upgrades coming this year, why should the teams be patient and place their faith in Honda in 2015 as well. What if another lemon is given to them with the promise that all will be well in 2016? I think Honda plays these games because it knows that teams have just one option - Yamaha, and that Yamaha may not be in a position to supply all the teams that are disgruntled with Honda.

That maybe the reason why Dorna should do something about enticing BMW, Kawasaki and Aprilia back to GP racing. Kawasaki for one has shown that it does not mind its factory team being given to Rob Muzzy or Harald Eckl in superbike racing and even started its 990cc racing with Harald Eckl. That should be the model for the future. Otherwise Honda will continue to play the games it does. Also more European manufacturers is a good thing to counter the power of Honda which is usually not opposed by the other Japanese factories. Ducati, Aprilia, KTM, BMW, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta should be given incentives by Dorna to bring them back into the sport. That is when all the rubbish of two or three tiers in one category will come to an end and Honda can be persuaded not to play stupid games.

I don't get why people are so surprised by the performance of the Honda and are being critical of the company. OK, they did claim it could lap within 0.3 of the 213V but were very vague on the details. Even an armchair critic like me called bs on that one.

Reputedly the satellite bikes cost around 4 mil euro a season to lease, while the RCVR costs ~1 mil and eventually becomes owned by the team. Was it not blindingly obvious that they would not be as fast as a satellite 213V? They stated from the outset that they would have steel valve springs and a normal gearbox so anyone with a brain would have figured that all other things equal you're not going to run with the 213V's.

The fluidity of the rules has meant that the RCVR was basically obsolete before it even turned a wheel in a race. It's a reliable and fast* bike out of the box, in both respects better than the old CRT heaps. That is exactly the market Honda were told to aim at and - 2 year non-ownership clause fine print excluded - that's what they've done.

* Relative to other valve spring bikes.

Someone's making sense! Excellent comment, nothing to add.

Does anyone know (i can't find it) if the terms of Nicky's deal changed after Aspar undid the Power Electronics deal? Is Nicky in for 2015 and does he even get to ride next year's promised .3 bike? I do hope Nicky can avoid another round of the unnecessary and disrespectful 'Rodney Dangerfield' treatment he got from Honda then Ducati and now Honda again. It's almost like he has Stockholm Syndrome.

Aspar with Honda and Hayden for 2014-15

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Power Electronics Aspar has revealed it will contest the 2014 and 2015 MotoGP™ seasons with 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, while also announcing a new technical agreement to compete with Honda Production Racer machinery.

From this article, it sounds like all of the RCV1000Rs will get the new engine starting next year:

"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."

Is getting pretty banged up. He may want to continue but what is annoying now may be unbearable in 5 years. I like the guy and all but I think he should look at what return he gets out of racing at this point.

He and Edwards came in together. Maybe they should go. When people are comparing you to a rookie that's not MM (ok, it's Redding), grab your hat and say its been a great party.

Don't forget the other inexpensive option for customer teams out there. An updated version of Hernandez's Open Ducati will be avail next season and I expect a customer to scoop that up as it is expected to he about the same price.

This is good news folks! I think Honda is making good here, things are about as I expected them to be so far but this is a very pleasant suprise.

What I didn't see coming? Pol Espargaro doing so well. Aleix isn't thriving as I expected...on paper he and his bike looked like it had top 5 and even podium potential to me before Qatar. And I didn't see the Bridgestone era end arriving either. Time to polish the crystal ball.

I find it quite amazing actually, that a valve spring engined bike is just 0.7 sec slower than the factory bike. And being reliable as well.

In the last season Suzuki was using valve springs, they were changing them almost every session !!!

Thumbs up for the engineers at Honda.

Like everyone else, I'm disappointed by the Honda'a lack of power, and by this announcement that motor upgrades will not arrive sooner. I'm guessing the delay of upgrades until 2015 is because the 2014 engines are already built and delivered to the teams (or to a European base). Probably five motors per bike are already "done." The Open Class rules allow 12 engines per bike and allow in-season development. But my guess is that Honda believes the economics of this production racer deal do not allow that.

Here is another guess... Switching to pneumatic valves means Honda will manufacture new engines from the ground up, not just retrofit of a couple of parts onto existing motors. With four bikes x four or five engines per bike... not a small job and not a small cost.

So I am thinking the order went out at HRC... "When we build 2015 motors, we will have some upgrades."