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

Thomas Morsellino is a French freelance journalist and photographer, with keen eye for the technical details of MotoGP bikes. You may have seen some of his work on Twitter, where he runs the @Off_Bikes account. Peter Bom is a world championship winning former crew chief, with a deep and abiding knowledge of every aspect of motorcycle racing. Peter has worked with such riders as Cal Crutchlow, Danny Kent, and Stefan Bradl. After every race, MotoMatters.com will be publishing a selection of Tom's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with extensive technical explanations of the details by Peter Bom. MotoMatters.com subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of Peter's technical explanations of the photos. Readers who do not support the site will be limited to the 800x600 resolution photos, and an explanation of two photos.


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.


The aero fairing on Stefan Bradl's Honda RC213V To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


Yamaha YZR-M1 swingarm with two rear wheel speed sensors To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


KTM RC16 - Dani Pedrosa without a carbon swingarm, but a different tail To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


New Honda RC213V aero fairing with a lower winglet which is a little bit wider and larger (Cal Crutchlow) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


Under the tank cover of the Yamaha YZR-M1 (Franco Morbidelli) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


New Honda RC213V aero fairing (Jorge Lorenzo) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


Carbon insert on Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati Desmosedici GP19 To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


New Honda RC123V aero fairing (Jorge Lorenzo, from the other side)


KTM RC16 - Pol Espargaro To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


Carbon insert on Andrea Dovizioso's Ducati GP19 To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


Carbon swingarm, link, load cell for the quickshifter, transponder (KTM RC16 Pol Espargaro) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.


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Comments

Thank you all Thomas, Peter & David. Excellent work as usual here.

Gentlemen - thanks for this series - one of my favorite features of MotoMatters.

Anyone: thoughts on the long rod with the adjustment knob on Rossi's bike, below and inboard of the finger lever for the rear brake? It appears to have an unusual cross-section. Also looks like it has "Rossi" stamped into the side. Steering damper? 

That is his "retirement jaunce dampener", reducing some of his feeling of his reduced feeling to race on the 2017-2018 Yamaha. It seems to be working so far, but it is at full out adjustment.
Project lead Tsuntobegone said "rather than adapt our bike to the Michelin tires and championship electronics, we created a new retirement jaunce dampener for Vale. If you listen closely, you can audibly hear that the old Tuning Fork is now Pruning Torque. This device keeps him from being bothered by wheelspin, tirewear, and poor chassis feel."

When asked what was a surprising or challenging aspect of the device Tsuntobegone was clear: "2017 and 2018, the Tech 3 garage somehow fitted the device flipped reversed on the 2016 chassis...the resulting wish to forever keep the BIKE under you, with good performance in the same targeted areas. It did not reverse translate from French to Japanese. We just put one on Maverick's bike at the end of 2018."

The new tech appears somewhat related to the Ducati "Salad Box" one. Gigi was a unusually open, stating that "ours is a more advanced system developed to replicate the reversed deep flow dynamics of Australia for the nervous system. It affects the Southern Hemisphere of the rider, simulating the way that water flushes in reversed spin. This can make nearly ANY rider, be they from World Superstock or Malaysian Pocketbikes, feel deep within their pelvis and abdomen that they can ride more like Stoner. We have no retirement jaunce, and don't even need a top rider anymore."

Yamaha may just lately have been able to tune this retirement jaunce out of their bike, but with all the points Lorenzo scored bowling last round they haven't yet confirmed. It may be announced in Dutch Sunday.

yes, its a steering damper.  The ones that run along the frame are usually a little skinnier and longer than traditional triple clamp mounted ones due to them having to travel further (its a packaging issue, Honda have gone to radial ones for this reason).  As traditional ones though, there are still two chambers, hence your remark about cross section.