Photos

Wed, 2019-05-15 12:35
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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. After every race, MotoMatters.com will be publishing a selection of Tom's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with technical explanations of the details. MotoMatters.com subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of the 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.


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


Ducati GP19 front wheel cover with brake cooling ducts (Danilo Petrucci’s bike)


Yamaha YZR-M1 swing arm attachment


Aprilia RS-GP swing arm attachment


Speed Up carbon swing arm used in Moto2


Honda RC213V "bento box" on Stefan Bradl's bike


ECU cooling system for the Aprilia RS-GP


If you would like access to the full-size versions of these technical photos and all of the explanations, as well as desktop-size versions of the other fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of these photos, you can email Thomas Morsellino

Wed, 2019-05-08 16:17
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A star is born at Jerez. We knew Fabio Quartararo was quick. We were surprised at just how quick


Whoops


Maverick Viñales had at least some of his mojo back. He was quick, strong from the start, and ended on the podium


You can't tell a photographer what to do. Even if your name is Valentino Rossi


Fresh from his success in Austin, things didn't go to plan for Jack Miller


Johann Zarco keeps struggling with the KTM. A lot of work still to do


Sweeping through Turns 3 and 4. The left side of the tire gets a real work out at Jerez


In MotoGP, even the doctors are rockstars. Dr. Charte (left, in the nomex racing suit) looks the part too, especially when he is in the safety car. On the right, in the white shirt, the racers' favorite surgeon, Dr. Mir


Ducs in a row


Tranky Franky (copyright Neil Morrison)


Joan Mir is fast, but still learning. Moves around a bit too much on the bike still


Quartararo's secret? He doesn't seem to move or hang off the bike as much as the others. It works for him, clearly


Cal Crutchlow, locked and loaded


Despite it being a tough year for Miguel Oliveira, the Portuguese rookie is making real progress

 


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Fri, 2019-05-03 21:29
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Ducati's new, larger aerodynamic wheel covers (photo: Niki Kovacs).


The original wheel covers from Qatar.

To see the rest of this gallery of changes to Ducati's aerodynamics, you need to sign up to become a MotoMatters.com site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

For more background on these changes, see the Jerez 2019 Friday MotoGP round up. 

Thu, 2019-05-02 07:05
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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

With fans and media alerted to its existence, TV cameras started keeping an eagle eye on the Ducatis, focusing closely every time they made a practice start. Each time we saw one, we learned a little more. That the lever took some effort to engage. That the riders were compressing the suspension when they stopped, to make it easier to twist the lever. And that the rear of the bike was significantly lower when the holeshot device was engaged.

Public knowledge of the holeshot device also confirmed earlier rumors which had been doing the rounds of the paddock. As more information leaked out, we could start to piece together a history of the part's development, and how it worked. And now, I have come into possession of a photograph of the holeshot device.

Naturally enough, I turned to friend and technical guru Peter Bom for advice and explanation. Former world championship winning crew chief, Peter has a keen intelligence and an excellent understanding of what a racing motorcycle can do, and should do. He explained to me what he thought the holeshot device was, and how it worked. The information below is based on his analysis of what he can see in the photo.

But first, some history. The holeshot device made its first appearance at the Motegi round last year, where Jack Miller used it on his Pramac Ducati. Miller used it for the rest of the season – with the exception of Phillip Island, where the braking for Turn 1 is not severe enough to disengage the mechanism after the start – and in 2019, it has now appeared on all of the Ducati GP19s, at the very least.

The device functions as follows: before the start of the race (or before a practice start), the rider uses their weight to compress the suspension, then twists the lever to engage the mechanism. The mechanism then locks the rear suspension in a lower position for the duration of the start. When the rider arrives at the first corner, and brakes hard before entering the turn. That hard braking causes the rear to lift, which in turn triggers the unlocking mechanism, which frees the device and returns the rear suspension to its normal operation.

It is something of a surprise that Ducati's holeshot device locks the rear suspension down, rather than lifting it up. Holeshot devices are common in motocross, but there, they lock the front forks down, rather than up. The idea there is to keep the front lower to help prevent wheelies, making it easier to control the bike off the line.

But Ducati's device appears to do the opposite, lowering the rear, rather than the front. Much to the surprise of Peter Bom, who had expected a holeshot device to focus on reducing wheelie.

That the device lowers the rear suggests to Bom that it serves a slightly different function, and that Ducati is not looking to reduce wheelie, but rather to increase rear grip. By lowering the rear of the bike, they place more weight on the rear tire, creating more mechanical grip. The fact that the Ducati is longer and lower than most other MotoGP bikes (also the reason the bike still suffers from understeer) may explain why Ducati is searching for rear grip, rather than trying to reduce wheelies.

So what exactly is this device? The photograph (shown below, for subscribers only) which came into my possession shows that the device is what looks like a miniature shock absorber which sits in the place where the suspension link would normally. The adjustable link (see the bottom of the page) is replaced by either a hydraulic or mechanical cylinder assembly, which joins the bottom of the suspension linkage to the swingarm. It looks like a hydraulic or mechanical actuator.

To see the photo of the holeshot device, you need to be a subscriber. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

Two things are visible in the photo. First, the piston / plunger. This is clearly an actuator, the mechanism which helps to change the length of the suspension linkage before the start, lowering the rear of the bike. The second, on the right, is a spring, which presumably operates the return mechanism.

When the rider turns the lever on the triple clamp, that must move the pushrod inside the cylinder to shorten the linkage and lower the rear. That, in turn, must put the spring under tension, which releases the mechanism under hard braking.

While the device is clearly the fruit of some highly innovative thinking. It also raises some questions. The link plays a vital role in managing the suspension ride height, and is subject to significant forces. After the holeshot device has been released after braking for the first corner, the system has to return to the position it was set up for, and remain there. It should not shift, changing the ride height which the team have settled on during practice. This means that Ducati have to be certain that the device will lock solid again after it has been released.

The addition of this actuator to the suspension linkage opens up some intriguing possibilities. In theory, it would be possible to adjust ride height during the race. However, as electronic adjustment of the ride height is explicitly banned, it could only be adjusted manually, or via mechanical/hydraulic adjusters.

Will other manufacturers follow suit? As Peter Bom points out, this device lowers the rear, rather than raising it, adding grip rather than reducing wheelie. For most other manufacturers, controlling wheelie at the start would be much more important, meaning their device would have to do the opposite to Ducati's holeshot device. That would make releasing the rear under braking much more complicated, as it would already be extended before the rider started braking. Discerning when to release the mechanism would be much more difficult.

Here is what a standard suspension link looks like, courtesy of Tom Morsellino of Offbikes:

This is the sort of article which our MotoMatters.com subscribers have access to. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here. You can find all of our exclusive subscriber content here, and see what you have been missing out on.

Mon, 2019-04-29 06:54
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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.


Ducati GP19 swingarm attachment
Peter Bom: The now (in)famous aerodynamic modification on the Ducati, which they claim channels extra air onto the rear tire, which keeps it cooler and improves performance. Since its introduction, we have also seen a similar device on the Honda RC213V, and we expect to see more at Jerez.


Honda RC213V swingarm attachment, side view
David Emmett: Compare and contrast Honda's swingarm spoiler (above and below) with Ducati's above. Honda's spoiler is much shorter than Ducati's, and is concave, rather than convex like Ducati's. One reason Honda's spoiler is shorter is because the fairing lower is different. The bottom of the Honda's fairing is higher than the bottom of Ducati's fairing, meaning there is more of the rear tire exposed to the air anyway. This may also be why the Ducati requires the front wheel covers to guide the airflow onto the spoilers. The shape of the spoilers are also different, and interesting. The Honda has a single wing or airfoil in its spoiler, which is concave. That would suggest the airflow is channeled differently on the two different bikes. A convex spoiler would shift air toward the sides of the tires. A concave spoiler would concentrate air on the center of the tire.


Honda RC213V swingarm attachment, front view


Jorge Lorenzo's triple clamp with the steering damper


Carbon swingarm, rear caliper air duct for the rear brake on Marc Márquez' Honda RC213V


Ducati GP19 dashboard


Jack Miller's tank on the Ducati GP19


Behind the fairing on the Ducati


Ducati GP19 front wheel spoiler, with mounting brackets


Ducati GP19 front wheel spoiler, before fitting


Aprilia RS-GP "dust catcher" system


Links for the Honda RC213V (Jorge Lorenzo)


KTM Moto3, naked


Honda RC213V, 2019 exhaust


KTM Moto2, with the tail section and tank removed


Cal Crutchlow's office


If you would like access to the full-size versions of these technical photos and all of Peter Bom's explanations, as well as desktop-size versions of the other fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of these photos, you can email Thomas Morsellino

Thu, 2019-04-25 21:00
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Chaz Davies has a lot of catching up to do with the Ducati Panigale V4R. Assen showed he was well on his way


Alex Lowes has finished ahead of teammate Michael van der Mark more often than not. Except at Assen, of course...


The moment of truth approaches for Eugene Laverty


Packed grandstands, blue skies, a perfect day for racing. If it had been twenty degrees warmer.


If you needed to know why Race 1 was rescheduled...


Van der Mark has an extra gear at Assen


Riding out of his skin, but still now winning. That pesky Ducati is giving Jonathan Rea headaches


Ritual by now: Alvaro Bautista takes victory in a WorldSBK race


Clearing the grid. Things are about to get serious


From Australia to Assen: The winner remains the same


MotoGP style. A little too MotoGP style, the other manufacturers say

 


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of thes photos, you can email Tony Goldsmith

Fri, 2019-04-19 15:07
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#69, still the star of the show


Youth vs experience. Youth won. This time, at least...


It looked like being a disastrous weekend for Andrea Dovizios after qualifying, but he left Austin leading the championship


Cal Crutchlow once again showed he had the speed for the podium. But he also managed to throw away a lot of points


Just like the old days. Valentino Rossi spent a lot of time in Parc Ferme in Austin


Take away the bumps, and Turn 1 - Turn 2 is one of the best sections of tarmac in the world


Fastest Ducati. Because you can't spell Australian without Austin


Hero of the hour. Alex Rins put Suzuki back on the top step again, for the first time since 2016


Fastest Honda? Takaaki Nakagami. A bad weekend for HRC


The Esses. This section is all back and forth


The sweet taste of success


How steep is Turn 1? This is shooting down the main straight from the top of the hill. Not from a drone


Winner winner barbecued chicken dinner


If you'd like to have very high-resolution (4K) versions of the fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of these photos, you can email Cormac Ryan Meenan

If you'd like to see more of Cormac's work, you can follow him on Twitter or Instagram, or check out his website, cormacgp.com.

Wed, 2019-04-17 22:00
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Alvaro Bautista's reign continued at Assen, though it wasn't quite as easy as at previous races


Local hero: Michael van der Mark always finds that little bit extra around Assen


Hard to believe, but it was snowing the day before


Johnny got beat. The reigning world champion didn't finish second for the first time this year


Focus. Eugene Laverty listens intently


A pair of nines: Toprak Razagatlioglu seems stuck outside the top ten so far


Thank god for tire warmers - temperatures at Assen were Arctic


A change of team has not improved the fortunes of Honda in WorldSBK. Leon Camier couldn't break into the top 10


New team, new bike, new motivation for Tom Sykes. Progress being made with the BMW S1000RR


Chaz Davies made a big step forward at Assen. It was much needed


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of thes photos, you can email Tony Goldsmith

Tue, 2019-03-26 22:08
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The MotoGP Court of Appeal has ruled that Ducati's aero spoiler, attached to the bottom of the swing arm of the three Desmosedici GP19s and used in the opening MotoGP race at Qatar, is legal. The decision of the court means that the race result stands, and that Ducati can continue to use the spoiler going forward.

Ducati's aerodynamic spoiler, ruled legal by the FIM

The decision comes after the Court of Appeal heard a protest, submitted by Aprilia, Honda, KTM, and Suzuki against the ruling by MotoGP Technical Director that Ducati's device was legal. After the race, the four factories protested first to the FIM Stewards, who rejected the protest, and then to the FIM Appeal Stewards, who ruled that they needed technical information to judge the merits of the case, and so referred the protest to the MotoGP Court of Appeal.

Last Friday, the Court of Appeal sat in Mies, Switzerland, the offices of the FIM, and heard submissions from Ducati, and from the other four factories who submitted the appeal. Ducati had Fabiano Sterlacchini present alongside Gigi Dall'Igna, while Suzuki and Aprilia had brought Filippo Petrucci, a Ferrari engineer who had worked with Michael Schumacher in F1 previously, to help present their objections. 

The case revolved around the function of the spoiler fitted to the bottom of the Ducati's swing arm. Ducati claim that it helps to cool the rear tire. The other four factories, Aprilia foremost among them, point to the fact that the spoiler has three horizontal vanes, which must, they claim, create some kind of downforce. 

New guidelines

The case was only made possible because Ducati and Aprilia presented swing arm-mounted spoilers to MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge to ask whether they would be legal. As part of the additional technical guidelines, Aldridge ruled that devices could be attached to the bottom of the swing arm, if they were solely to be used for deflecting water or debris from the rear tire, for the purpose of cooling the rear tire, and "their purpose is not to generate aerodynamic forces with respect to the ground".

Ducati managed to convince Aldridge that their spoiler was used for cooling the rear tire. No doubt the fact that the spoiler is only fitted together with the front wheel covers helped persuade him of their case. Aprilia, who had asked to use a device which they were using to generate downforce, and which Aldridge had rejected, decided to protest Ducati's use of the spoiler.

The MotoGP Court of Appeal has now found in favor of Ducati, ruling that the use of the spoiler was legal, and that they can use the spoiler in future races. This also means that the result of the MotoGP season opener at Qatar stands, and Andrea Dovizioso keeps his race win, and his lead in the MotoGP championship. 

This is not the final step in the process, however. Aprilia, Honda, KTM, and Suzuki now have five days to protest against this decision, and appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CAS. I understand that as yet, no decision on an appeal has been taken, in large part because the FIM only released the decision, and not the reasoning behind the decision. Without knowing what persuaded the three judges who heard the case, it is hard for the four factories to decide whether an appeal to the CAS would stand a chance.

Lessons for the future

Two things seem clear from this decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal. The first is that the MotoGP regulations on aerodynamics are badly in need of clarification. As an example, the technical guidelines issued by Danny Aldridge speak of "attachments to the rear swing arm". As some people have pointed out, this is easily circumvented by integrating the spoiler into the shape of the swing arm. These issues will not be solved by issuing further guidelines; it needs a full overhaul of the rules.

Which raises a larger problem. The MSMA, the manufacturers association, are responsible for the technical rules in MotoGP in the first instance. Any proposal for a change to the technical regulations must come from them, with Dorna and the FIM only able to put forward proposals related to safety. But as I wrote last week, keeping the MSMA together is no longer easy with six factories involved. There are growing signs of splits inside the MSMA, and open recrimination between some of the principals. Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna reportedly said in Qatar that he had been faced with "laypeople" on the other side of the table. KTM's Mike Leitner retorted that "nobody could believe that the race departments of Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda, and KTM only employ laypeople".

Ducati, and especially Gigi Dall'Igna, have made no secret of their desire to continue to explore the possibilities offered by aerodynamics. The other factories are much less keen, fearing the cost an aerodynamics war might unleash. The chances of  the six factories involved in MotoGP being able to produce a unanimous proposal on aerodynamics seem to be close to zero.

The FIM could still adopt a proposal not presented unanimously, of course. The rule book only obliges the Grand Prix Commission to accept technical proposals put forward by the MSMA if all MSMA members agree unanimously. The other five MSMA members could put forward a proposal which Ducati disagrees with, and Dorna, IRTA, and the FIM could consider it on its merits. Given the aversion inside Dorna and IRTA against aerodynamics, such a proposal should pass the GPC with relatively little resistance. 

But that is in the future. First, we must wait and see if any of the four manufacturers decide to appeal the decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal to the CAS.

The FIM press release from the Court of Appeal appears below:


MotoGP Court of Appeal hands down decision
Case against Ducati aerodynamic devices

VisitQatar Grand Prix – Doha (QAT), 10 March

During the MotoGP race at the season opener in Qatar on 10 March 2019, technical protests concerning the use of a device on the Ducati machine were lodged with the FIM MotoGP Stewards by Team Suzuki Ecstar against #43 Jack Miller (Ducati), by Repsol Honda Team against #4 Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), and by Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini against #9 Danilo Petrucci (Ducati).

The protesting teams considered that the device was primarily an aerodynamic device and therefore not compliant with the MotoGP technical regulations. After a hearing, the four protests were rejected.

The same four teams then lodged appeals against the MotoGP Stewards’ decision to the MotoGP Appeal Stewards and a further hearing was conducted. The MotoGP Appeal Stewards determined that further technical evaluation was required and that this was not possible under the circumstances. They therefore decided to refer the matter to the MotoGP Court of Appeal in accordance with Art. 3.3.3.2 of the applicable Regulations.

Following a hearing in Mies on Friday 22 March, the MotoGP Court of Appeal handed down its decision today 26 March and the parties (the four appellants, Ducati and the FIM) have been duly notified.

On these grounds, the MotoGP Court of Appeal rules that:

  • The appeals filed by Team Aprilia, Team Suzuki, Team Honda and Team KTM are admissible.
  • The provisional race results are confirmed and are declared as final.
  • The request to declare the Device illegal and ban its use in future races is rejected.

An appeal against this decision may be lodged before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne Switzerland within 5 days pursuant to Article 3.9 of the 2019 FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

Mon, 2019-03-25 13:50
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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.


Ducati “triple winglet” fairing on the Desmosedici GP19
Peter Bom: A tri-plane winglet arrangement must have quite a lot of horizontal surface area. By spreading that surface area over three wings, Ducati also reduces the risk of damage in case of contact with other bikes. Bikes with as much aero as the Ducati can barely be ridden at all without it any longer.


Knee pads on Jorge Lorenzo’s Honda RC213V (Friday night)
Peter Bom: Jorge is obviously still working on something he feels is very important: the ergonomics of the motorcycle. Here, and below, the contact points on the fairing which he is apparently using to support himself on the bike while riding.


Knee pads on Lorenzo’s bike (Saturday morning)


Carbon everywhere … holeshot device, carbon fork, thumb rear brake on Dovizioso’s bike


Rossi’s office – the Yamaha YZR-M1


Sensors on the Ducati GP19: two front wheel speed sensors, hidden gyroscopic sensors, disc temperature sensor.


Special tank on Jack Miller’s Ducati GP19


Suzuki GSX-RR "double exhaust"


Suzuki single exhaust from the official launch photos


If you would like access to the full-size versions of these technical photos and all of Peter Bom's explanations, as well as desktop-size versions of the other fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make MotoMatters.com, and the more readers will get out of the website. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of these photos, you can email Thomas Morsellino

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