Misano MotoGP Test Subscriber Notes: What Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, KTM, And Ducati Were Working On

The Covid-compressed 2020 season has very little room for maneuver. To fit fourteen races into nineteen weeks means making a lot of sacrifices. One of those sacrifices is testing: of the original three one-day post-race tests planned, only one remains, at Misano, on Tuesday.

What is the point of a midweek test in the middle of a year where so much development has been frozen to cut costs? "I think it's just a lot a people getting bored during the week, not moving anywhere, not doing anything, so they're trying to keep each other busy, keep themselves busy," joked Jack Miller.

The Pramac Ducati rider may have said that in jest, but it is easy to believe he is right. Engine and aerodynamics development is frozen for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which already cuts down dramatically on the options for progress with a bike for this year and next. So surely the teams and factories wouldn't have much to test?

So it was something of a shock to see exactly how much the various factories had brought to the test. Above all Yamaha: a new frame, a new carbon swingarm, a new exhaust, and that was just the parts we could see. Suzuki had a new swingarm, KTM had a new frame, Ducati had a range of parts that were hard to distinguish, Honda had parts for both this year and next, and everybody was working on the electronics. So here is what the factories were working on:

To read the remaining 2555 words of this article, 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.

This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.

If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.


Back to top


What's almost comical at this point is that Yamaha have needed to "fix" their engine for how many years now?  The more they throw at it the more it looks like to me of the V4 calling their name.  It's easier to fix the V4 handlilng problems than it is to wring more HP, torque, and top speed out of the 4 banger.

Taka, with the full support of HRC is going places.  HRC is being outclassed by Yamaha, KTM, and Ducati in this area.  Those factories are giving factory-like support to their main satellite teams (Ducati/Pramac). It took Marquez being out to clue HRC in to this? 

I get the pandemic issues, I think we all do.  But freezing engines for 2021 was not smart for their championship aspirations.  Yamaha in particular has some flaws so you've hamstringed yourself for 2 years instead of 1.  I think the factories should be able to do one engine change per season.  That way if there is a flaw with something, they aren't stuck with it for the entire season, and with the pandemic 2 seasons.  This would meet it in the middle from the original MotoGP days in 2002 when constant engine updates could be performed and stacks of engines being used per season.  I don't buy the costs savings.  They are probably spending way way more up front on the sealed engines compared to past years, and I'm sure it's much cheaper than limitless engine updates throughout the year but like life, or politics, you need balance.  Sealing off engine development for 2 years or even a whole season is not balance.  It's extremism.  What good does it do you if you have some part of the engine that wasn't designed correctly and you're stuck with poor results the entire season?

We aren't at F1 type drama or technical drama yet.  But these factories are sealing engines for a season with no updates permissable yet they are blowing millions and millions of dollars on rear squat devices for the start and corner exit, swingarm spoilers, holeshot devices, aero, etc.  How about ditch all the aero bs completely, all of it, as well as the rear squat devices, hole shot devices, and all the rest of the trickery and let them update the engines once per season.  You canned engine updates, limited the number of engines per season, then thanks to Gigi you are spending the same amount of money per season or more, due to Gigi throwing the kitchen sink at everything else.  Can't see the forest for the trees..  Look at that Yamaha exhaust as an example to fix inherent engine issues.

The 4 banger works, certainly, but over a season the V4 will rule.  When Honda, KTM and Ducati can get mid-corner and corner entry solve.  Suzuki and Yamaha will be in the rear with the gear.

The first rule of racing is, "Everyone spends all their money."  If it doesn't get spent on item A, it will on item B.

The point of rules aimed at "cost reduction" isn't to change total budgets, but limit the marginal effect more money has. What Dorna has done is working, as evidenced by how astonishingly close the field is these days.

How about ditch all the aero bs completely, all of it, as well as the rear squat devices, hole shot devices, and all the rest of the trickery and let them update the engines once per season. 

Man after my own heart! Can't see any of that stuff ever being used on street bikes, which everyone claims is the reason they race ...

I thought Frankie's been using last year's carbon swingarm with the rest of the 2019-ish M1 all season?

Actually, if you're familiar with the golden era of near-limitless technology in Grand Prix racing in the 1960's (with 18.000 rpm 250cc six-cylinder four-strokes and the like), that new Yamaha exhaust looks very serious indeed. I love it!

Suzuki's bike (2016-2018) had a shorter exhaust than this one tested by Yamaha and t he tip had a similar geometry (increasing diameter)

i'm sure it is where it has always been, but it sure looks like they tried to hide the akrapovic sticker behind the new megaphone.

So interesting, a couple of weeks ago I was looking at the at Cormac's pictures here on the site and noticed that Yamaha was the only bike to have the exhaust come out right on the Swing Arm.
I was thinking there is going to be a lot of heat from that exhaust.

It's a possible source for their inconsistency in cold vs hot confition affecting how it works. Implicitly affecting in tire wear and tire heat.

And now I see they have elevated it. Could just be for power and/or it might be something along the lines of my thinking

What do you guys think?

I think you may be on to something there. I also wonder if that current short, slashed exhaust blasting its gases partly sideways isn't having a negative effect on tyre grip when exiting right-hand corners. It will surely be a small effect at most, but these days any small difference can cost you several places in MotoGP. And why not use exhaust pressure to add a few free pounds of thrust pointing more rearwards? They sure did that with WW II fighter planes with piston engines. Also, having the exhaust exiting more in the area of the tail may help a bit with aerodynamics, filling in the low-pressure area behind the rider.

I can even imagine that it keeps more heat away from the rider's right foot. I've read about riders getting heat blisters on their feet during the super hot Jerez GP's.

Many possible small benefits aside from the effects on the power delivery, which may still be the main or only reason of course.

That exhaust looks like a big silver band-aid and emits a whiff of engineering desperation. But, if one doesn't try one will never know what may come. Anything can happen. Couple months ago I witnessed flying motorcycles.

also on the S of Monster & ER of energy :)

All I can add is that, as a tradesman, it's a beautiful piece of workmanship. If that welding is done by hand that's pure class, almost perfectly even heat around each band and ripples to die for. I used to make and sell 'racing' exhausts like this back in the late 70's but they were a dogs breakfast by comparison and did absolutely nothing except make the bikes really, really noisy and burn your bum. Maybe for all our pondering these do the same, just make it unbearably hot and noisy for the rider sat on Vale's backside.

Soz, told you it was going to be silly.


F1: when they decided an engine limit, several teams said it cost MORE $$$ as the cost was in the first engine and sealing it. 2-3 updates/yr was way cheaper then the way it is now, but this is way above our pay grade!

BTW....when 'pogues' get involved, everything goes to S**T!

I've never noticed that Rossifumi sticker on Rossi's bike before, probably because it's right behind where his leg would be.