2022 Sepang MotoGP Test Review Part 4: A Radical New Honda, And Careful Progress At KTM

It is always hard to decide which order to write about the manufacturers in after a MotoGP test. It is sometimes obvious, but at a test like Sepang, where there was a surprising amount going on, it is hard to rank the factories in order of importance or significance.

So leaving Honda and KTM until last should not be taken as indicative of anything other than authorial capriciousness. I had to pick an order. This is the order which I picked. It doesn't mean much. Because both Honda and KTM had a lot to test, though in slightly different areas. Honda continued work on their brand new RC213V prototype, which the public got its first glimpse of at Misano. KTM were focused more on the human side, with two rookies to get up to speed in the Tech3 team, and a new team manager brought in to smooth the running of the project.

Honda – Oh brave new world, that has such vehicles in it

The shock of the new is abating when it comes to Honda. We are slowly getting used to the idea that Honda has abandoned its previous design philosophy and has built a radically different machine. Yet the bike which appeared at Sepang had undergone yet more changes since its last outing at the Jerez test.

Firstly, it looked more refined, the fit and finish tighter, the bike looking more like it just needed the livery that would be revealed on Tuesday for it to be ready to race. The tail, in particular, is larger, reshaped, and smoother. That the tail, which we presume contains some kind of mass damper, similar to Ducati and Aprilia, is important is evident from the careful selection of photos in the Repsol Honda press kit. No rear shots are included, and close ups avoid the rear of the bike.

Honda brought a new engine to Sepang, as well as a new exhaust, the top tailpipe, which is attached to the rear cylinder bank, now missing the back torque exhaust valve which it had sported at previous tests. The engine character and exhaust pipe are undoubtedly linked, and given the lack of complaints about aggressive throttle response, there were probably internal changes to the engine which obviated the need to control torque with the exhaust valve.

HRC had a couple of frames to try, as well as different aero packages to try. But perhaps the biggest sign of how radical a change this is was the fact that Honda had brought eight of the new bikes to Sepang, and only one 2021 machine. That sat in Marc Marquez' garage, and was the bike he used to go out on for his first run to get back up to speed after a long layoff with his eye injury. He didn't use it again after that.

The fact that all four Honda riders, factory and satellite, had the latest bikes to test is an indication of how hard HRC are working. Taking data from both Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro in the factory garage, and Taka Nakagami and Alex Marquez in the LCR Honda garage means HRC have a lot of data to work with to try to get the bike ready for Qatar.

It was also clear that these bikes were all brand new. On Saturday, the exhausts on most of the bikes showed no sign of the bluing which comes once the bikes have been run in anger and hot gases have brought the exhaust pipes up to just below glowing. This was a serious push.

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year: 
2022

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Comments

Honda ominously good so early in the new season. Marc Marquez mending & making more muscles. MM93 may be physically better than he indicates in the above interview.

Please note street riders, any idiot can spin the rear tyre. I can smoke the rear on a 110cc Postie bike. Skill is required to made the tyre hook up! Dirt riders know this.

 

"Wet and Dirty track" 10am 1st Session Mandalika Test times

1 Johann Zarco FRA Pramac Ducati (GP22) 1m 44.830s

2 Jack Miller AUS Ducati Lenovo (GP22) +0.018s

3 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16) +0.395s

4 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP22) +0.431s

5 Miguel Oliveira POR Red Bull KTM (RC16) +0.615s

6 Alex Rins SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) +-0.380s

7 Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +1.450s

8 Pol Espargaro SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +1.478s

9 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +1.987s

10 Jorge Martin SPA Pramac Ducati (GP22) +3.205s

11 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP) +3.213s

12 Franco Morbidelli ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +3.398s

13 Joan Mir SPA Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) +3.724s

14 Enea Bastianini ITA Gresini Ducati (GP21) +4.656s

15 Marco Bezzecchi ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)* +5.412s

16 Raul Fernandez SPA KTM Tech3 (RC16)* +5.696s

17 Remy Gardner AUS KTM Tech3 (RC16)* +6.057s

18 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Gresini Ducati (GP21)* +7.894s

19 Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V)

I wonder what the next round of regulation negotiations will hold for the strained relationships within MSMA... I have heard a from a reliable source within HRC that they are not thrilled with all the gadgetry on the bikes at the moment. "Less playstation more riding" is what they want from MotoGP, this approach makes sense when you have the most talented rider in history riding for you. Added to that quote is, "At Honda we win with engineering not tricks & rule twisting" Modern MotoGP bikes steering wheels and dashboards look like something from a fighter jet....

Basically meaningless tiptoeing around. Because track conditions are so very bad, day 1 at Mandolika is a throwaway waste of gas, tires, etc. Too dirty. There should be a way to Zamboni a damn track by now. What, free trackday for 3 days prior? Drift cars? Look for yourself. Ontrack "action" from a half hr ago...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hKLRfe8PnUQ

^ Traditionally, Honda has won with engineering, rule twisting, and throwing money at a best rider? Then Red grabbed the rule twisting reins ushering in the Champ Electronics. Watch how fast top dog Duc becomes the bad guy...in 3,2,1 Summer.

Honda lost on aero. I hope they win on shapeshifters. Irta, look at the likely scorecard. Duc will largely stand alone. Oh how tides change. Vote no on shapeshifter plz. Start device only. Carry on. 

Please don't mention the lack of "meaning" my friend.

The times have come down, speeds are up.

CrackerJack fasterest with less than an hour till stumps on day one.

1
43
J. MILLER
1:33.114
2
12
M. VIÑALES
+0.033
3
42
A. RINS
+0.092
4
4
A. DOVIZIOSO
+0.131
5
20
F. QUARTARARO
+0.214
6
89
J. MARTIN
+0.244
7
30
T. NAKAGAMI
+0.280
8
33
B. BINDER
+0.288
9
41
A. ESPARGARO
+0.303
10
44
P. ESPARGAROS

It is impossible to differentiate rider from the rider/bike/garage package. Nearly a meaningless exercise, ranking the 2022 riders at this point in time. So...

Quartararo
Marquez
Bagnaia
Mir
Martin
B.Binder
Dovisioso
Vinales
Bastiannini
P.Espargaro
Miller
Oliveira
Rins
Zarco
A.Espargaro
Morbidelli
Nakagami
Gardner
A.Marquez
Fernandez
Marini
Bezzecchi 
Di Giannantonio 
D.Binder

It was not possible. Did it in one quick go, the order they came out of my posterior. It is rubbish for arguments' sake. So now it is possible? Schrodinger's cat style, now it is there because you looked at it. Hah!

The generality of what zone seems reasonably legitimate. It isn't ALL reductionistically arbitrary, right? D.Binder isn't first, Quartararo isn't last. The middle group, around #6 through #16, really bugs me. No matter what anyone does in there, it won't be good enough discernment. How can we not be arbitrary in some way? "Just my subjective take." I already would change several, but seems like it would be endless folly fiddling about. 

Is there reality at all? The conclusion that there is shared consensus reality may hold up pretty well. The definition of real seems to go by a few definitions. If everyone that has ever read this site did a ranking, then conglomerate them throwing out anomalies, we get "consensus reality." If it is crystal ball/tea leaf business, it isn't possible to say that it is anything else, right? 

So the fun begins when it is about something that is GOING to occur. Like me getting my first Ducati jersey when Quartararo's signing is announced. Or when I beat Cloverleaf (#1 plateholder, I think I was 2nd) predicting the 2022 Top 5.  

Started a betting pool for the 2006 MotoGP season. You put in a bit of money, and ranked the entire grid for how well they would do for the season. It was really cool! The system was elegantly simple. It made people really think about and take stock in the WHOLE grid. You start seeing races within races. Btw, we had around 25 of us for 2006 and I won it. I've had a pretty good knack for it. 

Try it! It is horribly fun. Delightfully painful. Took one quick first go at guessing the order of the whole field at the end of the season. It really makes one think! I would want to sleep on it and do another adjustment, but off the top of the head in resonance with the belly...

Bagnaia
Marquez
Quartararo
Mir
Martin
Miller
Bastiannini
P.Espargaro
B.Binder
Rins
Zarco
Vinales
Oliveira
A.Espargaro
Morbidelli
A.Marquez
Dovisioso
Nakagami
Marini
Bezzecchi
Gardner
Fernandez
Di Giannantonio 
D.Binder

is looking fugly.

Like F1 machines have been getting more and more Fugly over the years.

I think it has been looking better, the original "Fokker Triplane" huge 3 loop Ducati deal looked horrible. I think a few look GREAT! (Doing highlighted color on them like Pramac is horrible methinks). 

The tech is on the Producton bikes! Ok. Now, about those damned shapeshifters...

:/