MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
‘I tell Cal that with a Honda MotoGP bike you have to fight and that’s why we pay you!’
Everyone knows Honda’s RC213V is no armchair ride. But why? Best man to ask is Takeo Yokoyama, HRC’s technical manager who works with Marc Márquez, Cal Crutchlow and now Alex Márquez
What engineering concepts went into building the 2019 RC213V which dominated last season in the hands of Marc Márquez but sometimes made life difficult for Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo? And what kind of a bike is Honda building for the 2020 MotoGP championship?
Takeo Yokoyama can answer these questions like no one else. The HRC engineer joined Honda in 1996, starting out in the production chassis department, designing chassis for the CBR600 and other road bikes.
In 2004 he moved to HRC, where he worked on chassis design for the RS250 GP bike and MotoGP machines. He became HRC’s technical director in 2013 and technical manager in 2018.
Your biggest improvement last season was horsepower. Where did all that extra power come from – the intake redesign that we know about or from inside the engine?
It was a little bit of everything: the intake, changing the throttle bodies and a lot, a lot of changes inside the engine.
If you look at our 2018 cylinder head and compare it with this year’s cylinder head the difference isn’t massive. But there are hundreds of other small details. If you look at our parts list you’d be surprised – almost no parts were carried over from the 2018 engine.
Honda has always been big on reducing internal friction, so was that as big as the combustion changes?
It’s always both. Every year we try to reduce friction and we also try to get as much from the combustion as possible. Of course it’s always difficult to gain more power everywhere, so if your target is to gain more on top, then you have to sacrifice power somewhere else.
It seems like you made a big decision for 2019: let’s make Marc’s life easier, by giving him more speed so he has to take fewer risks…
How we discussed it was like this: if you split the whole track into different areas, starting from upright braking, then going into the corner, edge grip, traction area, upright acceleration; in all of these areas tyre grip is the limit.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.