Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Will F1 tyre-cooling wheel rims soon feature on MotoGP bikes?

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.


Will F1 tyre-cooling wheel rims soon feature on MotoGP bikes?

Controlling tyre temperature and pressure is vital to winning MotoGP races, so how long before F1’s special tyre-cooling wheel rims arrive in MotoGP?

Tyre temperature and pressure are everything in motor sport – and not only in MotoGP. In Formula 1, or any other category where the stakes are high and the lap times are close, half a degree here or half a psi there can make the difference between victory and defeat.

Formula 1 engineers fuss over their tyres as much as MotoGP engineers do. The only difference is they have more money to spend on fussing about with temperature and pressure.

F1 teams have been using special wheel rims for a while. These rims feature fins, ribs and ridges inside and outside that increase surface area and air flow to get rid of heat more efficiently, not so much to cool the tyre itself, but to cool the air inside the tyre, which affects tyre pressure, which determines how the tyre performs and degrades.

Now, with front tyre performance especially critical on MotoGP bikes, it’s surely only a matter of time before similar rims appear in MotoGP.

The front tyre (as I never tire of saying) is the single most important part of a race bike, and Michelin’s MotoGP front slick is very susceptible to changes in heat and pressure, which affect tyre profile, which affects the contact patch, which affects turning and grip.

In other words, front-tyre pressure has a huge impact on lap times and race times, so if you can keep your front slick in its temperature and pressure sweet spot you will have an important advantage during qualifying and the race.

The problem now is two-fold – the racing is closer than ever, so riders are packed closely together, and a 300 horsepower 1000cc engine produces a lot of heat. This is why riders find themselves in trouble when they’re stuck in traffic.

MotoGP front-tyre pressure is so critical that bikes now feature warning lights on the dash that tell the rider when the pressure has increased enough to ‘balloon’ the tyre, which most importantly reduces grip.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Comments

Sometimes, looking at the array of lights and controls on the bars of the Moto GP bikes, I wonder when the poor bastids riding them have time to worry about actually rtfb! (riding the ... bike)

tells us that matt black is a very good emitter of heat, whilst shiny finishes will reflect better - hence gold foil heat reflectors and polished mirrors. Black will also absorb energy well, but it depends which body is hotter and will lose heat by radiation. Friction brakes are mainly cooled by convection and air cooling to dissipate the huge energy they have to lose in a very short period of time, but anything 800C above its surroundings will radiate a lot too.

I have become more interested again in F1 due to the fiendishly complex tech but I dread this coming to MGP. It is not just the costs, all this tech means speed and the cold tyre crashes at Silverstone may be an idea of what this could bring. Perhaps the days of 2 stroke type highsides could return - and no-one sensible wants that. Time for MGP to slow down and ban anything that is not transferable to or from everyday high volume road use. If we could buy it perhaps "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" would return.

WSBK.

i would actually like the prototype series to be more "run what ya brung". AKA old formula usa rules. fuel limits? nah. if you can strap a 55 gal. drum to it and giant radiators to deal with the heat generated by more power and it makes you faster, so be it.

But then again, unrestricted would mean  honda (nasa) would walk away with it.

it's  closer now than ever, so probably not good if i were on the rules committee...

Best race cars ever, to my aging mind, were the run what you brung Can-Am cars of the late 60s, early 70s. But the series died for lack of money and competition, so you're probably right about Honda.

I see forks getting to look very complicated in the future. One thing i noticed about Ducati's rear spoon appendage is that the effect is very much influenced by the fairing. The relative position of these two radically changes once they dump their arse crank device. The angle of incidence of the spoon and the amount of the spoon which is 'proud' of the fairing changes with swing arm position....to some degree depending on the shape and geometry of the bike. Usually not so much but with the device it's a lot more. Lots you can do when parts move.

About the wheels, ideally you don't want to be adding to the unsprung mass but you've got some nice spokes to play with. Lots can go on inside of them if you chose to do it. Fins on the inside (or is that outside) sitting in the tyre, juicy fat hollow spokes on the outside circulating air somehow. Bikes wanting to wheelie or stoppie. Bike are changing.

Agree Wavey. Never understood why they were strapping wings to the fairing which would seemingly compromise front suspension settings. First sight of the swingarm mounted bill, and i was screaming YES ! Acts directly on the unsprung part. Simple.

But as stated above, smarter minds than mine are at work...

I refer you to....

https://motomatters.com/analysis/2019/03/11/analyzing_ducat_s_aero_attac...

It's not for downforce...however that might be a consequence, just not the intention ;)

I was more thinking around ways of using the natural or unnatural changes in the ride height to control airflow to aero devices. The spoon retreating behind the lower fairing when the back end is lowered being an example. 'Aero devices' does not automatically mean downforce.

A front fork does what a front fork does which includes being compressed. That motion cannot be used to change the position of anything yet it's impossible for that motion to not change the position of things attached to the top and things attached to the bottom relative to each other obviously.

The aero body as defined in the rules has items which are exempt from being considered part of the aero body, it gets quite convoluted. You can have a shape which is rigidly mounted to the lower part of the shock or caliper (or or or etc) and a shape which is rigidly mounted to the upper part of the shock or integral parts of either.

So you might have to have appendages mounted rigidly to both, the changes in position relative to each other achieving the same effects of having a movable device. In some ways like the difference between a piston port and a poppet valve. What you might want to use this for and what the return would be I have no idea. However, seeing how far aero has come in the last 6 years and being restricted by the rules it will only go in the direction of more detail, smaller gains and IMO crap racing.