Sepang MotoGP Test Photo Analysis: Honda's 'Ground-Effect' Fairing - Was It Hiding Something More Significant?
There was a great deal of excitement when this unusual prototype bike (my shoddy phone camera photo) was spotted in the Repsol Honda garage at the Sepang test. Was Honda the latest factory to try out a ground-effect fairing? The obvious answer was yes, but this misses the point entirely. This bike spoke volumes about what HRC was up to at Sepang. And it had very little to do with aerodynamics. Or at least, it had very little to do with ground effect.
The changes at HRC – former Suzuki engineer Ken Kawauchi replacing Takeo Yokoyama as Technical Director – have see Honda go back to basics. At Sepang, Honda sent Marc Marquez out to ride the Honda RC213V with just a plain fairing, no aerodynamic wings fitted at all. "The new technical manager arrived in HRC, and he wants to understand many things about the concept," Marquez explained. "I was not asking about why this, why that. I was just riding."
Look beyond the ground-effect fairing on the strange prototype, and this bike too looks more like HRC going back to basics. To understand what Honda are up to, let's go through a few photos and parts, one by one.