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Tom's Tech Treasures: Carbon Swingarms, New Seats, And Sensors Galore At Le Mans


Carbon swingarm on Pol Espargaro's KTM RC16
Peter Bom: Interesting to note that KTM's first attempt at a carbon swingarm gave an immediate improvement. At Aprilia, for example, we have seen a number of different prototype carbon swingarms, but the riders have so far always reverted to the aluminum items. Apart from the weight – Pol Espargaro says the bike is still around 5kg too heavy – carbon fiber has one major advantage as a material for a swingarm: you can modify stiffness in both force and direction just by changing layering, using the same mold. Producing a mold can be expensive, but because it can be reused to produce different swingarms, it is still an attractive proposition.


Load cell on the Ducati GP19, used for the quickshifter
Peter Bom: The red cylinder is a so-called load cell. It measures extremely precisely exactly how much pressure (in compression or tension) is being put through it. This information is used by the ECU to make changing gear up or down easier, by cutting the ignition once the load reaches a preset value as the rider presses the gear lever down or up. The sensors used in MotoGP have to be extremely precise, and most importantly, they have to provide stable output even when exposed to severe vibration and high temperatures. The bolt thread on a sensor like this broke on Fabio Quartararo's bike at Jerez, leaving him unable to change gear.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Carbon Frames And Aero Updates From Jerez


The carbon fiber covered chassis on the Honda RC213V test bike used by Stefan Bradl
David Emmett: This was the talk of the Jerez weekend. Stefan Bradl had two bikes at his disposal, this one, featuring a different chassis design (see the scalloped section in the center of the main beam), and the standard aluminum chassis. After Honda spent the winter working on the engine of the RC213V, they are now diverting their attention to the chassis. Riders have complained of a lack of front end feel from the 2019 frame, and this seems to be an experiment to create a bit more feel, especially on corner entry and mid corner. Marc Márquez tested this chassis at Jerez on Monday, and set his fastest time on the bike.


Another view of the carbon fiber covered chassis on Bradl's RC213V
David Emmett: A view of the full frame. The welds appear to be in the same place as the standard frame, but the top beams are different.


Bradl's standard Honda RC213V aluminum chassis

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Tom's Tech Treasures: A Close Look At MotoGP Updates At Austin


Ducati GP19 swingarm attachment
Peter Bom: The now (in)famous aerodynamic modification on the Ducati, which they claim channels extra air onto the rear tire, which keeps it cooler and improves performance. Since its introduction, we have also seen a similar device on the Honda RC213V, and we expect to see more at Jerez.


Honda RC213V swingarm attachment, side view

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