Gresini CRT Shakedown Comes To An Early End

The San Carlo Gresini Honda team have called an early halt to their shakedown test of the FTR Honda CRT bike Michele Pirro will be contesting the MotoGP series with this season. On the second day of testing, Pirro ran into a problem with the belly of the fairing grounding at certain sections of the track, according to After trying to address the problem via setup, it became clear that physical changes to the bike would be needed and the Gresini team decided to call it a day.

Such problems are normal for such a new bike, Fausto Gresini told The very reason for holding a shakedown test is to find problems such as these, he said. Solving them in time for the Jerez test due to start on Friday will be difficult, however. British chassis builder FTR, who built and designed the chassis and bodywork for the bike, have just a few days to modify the bodywork to prevent it from grounding, and it is unclear whether they will be able to fix the problem by Friday.

Before the Gresini team called a halt to the test, Pirro had improved his time by a second, lapping Imola at 1'51. That is still three seconds off the pace of the World Superbike machines, though the WSBK riders have a lot more laps around the Italian track than the 50 Pirro added on Saturday to the 20 he posted on Friday. There is still a lot of work left to do for the Gresini team, however.

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Other CRT bikes are also using the FTR chassis. Strange why Gresini is facing these issues?

The chassis most likely isn't the issue but rather the Honda engine's exhaust system positioning causing the covering belly pan to bottom out in certain corners. This being the only CRT team using a Honda engine is why it hasn't come up before.

...And as such has its own unique exhaust. And engine internals I would say. Some people really need to get the idea that CRTs have almost nothing in common with their SBK counterparts except engine castings...

In saying that, I hope they don't have to change it too much, I think its beautiful (Especially in black and red)

I'd be surprised if it is anything but a WSB engine. Since WSB has the highest spec production racing engines where would they find more advanced parts to use without long R&D programs to assure reliability? Honda think the CBR engine is a dead end for development and would not be doing more on it. I assume Ten Kate have not done these R&D programs as why would a WSB team test parts that couldn't be used on their WSB bike?

Aprilia's first CRT test bike was a WSB bike with carbon brakes and BS tires. Now they've modified the frame but I'd guess the engine is very close to WSB with maybe the exception of gear driven cams, which Aprilia say only help increase engine lifespan.


Although that really only applies to engine internals, I'd suspect FTR did the Airbox and non-CBR exhaust, and the exhaust can be seen on the Gresini website I linked.

I think using a WSB is more an exception than the rule in this case. The decision to go with a CBR engine in the first place was driven by marketing, I'd say no one really wants to invest much money trying to make it even close to GP standard, not just Honda.

Although hopefully, this may mean the long-awaited return of the Honda V4 road/race bike! But the last decade has been disappointment after disappointment waiting for it :(. This is what stops me from being a Honda fan, I'm more a Honda apologist as it stands...

They are having to learn how to build a race bike from scratch under the full glare of media scrutiny, and probably with comparatively modest facilities/experience - it's not easy. That said, it's sort of hard to imagine they didn't model up major components and check clearance at full bump / rebound, and if not at the design stage then on the bench.

Even though this all sounds very amateurish, I still find this is a positive for the sport in general. For some years now, about all the technicians in the teams could do was fiddle the clickers and change some minor geometry stuff (using parts supplied with the bike). Engines sealed. Electronics only to be operated by the factory guy. Not allowed to build any new parts even if you have the facilities. No real engineering at all, that's all done at HQ and doled out on the basis of where they wanted the bike to finish.

The CRT thing will mean engineering comes back into the broader sport.

If they really had to cut it short because the belly pan/exhausts were dragging, this is kind of what I was talking about when I said you don't miss an opportunity to test because the seat's not ready ...