Honda Releases First Image Of Production Racer MotoGP Machine - And It Looks Familiar

Honda Racing Corporation today issued the first photo of their Production Racer, to be sold to MotoGP teams for the 2014 season.

The photo was taken during the Motegi test at which Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki participated, which also featured the first semi-public run out of Suzuki's MotoGP machine. While times were reported by German-language website Speedweek, (see our time comparison here), no times were available for Honda's production racer. Honda comments only in a press release (see below) that the results were 'more than what we had expected' in the words of HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. 

From the photo (the close up above is a cut out of the full photo shown at the bottom of the page), the bike looks extremely familiar. The lines - as far as they are visible from the artfully out-of-focus photo, with EXIF data removed and supplied at a resolution designed to obscure rather than reveal - are almost identical to Honda's RC213V MotoGP machine. Fairing front section, tail and swingarm alll look the same, and the visible section of the frame (from the fuzzy detail available) does not look radically different. This would make sense, given that the bike is directly derived from the current MotoGP machine, and has been modified mainly to reduce costs. We will have to await further photos and details from Honda to get a really close-up view of the bike.

The first full public outing of Honda's MotoGP production racer is expected at the tests at the Valencia races, Honda having encountered some delays in the production of the machine. In an interview with the official website, Nakamoto confirmed several details about the machine, which he had previously discussed at the Sepang tests earlier in the year. Honda's production racer - which remains nameless at this moment - will run an engine similar in design to Honda's RC213V machine, but missing a few crucial parts. The bike will use conventional valve springs rather than pneumatic valves, run a conventional gearbox instead of Honda's seamless transmission, and make use of the allowance of 24 liters of fuel. The bike will feature Nissin brakes, and Showa suspension. As the bikes are to be sold rather than leased, teams will of course be replace the suspension and brakes if they so wish.

The price for the bike is expected to be around 1 million euros. HRC will also sell an upgrade kit for the bike for 500,000 euros, which will be available in the second year to bring the bike up to the matching spec. HRC have said they are prepared to build and sell five of these production machines.

The price of both Honda's production racer and Yamaha's engine lease package remains an obstacle, however. Although the Honda is sure to be a very complete machine, and Yamaha's engine has proven to be fast, their level of performance is still uncertain. With the CRT machines making major steps forward in their second year of development - much as the Moto2 bikes did in theirs - a CRT bike is looking increasingly like an attractive alternative to Honda and Yamaha's offerings. In the hands of Aleix Espargaro, the Aprilia ART machine has proven to be capable of challenging satellite Ducatis, while Hector Barbera has also shown the FTR Kawasaki to be capable of surprising the satellite bikes, though the machine remains down on horsepower. Engine upgrades are expected this year for both machines, bringing them even closer to the front.

This creates a dilemma for existing CRT teams. Should they remain with the bikes they know, and which are rapidly matching the pace of the satellite bikes? Or should they place their trust in Honda and Yamaha, and hope that those bikes will get them closer to the front than the CRT machines will? The big question is how competitive Honda's production racer and Yamaha's lease package will be. Some assumptions can be made on this score: without pneumatic valves and Honda's trick seamless gearbox, they will have problems matching the Honda and Yamaha satellite machines. And with Ducati starting to make serious progress in the development of the MotoGP bike, those machines will be harder to catch in 2014 than they are now. Scoring a top ten finish will be as hard with a production racer as it will be on a CRT bike, so it will be purely a matter of money. With CRT bikes still substantially cheaper than the production racers are expected to be, that could be a concern. However, with the Honda and Yamaha brand on the tank, production racers could be more attractive to national or regional distributors of those brands, potentially offering a new source of sponsorship for teams.

So far, nobody has committed one way or another. Teams are still biding their time and considering their options, waiting to make a decision. It will be a while before it becomes clear exactly which way the teams decide to go.

The full text of the press release issued accompanying the photo appears below:

Honda completes successful test of new production model for MotoGP at Motegi Circuit

Honda will unveil an entirely new production model machine for the 2014 FIM Road Racing World Championship, Grand Prix MotoGP class by the end of 2013. The new model will enable entrants to race in MotoGP at lower cost starting from next season.

Development of the model is currently slightly behind schedule but Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), with its test rider, managed to successfully test the prototype at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The test took place from May 23rd through 24th, 2013.

By conforming to 2014 MotoGP technical and sporting regulations, Honda intends to finalise the development and to announce the introduction of the model by the end of this year.

“The test results - comments Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of HRC – showed more than what we had expected, in particular, with its running performance. We are very pleased at this stage and we will announce more in the not too distant future.”

This is the original version of the photo provided by HRC, from which the above image was cut out:

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.... made a bad 4 stroke GP bike? I can't think of any, from any decade.
This will be no exception.

Wiggysan approved.

The NR500.

The big question is if Aprilia can supply a pneumatic valve head for the ART's, which would hopefully allow them to produce WSBK or better power while staying within the engine limits. The ART appears to already up to par on handling...

with that assessment based on all the new technology they developed trying to make a 500 4 stroke competitive with the TZs and RG500s of the day. Ceramic oval piston anyone?

This seems to be so far removed (In MGP terms) from a competitive package that I wonder if its just a polite rebuff to Dorna's insistence (?) on them providing 'production' racers'. I can just imagine Nakamoto smiling, shrugging, and saying "No-one wants them!".
Dorna's next move should be to require homologated machines/electronics (no mention of the differences there yet....) and ban factory one-offs.
I know, I know....but how else do you reduce costs and make semi-aliens competitive?
24l of fuel is not going to overcome all the other shortcomings.
I liked it when the likes of Elias could race a Rossi.....

Just no. Factory one offs are what GP are about. Get rid of the CRT BS. Go back to leasing engines. Like Yamaha are doing next year. Those are true GP machines. We have WSBK for what you're talking about.

Back in the day we had national and european championships riding production or semi works versions of the bikes that ran in world championships in 125, 250, 350 and 500, plus the beastly TZ750s! Wild cards from the national series were the norm and not the exception, with full grids of 30+ bikes.

Now we have national series that not only no longer bear any resemblance to the GPs, now they can't even wild-card in superbike because the rules are so different.

Just what is the function of the FIM these days? The rulemaking power given to series organizers has truly come home to roost so that even if Honda, Aprilla, FTR, Suter, Ioda and Yamaha et al were to sell their bikes cheaply enough there's no market outside of the MotoGP championship. The only exception is Spain where Dorna, co-incidentally, run Moto2 and Moto3 classes in the CEV.

Come on FIM get some structure back into the world of racing that allows and promotes progression to and from national series to world championships.

It's much more a business now than it was in the past. But that was the inevitable progression. Just as it was with the bike becoming more one off. GP has and always should be about what the factories can produce one off. Pure racing machines. It should be that way. Thats the mystic of Gran Prix racing. The fastest machines piloted by the fastest riders.

On the note of "getting a structure" so that riders can progress from a national series. Isn't that what they've done with Moto2. They're 600s, the number one selling bike in the world. Its up to the National series to breed riders, and they've made it an easier progression. They've dine away with two strokes because the factories are producing 4's in those capacities. Thereby increasing the odds that a rider from a national series can adapt well to GP. Riders that can adapt will. Those that can not, well, they couldn't take that next step. GP racing shouldn't be just a high level of road machines. It should be a similar yet different challenge. I think thats what we have with the 4 stroke 250's and especially the Moto2 class 600's.

Spain will probably be producing top level riders for a long time. The reason isn't because of Dorna. Its because they have a passion for the sport as a country. They in turn, nurture young riders and help them along as a country. If Argentina put as much effort as a country into GP motorcycle racing as they do football. They too, would be turning out great riders.

Frankly - so what with this Honda production racer!
Despite a multiple class system working for sports car championships and the LeMans 24 Hour, it's a farce that the season-long premier motorcycle world championship is divided into two separate tiers, where nobody particularly cares who wins the inferior class. Everybody knows the CRT bikes are only included so that the races don't look ridiculously sparse. It's almost the same with the satellite teams - can anybody remember the last occasion when a satellite bike won, or seriously contended on a dry track? At the present moment MotoGP is so dominated by the Yamonda factory teams, that only four competitors have a reasonable chance of winning - and three of them belong to one nation. Sooner or later, dwindling public interest will force these two manufacturers to confront the serious problem created by their enormous spending on technology, which leaves them with a near monopoly on this championship.
If anybody points to Ducati's brief success on a far lower budget, it now seems to be the consensus that it was principally enabled by Casey Stoner's extraordinary skills. Personally I hope that Suzuki has the good sense to stay out of MotoGP's extravagant private duel - since their return will only perpetuate this one-ring Yamonda circus.
I suspect most spectators would prefer to see a real MotoGP championship between multiple contenders on equally competitive machinery - which is why I always await the Moto2 race with far greater anticipation than MotoGP - and the same is true of World SuperSport and SuperBike.
The current situation is also creating a logjam of talent, and obstructing an international audience. Many exciting riders from other nations have no opportunity to further their careers because competitive rides are unavailable. The MotoGP suits need to remember the riders are the real attraction - they are the personalities and heroes - not the engineers, technicians or the executives of corporate behemoths.
Although I hate to say this, MotoGP needs to learn some lessons from the rednecks of NASCAR. Radical rule changes must be enacted to limit spending and increase competition, so that more sports motorcycle manufacturers will be tempted to enter race teams - otherwise MotoGP is doomed to become an irrelevant playpen for two giant Japanese corporations.

Spending is not the problem, and it's not in MotoGP's best interest to discourage spending by the manufacturers. The problem is a rulebook that allows spending to eliminate competitors by forcing them into a lose-lose situation. The first manufacturer to drop the spending bomb is the winner, and they get to install their throne on the worthless radioactive fallout area. After a winning a few hollow championships or after sufficient pillage, the kingpin coaxes back the competitors by promising not to win by too much.

The current fuel-capacity-limited formula is responsible for this mess and for the tightening technical regulations.

It will be very interesting to see who or how many take up the option of these new units. The CRT teams have come along in big steps this year, they seem to have the chassis working fairly well with the slightly softer tyres and if the engine builders find more power/revs without engines failing should be even closer. As i understand there`s nothing to stop say the Kawasaki engined teams developing there own pneumatic valve heads. The system has been around long enough now that there must be many available people with a very good understanding of it and short run production of such a head should be relatively straight forward. (Was any engine usage no`s for CRT`s last year available?)
The laptime gap from CRT to Factory proto`s has been nowhere near as great as the difference`s when Gardner,Rainey, Doohan etc were racing against RS 500 triples and the like. A lot of the Riders that have competed in 500cc/motogp know that no matter what they were/are riding thet wouldnt win races against the "aliens" of the time.
I think the manufacturers need to tread a very very fine line to be much faster than CRT`s but still slower than customer bikes. Which will turn out to be the best value? There has to be also rans to make the Aliens look so good.

If there are no CRT's and the factories threaten to walk away, MotoGP dies immediately. No team would have a bike to race, show over. Ezpeleta would have no bargaining power, none, and the class would be whatever Honda wants it to be.

With CRT, he can call their bluff. If Honda & Yamaha pack up and leave, it wouldn't be pretty (at first) but it could still run. So they are essential.

"MotoGP needs to learn some lessons from the rednecks of NASCAR. Radical rule changes must be enacted to limit spending and increase competition."

I understand where you are going with this, but NASCAR is not the cheap alternative you are looking for. Unless an entry price of $40-$80 million per car per year is inexpensive in your world.

NASCAR limits TECHNOLOGY, but not SPENDING. NASCAR teams spend huge sums of money on minute, meaningless advantages.

In my mind, the better example is FIA-ACO-WEC sports car racing. You need to cap COSTS to privateers. Whether that means capping the costs of leasing bikes and engines or something else.

Honda clearly has experience with this form of racing and should be fine with it. For those that are unaware, Honda Performance Development (the American Honda racing company, for those not familiar with Honda outside HRC) fielded factory backed LMP2 cars in the mid 2000s. They were all full-out factory teams with Racing engines, and they were not sold or leased, so they were expensive. The engines were based on IndyCar engines of the time which were leased to Indycar teams for $975,000 per season.

Later on, the ACO changed the formula. The engines in LMP2 cars had to be stock-based, the cost of the engines was capped at something like $50,000 per season and the cost of the cars was capped at something $300,000 and the cars had to be sold, not leased.

HPD set to developing an engine from a minivan engine and set to pulling all of the cost out of the car. They ended up with a package that sold for $300,000 or so to privateers with a $50,000 engine that performed as well as anything else in the class and won the inaugural WEC LMP2 title in 2012 as well as 2012 LeMans LMP2 class.

HPD also offers a Full LMP1 version of the car with the Indycar racing engine. But it costs $3 million a year for the car and engine. Privateers can race an LMP2 for about $1 million a year, including car and engine.

By the way, the cost-capped LMP2 class is probably the most-successful class in sports car racing, in pure number of entrants.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: If Dorna wants to increase participation in MotoGP, it needs to reduce costs to privateers. And it needs to do that directly by capping the costs that can be charged by suppliers. Trying to limit the cost by limiting technology is pure folly, as you can see in NASCAR.

I think Dorna is on the right track now.

I would have taken it a step further, and mandated that the full prototype bike leases be capped at something like $2 million per year for the same spec as factory or for last year's Factory bikes with updates.

But I think the next year will be interesting. My question is this: If you are LCR or Gresini, what do you do? Continue with a HRC satellite bike, or go with the Production Race bike? Or maybe one of each?

LMP2 instituted cost caps as part of a broad conceptual change in the sanctioning model to convert the class from air-restricted engines to full-on performance balancing. GTE is doing the same thing, and that's why ALMS was merged with Grand-Am. For all intents and purposes, ALMS became Grand-Am so it didn't make sense to keep them separate. Performance balancing isn't going to happen in MotoGP, which means the benefits of development spending will not disappear, and the benefits of spending restrictions would not likely be realized.

In MotoGP, quite a few companies can build a good chassis, and basically every other component is available for sale. For all intents and purposes, the cost of MotoGP is the engine and electronics. Engine and electronics costs are driven by attempting to produce 250hp for 100km over 18 rounds from 6 1000cc engines with just 21L of fuel per round. Altering those regulations will alter engine costs.

The global financial crisis and the disappearance of tobacco sponsorship effectively put all the power in Honda and Yamaha's hands. They have been the only 2 factories to have stayed committed through this time. (I leave Ducati out because they are still being bankrolled by tobacco money).

The financial crisis squeezed Suzuki and Kawasaki out and the lack of sponsorship has meant that private teams who used to lease bikes from the factories have not found the funding to go racing.

CRT has been aimed at solving both problems: It gives pure racing teams the option to get back into the game at a reduced cost, AND it indirectly puts Kawasaki, Aprilia and BMW into the series.

Sure it is just their engines being used, but in a way its an open door from Dorna as it gives them a taste and a way to prepare a smooth return. And before people start reminding me that factories cannot field CRT spec machines, I mean it gives them a taste of "being back".

I´m sure that Gigi Dell´Igna must fantasize with beating Honda and Yamaha when he sees how well the ART is doing. It gives him that little leverage to start working out the numbers and presenting a "Back to GP racing scenario". Dorna will push them in that direction over the next years by taking SBK closer to super stock.

Yes,the ART effort is inspiring but as I understand recent history,they are being aided and abetted by a tyre spec option to propell their status. I guess Ducati might like to do a few private tests with the CRT available Bridgestones.
Anyway,nice shot. If Shuhei is happy,it must be pretty good in its infancy.
I generally believe Dorna need to fast track along with the MSMA and FIM some rule changes to provide seperation and consistency between prototype and sbk.
Aprilia are are like milk,cream and sugar in coffee. x% in this series,x% in that series.All made to order whilst flying under the radar of scrutineering the spirit of the law.

So, if you want to run a "competitive" one man team with a Honda, the bare bones starting price is three million euros?

How many engines come with the purchase of one bike?

SBK needs to be dumbed down to STK level,if only because of costs. It was a sad day when I slavered at the prospect of STK on Sunday and the coffee break was SBK. STK is what SBK was as little as season back. Tight racing, relatively cheap,hammer and tongs racing. The closer the powers that be can get it down to STK level,the better. Right now,SBK is an exclusive club by virtue of cost. STK.
Take Donny. Yes I did watch all the races,but was trying to get data on the practise sessions regarding STK.
Sometime Saturday night I realised that STK was not part of the Donny calender!
What a shame. No disrespect to Sykes,Laverty and co, but I sure missed STK.

What is a laughable is that this production racer is more akin and relevant to their production bikes than the Repsol bikes. Spring valves, Nissin calipers, sounds like this format is what all of them should be using as you won't find a pneumatic valved bike made for production, nor one fitted with carbon discs, or gas charged forks,or the myriad of electronic nannies and sensors fitted on a Factory GP bike compared to a production bike.

IMO have the factories make production racers and let those be the Factory bikes. This would bring the cost of the entire sport down, would bring more mfr's to the party, would be easier to get sponsors to cover the costs, would bring closer racing, and you know what? The lap times would only be 1-2 seconds slower. With closer racing viewers would be up, attendance would be up, interest would be up, win/win.

Capping WSBK costs will help long term so couldn't the same logic be applied to MotoGP? Or are we going to let Honda and their checkbook continue to control the sport? Here is a great solution to the expense problem but nobody want to put REAL solutions in place. Stupidity and blank checks.

"Scoring a top ten finish will be as hard with a production racer as it will be on a CRT bike"

Though factory teams will be limited to 20L? How bad are these new spec electronics?

DC has really hit it.

MotoGP, with the tech regs. in the control of a couple of factories and the promotional company, has run up its own arse.

And the Superbike World Championship is going the same way.

And, as DC points out, neither of these series races machines that are raced anywhere else.

If some of the sanctioning organisations in other countries had any clues, they would copy Moto2 but allow engines from other makers, including 675cc triples, with tight engine cost controls. There are chassis makers and wheel manufacturers already supplying, and at least one tyre maker (Dunlop) with readily available rubber.

Then we could have regional championships (say a European Moto2 Cup, an Asian Moto2 Cup; a North American Moto2 Cup and a South American Moto2 Cup, as well as a a Pacific Moto2 Cup and an African Moto2 Cup.

Then at some point, we may just end up with a true world championship with riders making the finals by virtue of ability rather than their fathers'/sponsor' checque books.

How much credibility would the Olympic Games have if the athletes were only selected on the merit of their buying power rather than their ability?

Yes Baron, as you succinctly point out, MotoGP has long been on an anally upward journey. After the final flourish of the ROC and Harris Yams of the early 90's the well connected teams lived richly off the tobacco sponsorship and plied the factories with the exorbitant lease prices they demanded simply because there were no other competitive machines available, though even a leased NSR was no guarantee of competitiveness (just ask Chris Walker if his NSR was anywhere near the spec of Doohans).

Costs spiralled, grids shrank, even Cagiva pulled out of the self destructive technology arms race run by the Japanese who then, because they were bored with playing with two strokes and Dorna, forced by shrinking grids led themselves into a rule change to arrive at MotoGP and massively more complex and costly engine technology.

Initial optimism for the new class was high as the racing was good (if you were on and RCV or M1) and Aprilia, Kawasaki, Ducati all jumped on board the new formula alongside the last great pioneer and privateer KR senior who developed his own engine, then leased a Honda (similar to Yamahas proposed M1 lease deal) and lastly folded following a disastrous year with KTM. Honda could have saved him with an engine supply similar to their previous deal but chose not to. Kenny went home.

The monopoly of the big two Japanese factories slowly led to the smaller manufacturers pulling out realising they could just not compete with the megabucks they were spending. The cost of the change to 800's and resulting electronics arms race were the final nail. The global financial crisis only hastened the demise of the class as finally KHI and Suzuki were forced to pull out. Only Ducati survive thanks to Phillip Morris and now Audi, but for how long?

So we are left with CRT and proposed "customer bikes" once again, only now MotoGP has become so removed from grass roots racing it has no feeder series outside of the CEV, rookies cup and champions from production classes that must learn fast or watch their careers die trying.

We should remember that in the 60's Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha came to the world championship to prove themselves against the best in the world. They followed the rules of the world championship, built great bikes and won, but didn't come and demand the rules were changed to suit their machines and particular engine preferences, but somewhere along the way it became the Japanese manufacturers championship.

The Japanese have a phrase used widely in engineering "Kaizen - Change (Kai) Zen (Good)." Unfortunately their approach to change is steady, methodical evolution, not revolution or radical innovation and for Ezpeleta corraling them into producing customer bikes once again must be a massive shock to their corporate sensibilities. Score +1 for Dorna but sadly, CRT and customer machines are only a band aid, the gangrene set in years ago and must be cut out but I fear that radical surgery is now outside the power of the FIM and I do not believe they nor Ezpeleta have the stomach for it.

Will the series survive without a radical rethink? Rest assured that if it doesn't there will still be leather clad loons hurling themselves around racetracks at great velocity in one form or another, proving that they are the number one asset of MotoGP, and the development and structure that allows them to progress through the ranks to the very top needs to be in place. Perhaps it would be better and kinder to simply let the patient expire.

@David - do you have any insight onto why more national series have not picked up on the Moto2 and 3 formulas, are any looking at CRT?

Moto2 and Moto3 are much too expensive for most national series. Most series are running Superstock or Supersport equipment, with BSB clinging to a hybrid Supersport/Superbike with a spec-ECU. A Moto3 bike costs as much as an SBK for most national racing series.

Even if the nationals had money for the equipment, it wouldn't be efficient for GeoTech to process 200% more engines, and series like AMA or ASBK would probably need to find their own spec tuner and spec ECU provider. But, they have no business incentive to switch.

Don't forget that the manufacturers want to use the nationals to showcase production equipment and they are unlikely to be supportive of GP intrusion.

Can't see that a Superbike, with the amount of engines they use in a season would cost less than a CRT limited class, and SS600 engines are also in a much higher state of tune than Moto2. For national series racing other tuners could be sourced or the rules opened up to allow more than just one manufacturers 600 (or 675) but I don't have access to the figures involved in running in all these classes to make a comparison, although I'd be interested to see it.

Trying to think a bit outside the box it does seem like BSB with it's spec ECU and engine tune limits are not too far removed from CRT spec anyway, just open the rules to allow the use of custom chassis and you could have a hybrid class that at least mimics the GP class and yet also allows manufacturers to enter bikes that resemble their sales models.

The notion of high performance engine tuning is mainly marketing smoke-and-mirrors. The big horsepower gains are made cheaply. In WSS, for instance, a lion's share of the horsepower is just a long duration cam, revised rev limit, and revised ignition timing. Cheap. WSS also allows gasket surface planing to increase compression, which gives a bit more power, but the long duration cams and high static compression narrow the valve tolerances, and that's what makes the engines so short-lived.

Moto2 is tuned for longevity, and GeoTech/Honda are probably just using a different cam profile to keep cylinder pressure (heat) suppressed. GeoTech are probably tuning the engine to maximize valve clearance so the engine can be run longer without adjustment. As a result, the Moto2 engine produces less horsepower, but the parts and labor costs are probably similar to WSS.

SBK follows the same pattern as WSS. A majority of the horsepower boost is competition cams, revised rev ceiling, and revised ignition timing, but the rules are more relaxed so the manufacturers can chase small performance gains. They redesign the piston crown to change the combustion chamber. They put exotic valves springs, engine bearings, cylinder treatments and piston rings to reduce parasitic losses. They use aerospace-quality materials and manufacturing techniques for the valves, rods, cams, and pistons to reduce reciprocating mass. They replace the tank with an airbox for better breathing, but that requires them to install a larger carbon-fiber fuel cell beneath the seat. Before you know it, they've got a 7-figure hole in their bank account, and a dossier of technology they can't lease cheaply or sell to private teams. And that's just the engines!!

The manufacturers know their addiction is self-destructive, but they can't agree on how to kick it, and they're all junkies, which means they can't trust one another not to exploit revisions to the regulations. The national series have stopped waiting, and none of them still follow FIM rules. World Superbikes might cost more than CRTs, but the manufacturers don't sell CRTs at the dealerships and they aren't interested in using them to promote production bikes. Furthermore, the business environments are very different. Everyone in the SBK biz wants significantly lower costs. CRTs, on the other hand, are eliminating the claiming-rule, which will turn them into proper prototypes in the long run.

Anyone know what the quoted list price of an NSR500V was in 1997? I recall the story in AMCN which said you could just place an order at your Honda dealer if you wanted one, and the price was only in the tens of thousands. Only 15 years later and a somewhat equivalent machine costs a million.
The 2-strokes might have been becoming irrelevant, but they were effective, light and CHEAP. Little wonder the series is struggling.

Only 22 NSR500v motorcycles were produced by Honda Racing Corporation. There were 20 NSR500v motorcycles produced from 1996 to 2000. The NSR500v engine suffered from a fragile transmission. For the 2001 season Honda Racing Corporation updated the engine with a new crankcase set and transmission. In 2001 Honda Racing Corporation produced 2 NSR500v motorcycles which were raced by the Shell Advance Team. Several 2001 updated engines were sold to other NSR500v teams.

Unlike the NSR500V4s which were merely leased out to teams, the V2s were sold to teams, many of whom later sold them outside the Grand Prix arena. Some were campaigned in National races while many ended up in private motorcycle collections.

Simple prototype racing rules:

1. Race what you brung.
2. Race 1, X laps
3. Race 2, Y laps (opposite direction)
4. N amount of fuel for the entire weekend. Teams use fuel as they see fit.

One race can be a sprint where fuel consumption doesn't matter. The other race can be longer where fuel consumption does. Teams can work with whatever tire supplier they can get the best deal on. Teams should bring whatever technology they think will make them competitive.

'Production racers', in HRC and Yamaha terms, are just CRT v2. How are less-than-satellite-spec. bikes going to be anything but a failure to produce better racing and numbers (CRT has helped in numbers, but not the main element of competition) when 4 factory bikes dominate?
They should be obliged to supply equal (not 'satellite') equipment to other teams. That should include software too – everyone should have open and free access to the software if they use the same engine – that way the factories should have no more than a one-race advantage.
If HRC and Yamaha cannot do more than supply second-rate packages in comparison to their best, then that needs to be part of the change - what can they supply in sufficient volume? (All teams get all upgrades together and if someone cannot afford it the rest will have to wait.) That should stop (apparently) meaningless technology that has no commercial value being developed. Keep the trick stuff for the test tracks.

I'm amazed by the ability of the readers of this thread to completely understand the performance limitations of this bike from one low res photo.

Remember, Nissin and Showa have a long history in GP (look at photos of Doohan's bike for Showa, Roberts used Nissin) and are being used currently on prototypes. Or, the owner of the bike will have liberty to join the Brembo/Ohlin's cargo-cult if he wants to pay (and there'll be some cool Showa bits on ebay).

The only real info we have about performance is that the valve springs will be steel. And just like an ART or a Kawasaki, if someone wants to go build some pneumatic valve heads and bolt them on, they will have the freedom to do so.

Perhaps we are just realistic sceptics!
However, if Crutchlow says he wants one, or a satellite team goes over to them for more than one rider I will accept that I at least am wrong. Otherwise, I guess we just have to wait and see.

As you suggest, we don't know yet; but its good sport to speculate on probability.

Yes - those parts turning up on e Bay would be fun. No-one is dismissing the suppliers though, for most of us it's probably exotic and clever stuff - it's just that I get the feeling that having it on a satellite bike may be as much to do with Honda marketing as HRC prototype development. If Bautista took some convincing then some scepticism here isn't exactly misplaced.

Any word on a chassis supplier who is willing to wrap a frame around an M1 unit yet? I just wonder if they can produce a chassis that allows the rider to hustle the bike like an RCV rather than the super smooth Lorenzo style required by the current frame that Spies and Rossi both find doesn't quite suit their styles. In moto2 Suter and Kalex have different characteristics while using the same engine and Wayne Rainey switched to a ROC chassis over the super stiff Yamaha Japan one once upon a time, so the engineering skill definitely exists to do better than Japan can, or at least to produce something different that suits more than one style of rider. If the M1 lease engines are of a satellite level spec it would be very interesting to see a privateer entered FTR challenging or beating a Tech 3 that's using a Yamaha chassis.

Could you buy one and swap an M1 engine in it? Neither Honda nor Yamaha will be amused and it probably won't work due to engine layout being different. Like mentioned before the Honda engine will sell quickly on ebay lol

The question is- why? Was it just similar bikes, the tyres, power due to fuel availability, less/simpler electronics or bits of each?
I'm not suggesting a WSBK type package is right for MGP. Far from it.
With potential involvement from Aprilia and BMW (maybe Kawasaki after their WSBK resurgence) you could have 7 'factories'. If 4 of those produced 2 bikes and 3 produced 4 or 5 you might have 22 similarly spec'd bikes on the grid. Add one or two satellite type machines (perhaps similar engines to the factories but different chassis'.
If the rules were tighter in terms of factories not being allowed to keep technology to themselves you would have a good grid, perhaps 10 riders capable of a podium, on a good day.
If WSBK is spec'd to align with national superbike regs Dorna then has another series where wildcards can fill the grids, riders get to show themselves on more-equal machinery, and fans get more competitive racing in both series. That's WSBK for me.
MGP needs to stay at the pinnacle - the question is, should that pinnacle be big enough for 25 or 4/6? When we have 7 billion people, and over 100 million machines being produced per year finding enough riders and making those machines shouldn't be too difficult. Still exclusive? I think so.

David, I agree that the question is all about money. There are four positions at the top of each race result that are not available to any private team bar mechanical or rider failure in MotoGP. Can a CRT team hope to beat the factory teams by spending more on a low tech (relatively)production racer from Honda? No. Can they beat Yamaha or Honda or even Ducati by LEASING an unknown state of tune M1 engine and developing their own chassis with this engine, which will definitely cost more than the Honda prod. racer, No. The way forward for the CRT teams is to continue developing their own bikes and lean on a sympathetic Dorna to further adjust the tech regulations toward parity which the factories. MotoGP is whatever the FIM and Dorna define it as in the final analysis. We already has a Honda/Yamaha playpen and it's time to face the new reality of decreased TV and sponsorship revenues. Maybe the way forward is to ban direct precipitation from factories. Allow them to SELL production racers only with an across-the-board set of regulations to control technology. The CRT teams and natural competition may be able to control the prices of prod. racers and create real competition between factories and private engineering entities. There, that's my 2 cents.

MotoGP has NOT managed the transition from 2 Stokes very well at all.

The lesson was available from F1 in the transition of;
-carbs/mechanical injection to electronic injection,
-no wings to wings,
-no ground effects to ground effects,
-steel to pneumatic valve springs
-steel to titanium valves
-steel to carbon brake disks

The extra technology (read cost) has not added to the "racing".
By comparison, Moto2 lap as fast as the 500's (with a 600cc engine of lower spec than World Super Sport).

Both premier 600cc series have full grids AND great racing.