First Day Of Aragon Test A Washout, As Honda Ramps Up The Pressure With New Bike

Honda's decision to skip the MotoGP test at Barcelona has so far not paid off. The first day of their three-day test at the Motorland Aragon circuit was an absolute washout, with torrential rain forcing the Honda riders to spend almost all day in the garages. Only Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista put in a few laps, Bradl shaking down the 2014 version of the RC213V which Honda has brought to the test, and Bautista checking a few things from Barcelona. Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez did not venture out on track.

Instead, Honda took the time to introduce the 2014 version of the RC213V they are planning to test in Aragon. The bike is completely new, including a new engine and chassis, the engine ready to manage the reduced fuel allowance (cut from 21 to 20 liters) to be introduced at the request of the MSMA from next year. The plan is that if Pedrosa and Marquez prefer the bike to their current machine, they could get the machine early, perhaps as early as the next race, at least as far as the chassis is concerned.

HRC's technical director Takeo Yokoyama spoke to MCN's Matthew Birt at Aragon, to provide more details. The full story is here, but the most worrying revelation is that the new engine produces more power and has improved power delivery, despite the reduction in fuel consumption. Improved throttle connection at the bottom end and mid range had been important, Yokoyama told MCN. Like Suzuki, Honda have not yet started using the Magneti Marelli spec ECU, but work has already started on porting software from HRC's proprietary ECU to the Magneti Marelli unit.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week is looking a little more promising, with a chance of rain on Wednesday but the prospect of a dry day on Thursday. Suzuki and Yamaha have already arrived at the track, and will join the on track action - should there be any - from Wednesday.

Below is the press release and photo of the new 2014 RC213V:

Rain prevents testing on day one in Aragon

Wet weather prevented the Repsol Honda Team from testing on the first day in Aragon. Instead, Team Technical Director Takeo Yokoyama took the opportunity to present the 2014 RC213V prototype machine to the press that attended the event.

Hopefully the weather will improve tomorrow so the team can begin work on their test programme.

Takeo Yokoyama Technical Director

"This is the prototype of the 2014 machine. It is a complete new bike, both in terms of engine and chassis. Our plan is to test it now in order to be able to do, eventually, some changes before the post-race test in Valencia in November. Anyway, if Dani and Marc find something in the bike that they feel is a really big improvement compared to their actual RC213V, HRC will do its best to provide it already later this season as we already did last year"

Back to top


A generation behind yet light years ahead of a CRT.

Possibly, although I wouldn't be surprised to see the ART bike spank the Honda prodie racer. I'm still troubled by the trend of reduced fuel and engine allowance. I don't want to see a world championship determined by silly rules that aren't likely to actually reduce cost.

It seems all the talk about Honda and Yamaha influencing the tech rules to keep other factories out of MotoGP must be taken seriously. The MSMA asking for less fuel and fewer engines? That really has nothing at all to do with saving money.
Also I don't see the strategy of the production racer when there are still factory prototypes, four each for Honda and Yamaha and Ducati. That means the best a private team can hope to finish is about 9th or 10th? Aleix Espargaro being the exception. Now you can pay a million+ for a factory proddie Honda or cobble together an M1 engined(leased) hybrid for even more dough... or use your own CRT which you already own and are developing for a lot less and you are still only going to finish 9th or 10th. Duh!

"It seems all the talk about Honda and Yamaha influencing the tech rules to keep other factories out of MotoGP must be taken seriously."

Been going on a while though, not new. It's just getting worse. You think they want a level playing field for Suzuki, BMW, Aprilia, etc? Not a chance in hell. First thing that would have to go would be the engine limit per season and the fuel restrictions. And they'll threaten to leave if you mess with either. My bikes don't have pneumatic valves and the last thing I'm concerned with is how many MPG's a MotoGP bike or Formula One car gets. What is next, 15 liters of fuel? How about they use 5 liters and make it 120km, that will be fun to watch. Instead of 5 engines per season how about 2. one for each bike. If both fail, the rider goes home for the season. C'mon, that will be a REAL engineering challenge!!!

This sport has become too much of the engineers and too much of who has the most money. They'll lie to you though and tell you that less engines is cheaper, and less fuel is as well. They never talk about how much they spend to make these engines last that long or use so little fuel. That's the hidden side of MotoGP, who has all that money to spend? Without Audi, you'd probably have just Honda and Yamaha. And how long would Yamaha last? Their budget is reportedly half of Honda's.

Fully agree with the analysis. Just one more point to add. Last year when Honda introduced its seamless shifting gearbox, it also pointed out that satellite teams will not be able to afford it since the cost of the gearbox itself is more than that of a house. So if it is that expensive when will it ever make it to production bikes, since the justification is that MotoGP is a lab for testing parts and technologies that will go onto road going machines. Me thinks, there are a number of people who will appreciate a cvt transmission to make riding simpler.

The Ducati is an even more strange case. It is supposed to be using a seamless shifting gearbox of its own design. And yet it can't even get on to the podium on a regular basis. It is a story of one step forward and five steps back. So why spend so much money on something that is not even serving a purpose in MotoGP, let alone making it on to street bikes. I don't understand MotoGP anymore and I do not even want to pretend that I want to or can understand the logic behind all these technologies and rules. I just watch it on TV and go "oh that chap in orange leathers is doing well. Now wait a minute there is yet another chappie in the same colours and has the same Repsol emblazoned on his leathers. He seems to be going faster". I watch MotoGP and Formula 1 not because I understand the intentions behind their colossally incomprehensible rules, but because I get to see any racing at all and I will make to with it, rather than have no racing at all. But this relentless march of creating more and more twisted convoluted rules could just draw down the curtains on GP racing.

Yeah +1
, absolutely idiotic , next there will be a big panic when they realise they've killed off Motogp.
20 litres of fuel and limited engines does nothing, it's not an economy test, its Grand Prix.
We all know what an 'expert ' is ??? pah !

Manufacturers don't care if they kill MotoGP, specially because they know it won't die.
What's happening in GP racing has happened time and time again in many racing series. Once the racing becomes too expensive or people stop watching due to the lighting-fast parades the manufacturers simply pick up and leave. Years later when the people that truly love racing have cleaned up the mess they come back with bells and whistles through the red carpeted big door and start the hole thing again (yes, I know there are a few very honorable exceptions where the factories and the people who love racing were one and the same).

Your beautiful analysis has nothing do with reality as it totaly ignores it´s dependence on the economic/financial system (I´m a business enigneer with deep study of human history and economic causalities).

At the present (+/- 5 years) we are at the end of an financial cycle (70-75 years), meaning that every financial system which is based on depth and interest has to collapse after a certain time (simple mathematics; eternal growth, exponential functions as propagated by the so called economic experts, professors etc. is simple nonsens and impossible in our physical world).

Maybe you realise that not Spain, Greece etc. are on the top of gowernment/public depth list but the USA (exports < imports => based on depth produced by the FED monopolist). Maybe the intelligent folks on realise that MotoGP is nothing but a fragment of bigger context (fractal) and bases on the same economic pseudo-rules (as they are nothing but a modern religion/dogma).

Your points are not valid as there never was a point in the last 70 years (after WorldWar2) where a whole society, economy and financial system was reaching his final stages (point where the REAL economy - 2-5 % of the whole finacial market => over 95 % is monopoly money, like derivates etc. - and the income of all people simply is not able to "carry" the increasing depths and therefore interesets, compound interest).

MotoGP and its constant rule changes (based on economic reasons) isn´a exception from the so called "reality" but part of it´s dogmatic rules ...

A very long time I think, yes economic activity runs in cycles, and asset prices fluctuate but debt doesn't, so debt is the constant which usually forces an economic contraction to pay off.

Those that splashed cash they borrowed during the boom are going the way of the dodo now. Motorcycle racing is one of many 'optional pursuits', however I do feel that once bitten by bike racing there is almost nothing that will stop you watching 'Sunday's race'.

Will Motogp stop? Yes, it will one day, but its much more likely to fail for one reason. Poor management! Which is why most businesses fail. Low points in economic cycles expose poor managers. Hard to find more passionate consumers than Motogp fans, if it fails it wont be for a lack of passoniate supporters...

Introduce a rev limit by eliminating pneumatic valves and get rid of most of the traction control wizardry. Then add more fuel to the tank and more engines for a season and maybe we'll see some racing, maybe.

All these comments are rubbish really. Simple fact of the matter is Honda and Yamaha have been spending more, and are willing to spend more, that's why they win. If Suzuki, Aprilia, Ducati, BMW etc want to win motogp, they need to spend. Engine allocations, fuel allocations, technical regulations etc certainly can/do decrease spending, but only in certain areas, and so the perceived detriment caused by that restriction leads to increased spending in others. Although I must point out that certain restrictions like engine allocations and fuel restrictions weren't actually done to decrease spending. In order to win any of those teams just need to spend money to create the best prototyper regardless of the restrictions.

The difference between MotoGP and WSBK highlights this, but it also highlights the difference between occidental and oriental view of racing. European's see racing as show business, the Japanese see racing as a technical competition. Hence European manufacturers have won 65% of WSBK championships, and Japanese have won the vast majority of MotoGP.

The 'problems' you complain about are inherent to the very idea of prototype racing.

You hit the point exactly. Racing is first and foremost an engineering competition. The bikes are the show and the manufacturers are there to prove that they build the best bikes. The rider's championship may get the most attention, but that is because we are human and identify with personalities more than machines. In its core though, prototype racing is a technical exercise.

If the watching the most advanced racebikes circulate around for 45 minutes is boring to you, and you wish the playing field was level in terms of machinery then maybe this is not your sport.

There are plenty of other sports in the world where the best athlete wins.

I see, the solution is "throw more money at it". Except that there's another option: stop racing. Kawasaki took the option, and Suzuki too, though they're coming back after a few years of saving up. Ducati's clock is ticking, I think Yamaha's too. Meanwhile Honda happily trots out the 2014 RCV 1/3 of the way into this season and says the riders can have it this year if they want it. And put a 21L fuel tank on their proddy racer saying "sorry, that's all that will fit." Why continue to spend your money when the big kid on the block will just make you spend more?