Tom's Tech Treasures: A Closer Look At Recent MotoGP Developments

Thomas Morsellino is a French freelance journalist and photographer, with keen eye for the technical details of MotoGP bikes. You may have seen some of his work on Twitter, where he runs the @Off_Bikes account. Peter Bom is a world championship winning former crew chief, with a deep and abiding knowledge of every aspect of motorcycle racing. Peter has worked with such riders as Cal Crutchlow, Danny Kent, and Stefan Bradl. After every race, will be publishing a selection of Tom's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with extensive technical explanations of the details by Peter Bom. subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of Peter's technical explanations of the photos. Readers who do not support the site will be limited to the 800x600 resolution photos, and an explanation of two photos.
As Tom was not in Thailand, here are some photos of things he has noticed at recent races.

Right handlebar of Valentino Rossi's Movistar Yamaha M1
Peter Bom: Although the bike is ‘ride by wire’, Yamaha still rely on the natural feeling of Bowden cables for the rider throttle, where both Honda en Ducati have electric wires coming from the throttle housing.

Left handlebar of Valentino Rossi's Movistar Yamaha M1
Peter Bom: The small wheel in front of the handlebar is there so the rider can adjust the position of the front brake lever while riding. Riders are very sensitive to the front brake pressure point, and this might change during the first laps out as a result of the temperature changes.

Under the 'salad box', at the rear of Jack Miller's Pramac Ducati Desmosedici GP17

Suzuki GSX-RR swingarm on Andrea Iannone's bike

New aerodynamic fairing for the KTM RC16 on Pol Espargaró's bike. First appeared at Misano

Front view of the new aerodynamic fairing for the KTM RC16 on Pol Espargaró's bike. First appeared at Misano

Brembo monobloc brake calipers

Ducati GP18 carbon swingarm

Under the tank cover of a Monster Tech3 Yamaha M1

Head of a fork tube (Stefan Bradl’s Honda RC213V)

Three connectors on the front fork of a Ducati GP18, the left one goes to a (hidden) sensor that measures the acceleration of the unsprung part of the front fork, needed to judge front fork damping qualities. The middle one is connected to two (!) wheel speed sensors. Just to show you how important measuring wheel speed is, they connect two identical sensors just in case one breaks. The right-hand connector is there for the sensor that measures the temperature of the carbon brake disc using infrared. Pretty important as the carbon brakes need to be kept between 300° and 700° Celsius. Any lower and they are just not there when you need them, anything higher and they are damaged beyond repair (and they are very, very costly).

Yamaha M1 rear suspension

Honda RC213V fairing (Márquez)

If you would like access to the full-size versions of these technical photos and all of Peter Bom's explanations, as well as desktop-size versions of the other fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make, and the more readers will get out of the website.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of thes photos, you can email Thomas Morsellino


Back to top


Peter Bom's comment that the wing forces must be small on the KTM since small rivets were used, is incorrect. Those wings are 3-dimensional structures with two seperate attachment points to the fairing and there is probably not much bending moment at the connections between the wing and fairing. The load is most likely all Shear force and those small rivets can each probably handle over 50 lbs of shear force. Based on the number of rivets I can see, the wing attachment could handle hundreds of pounds of down force.   

Wow gorgeous technology.

Thanks motomatters, this is gold. I love having a sticky beak in the pits when ever I can. Seeing beautiful details like these photos is a rare pleasure. The detail ! Looks like Ducati have added another layer of CF on the outside of the swingarm. I want all of Tom's photos on my desktop, in my shed, on my phone. Makes me happy to be a subscriber all over again.

Keep up the great work.

I love these detailed and insightful photographs and interpretations, too. I'm a fan of data collection (too) but this makes me wonder if/how/when the corresponding analytics are presented to the rider during the race:

  • Do riders have simple at-a-glance metrics (like red/yellow/green labeled dashbaord indicators?)
  • Are riders forced to toggle modes (like some street riders are forced to do) to see additional metrics?
  • Are riders interpolating and extrapolating during the race ("If my carbon brakes are in the Red, and my front tire temperature in in the Red, I need to get out of the slipstream, but, Oh, if I lose Dovi's tail I'll never recover it!  Let's risk the red conditions!!")


Not an expert on MotoGP systems, but I am an expert on sensors and software. I'd be willing to bet this information is mostly used for ex-post facto analysis after the rider is off the bike.

Real time telemetry is not allowed in MGP (as far as I know) other then the basic track pos/sector times/speed/gear/lean angle etc. All the stuff for the broadcast. So all this tech data is downloaded when the bike returns to the garage after any run and then chewed over ad nauseum.