Tom's Tech Treasures: Studying The MotoGP Bikes At Phillip Island

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.

Torque sensor on the Yamaha M1
Peter Bom: Like all current MotoGP engines, the Yamaha M1 has a torque sensor fitted to the drive shaft. By measuring the amount of torque delivered on the track, the manufacturer can validate their engine dyno torque maps and fine tune them on the track. Note that Yamaha don’t use them on Sunday, that’s when everything should be sorted out. Left of the sprocket is an ‘inside-out’ or inverted sprocket which the external starter motor slides into.

Reinforced chassis on the Suzuki GSX-RR
Peter Bom: By gluing carbon fiber onto specific points, Suzuki can increase the stiffness of their chassis exactly where they want, and how much they want.

Aerodynamic outflows on the Ducati GP18 (Petrucci)

Suzuki GSX-RR engine

Honda RC213V tail (Marquez)

Carbon swingarm (Honda RC213V)

Front end of the Yamaha M1 (Valentino Rossi) with carbon fork

Electronics hub on the Yamaha M1

Ducati GP18 winglets

Electronics hub on the KTM RC16

Sensor on the clutch lever on Valentino Rossi’s M1 to evaluate starts. Maverick Viñales has a similar system

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.

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Closest I'll ever get to these bikes, that's for sure.

I have a question about the 4th photo down, titled Suzuki GSX-RR engine. Just above the sprocket, there's a polished cylindrical cap, with a hydraulic line running to it. Any idea what that is? Hydraulics are usually for the brakes or the suspension. Could it have something to do with the adjustable engine braking?

That is the hydraulic clutch slave cylinder. The bike has an hydraulic system for disengaging the clutch instead of a cable, that most street bikes use.

Extra weight - in motor and bigger battery - they run total loss batteries with no on board generator so to have energy for starting would add kilos !

Thansk for the fascinating photos and descriptions. f you keep this up, I'll subscribe in perpetuity !!

Why MotoGP bike do not have starter motors built in is beyond me. Usually just about anything is justifiable for getting points. Seeing a racer trying to push start a crashed bike one wonders how many more points could get salvaged if starters were fitted.