Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero, Tanks, And Exhausts From The Barcelona Test, Part 2

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.


Switchgear on Johann Zarco's KTM RC16
Peter Bom/David Emmett: Color-coded buttons (with labels) on the left handlebar of Zarco's KTM, green for traction control (TC), red for engine brake (EB), colors chosen for self-evident reasons. The thumb lever with the N on it below the handlebar is used for engaging neutral. You do not want to engage neutral while on track, so it is locked out and impossible to engage during normal riding. The position of this lever varies per rider: Zarco is not using a thumb brake, so can mount it on the left handlebar.

Triple clamp and left and right handlebars on Johann Zarco's KTM RC16
Peter Bom/David Emmett: ' There is a lot to see here. On the right handlebar, Zarco has two buttons, again color-coded. The blue button (LC) is for launch control. What the green button (CE) is for is not clear, though the most likely explanation is either the engine kill switch or the pit lane limiter.
Note the slotted top triple clamp. That is one way of managing flex, something which Yamaha also uses. Look carefully at the small locking bolts running in the slots behind the triple clamps. This is a way of ensuring the two handlebar clipons are in exactly the same position on each side.

Knee grip on Jorge Lorenzo’s Honda RC213V To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

Knee grip and special tank solution on Lorenzo’s Honda RC213V To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

DE: At the Barcelona test, Taka Nakagami got a chance to ride the 2019 factory-spec Honda RC213V belonging to teammate Cal Crutchlow. It was part reward for a strong season, part to get feedback from another rider (Marc Márquez dominates while Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo have struggled with the bike), and part because Nakagami's riding style is more similar to Lorenzo's. After the test, he said "I had a good feeling on this bike and it was positive. I felt that the engine performance was quite a big step, which means it's easier to make the lap time. But physically it's not so easy with this bike, the handling is a little bit heavier. But we understand this and I think it has good performance. There are some negative things, some positive things, but if you improve your lap time it means it's mainly in the positive way. Just a little struggle physically for the handling, but on the other side the positives are the top speed and corner exit."

Bigger exhaust on the Yamaha YZR-M1 To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

Knee grip and special tank solution on Lorenzo's Honda RC213V (also fitted with the new new aero) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

A newer, larger 'salad box' on Jack Miller's Ducati GP19 To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

Another look at the larger GP19 'salad box'

Mudguard with temperature sensors (Yamaha YZR-M1) To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

Swingarm attachment on Jorge Lorenzo’s bike To see the technical explanation for this photo, sign up to be a site supporter.

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Cold Engine? Cold start button? 

Funny, I used to cut a big rubber band out of an inner tube to be used on my rear brake lever when I raced. I tended to rest my toe on the lever and didn’t want to drag the brake. Eraldo Ferracci, looking over from the next garage at one particular AMA race saw me installing it with the most puzzled look.

So Johann Zarco is not using a thumb rear brake, how old school is that?

WP suspension have carbon fork tubes now. Has anyone tried carbon nanotubes or Boron?

C.E. Control Everything? combustion efficiency? Chrystal energy? climate and/or environment? change engine? component ejection?

On Zarco´s bike "CE" has to mean "Calisthenics Enhancement", a device he can activate to boost his gymnastics powers to counter the evil forces of the KTM handling. They still have to finetune it. Pol does not need this device. He is worthy.... :-D

Probably that and probably more effort in getting the bike to turn. Could have somethign to do with why Marc has been saying he needs to really use a lot of lean to get the bike to turn.

And more than that.
The Honda was developed around bombing the brakes and dominating the late braking zone, diving and smashing the front, then getting out of the V corner getting power down. Now they have (miraculously!!) the biggest motor on ths grid (again...ala 5 cyl). Riders are trying to carry speed on it through a corner now. It won't turn in.

Can see (especially in the KTM pics) a number of bolts drilled for safety wire, but not actually wired. Is it common or uncommon for mechanics to wire bolts in MotoGP?

I can't be certain in that case, but I know that you can buy bolts pre-drilled (comes from the aircraft industry) and its probably easier to standardise and use them,  but only wire the ones that are deemed worthy. It varies by race series as to what has to be wired but lots of teams will do extra pieces based on experience. A road racing bike in Ireland or particularly the IOM will have huge amounts of stuff lockwired. The scrutiny guidelines for the TT are always worth a read if you are prepping a race bike IMHO! IRish regs say any cavity containing oil or somehting like that but in practice this tends to be sump plug, filter and oil cap for instance.