08 November 2013 - 07:23
Honda reveals new MotoGP production racer
There's a sprinkling of exciting news preceding all the excitement surrounding the MotoGP title-decider at Valencia this weekend - Honda's just revealed the RCV1000R, its new production racer that it will sell to teams competing in the 'open' class starting next season.
Based on the current factory RC213V, the RCV1000R uses the same 90° V4 that makes 235bhp at a heady 16,000rpm. Since it is to compete in the "open" class, the 1000 gets a bigger 24-litre fuel tank, and will be allowed upto 12 engines per season. It looks and sounds the same as the 213V, and shares its chassis geometry with the factory bike, says Honda, but there's two key differences. Honda's fitted the production racer with steel valve springs instead of the pneumatic units seen on the factory machine, and it gets a conventional gearbox in place of the seamless-shifting gearbox provided to Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Cost-cutting to help private teams with tight budgets, you see.
Still, even with software from Magneti Marelli, they say that this production racer will help cut down the gap between factory and Claiming Rules (CRT) teams. And by a fair margin, too - Casey Stoner, two-time MotoGP champion, tested it at Motegi, and the production racer was just 0.3 seconds off the RC213V's time. With a softer rear tyre, the difference was a mere 0.17 seconds. Yes, 0.3 seconds could well be the difference between finishing first and finishing fifth, but hey, we'll see what's what when the bikes fight it out on the track next year.
The RCV1000R will be the weapon of choice for four riders next season - Aspar's Nicky Hayden, Cardion AB's Karel Abraham, 2013 Moto2 runner-up Scott Redding (who's joining Alvaro Bautista at Gresini Honda next year), and Hayden's Aspar team-mate, who is yet to be named.
2013's been a great season, and if this production racer really is as good as they say it is, 2014 should be equally as thrilling.