A return of the production racer to the Grand Prix Championship, Honda’s RC213V-derived race bike for private teams is seen by many as a welcomed alternative to the current CRT formula. Based off the V4-powered bike that HRC’s factory and satellite teams race in MotoGP, Honda’s new RC-whatever-it’s-called is a slightly watered-down version of its true prototype progenitor, and comes with the distinction of being a purchased machine, rather than a lease from HRC.
Talking to MotoGP.com, HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto explains that the project is behind on its development schedule by about a month (paddock chatter says Big Red had to scramble a bit to formulate the production racer in order to appease Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta) though the machine should still be ready in time for the 2014 season, as HRC hopes to catch back up in its development.
Discussing the features that will, and will not, come on the Honda RC production racer, the most notable differences between the bike and the Honda RC213V are the lack of pneumatic valves and a seamless-shift gearbox. The prior guarantees that the production racer will be short on revs compared to its prototype counterpart, while the latter suggests a tenth of a second or two in slower lap times are certain tracks.
Per the CRT rules, the production racer will have 24 liters of fuel, which could help the bike achieve similar power figures to the RC213V, though that will depend on how much tuning HRC does to the machine. As it stands now, Nakamoto-san says the V4 engine is still being dyno’d by HRC, and will move onto the next phase of development once Honda has achieved its power and reliability benchmarks.
While the engine differences have been known for some time, it is interesting to hear that Honda will fit Nissin brakes and Showa suspension to its production racer, calling the bike an “ideal platform” for the two brands, which is not entirely surprising as both companies are owned by Honda Motor Corp, though does nothing to help the positioning of Nissin and Showa against Brembo and Öhlins.
In this regard, Nakamoto is perhaps unintentionally fueling the perception that Nissin and Showa are inferior products compared to their European counterparts — a perception that is shown in the component choices made by a vast majority of teams in motorcycle racing. While Brembo and Öhlins may dominate the GP paddock if for no other reason than the massively conservative nature of motorcycle teams, it is worth mentioning the tremendous amount of data both companies have when it comes to racing motorbikes — a formidable advantage, to say the least.
Once the Honda production racer hits the tarmac and begins testing, expect there to be much said about the fastest motorcycle money can buy. We expect the same sort of excitement will occur for its consumer-oriented street bike version as well, but that’s a completely different story.