Honda’s RCV1000R production racer is due to get some upgrades after all, but those upgrades are not set to come until 2015, according to reports on GPOne.com.

The performance of the RCV1000R has been a source of some disappointment for the teams who stumped up the roughly 1 million euros a season in bike costs, as well as for the riders who have been hired to race the bike. After reports that a Honda test rider had lapped with 0.3 seconds of the factory RC213V machine, expectations of the bike were very high indeed.

On the track, the RCV1000R has not got anywhere near the times expected of it. Comparing the fastest race lap of the fastest RCV1000R rider against the slowest RC213V rider shows an average difference of 0.730 seconds over the first five races of the season, four tenths more than Honda had managed with a test rider.

Teams have complained, riders have been open in criticizing the lack of power, and the current teams have been eyeing the Open class Yamahas fielded by the NGM Forward team with some interest.

The Open Yamaha bikes look set to be the path which Honda has also chosen to follow, GPOne.com is reporting. The Honda production racer is to get the full RC213V engine, complete with pneumatic valves, but without seamless transmission, from the beginning of next year.

Using the RC213V engine in the production racer in 2015 will help Honda prepare for 2016, when spec software becomes compulsory for all MotoGP machines. Yamaha has already benefited from running the M1 engine in the Open class with Forward for much the same reason.

Though the RCV1000R will not get the seamless gearbox – that technology is too sensitive to be given away – pneumatic valves will remove the biggest weakness of the production Honda. All of the production Honda riders have complained of a lack of acceleration, and pointed to it as being the place where they have lost the most ground to the Factory Option machines.

Pneumatic valves will allow for more aggressive cam profiles and greater valve opening, which will help to boost midrange power and torque. They also allow the engine to rev higher, producing more peak horsepower. For a fascinating breakdown on the benefits of pneumatic valves, see Kevin Cameron’s explanation on the Cycle World website.

Work is to start on early versions of the uprated engine soon, and Honda have given RCV1000R riders Nicky Hayden, Hiroshi Aoyama, Scott Redding, and Karel Abraham some suitable motivation for the rest of the 2014 season.

GPOne.com is reporting that Honda is to bring a single, uprated RCV1000R to the last races of this season, most likely starting from Motegi. The bike will be given to the highest-placed rider in the standings, who will get to use it for the remaining races. His input will then help develop the 2015 version of the bike.

Below the difference in fastest race laps between the fastest production racer and the slowest factory bike:

Fastest RCV1000R Slowest RC213V
Rider Time Rider Time
Qatar Scott Redding 1:56.416 Stefan Bradl 1:55.937
Austin Scott Redding 2:05.996 Stefan Bradl 2:04.462
Argentina Hiroshi Aoyama 1:40.904 Stefan Bradl 1:40.093
Jerez Scott Redding 1:41.109 Alvaro Bautista 1:41.153
Le Mans Scott Redding 1:34.886 Stefan Bradl 1:34.017
Average 1:47.862 1:47.132
Difference 0.730

Source: GPone; Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Bruce Monighan

    So did Honda lie about Stoners lap times and his comparison to the RC213V or was he getting more out of it? If it is slow on top speed his talent would have made no difference. If it was in total lap times he could have been wringing its neck through the corners to keep the times close.

    Hayden has a right to be mad. First they offer him a ride on a bike that perhaps they were not totally honest about, then they delay in getting any real improvements in speed out to him, then they do the “we got one and it goes to the highest ranked”. Not a good way to treat a former World Champion, but then again Honda has never been known for having any respect for their riders.

    I think the folks who have some real muscle here and have the biggest right to be upset are the team owners who paid Honda a lot of money for very little motorcycle. I hope that Honda is providing them a steep discount or a rebate.

  • L2C

    Let me guess, Yamaha’s Open class bikes WILL receive the seamless gearboxes next year? Gotta trump Honda in the spirit of the rules somehow.

  • Anvil

    Bruce, Stoner rode the bike for a total of five laps. His times were not the times to which Nakamoto referred, although he was deliberately ambiguous (and misleading) about it.

    The bike is down at least 20hp. End of story. Honda only wanted the RCV!00R to be faster than the ART/CRTs. And it is. But that’s not nearly good enough now.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    when very large sums money is exchanged for goods that aren’t as advertised that seems like lawsuit territory. I wonder if teams are contemplating breaking contracts with Honda.

  • Thefundaddy

    I always thought the 2015 bike was what they were going to get in 2014. Especially when Yamaha revealed they would lease all their good bits to be put into an ‘open’ frame.

    If the satellite honda was a much more capable bike, and Marquez wasn’t in the equation, this year’s championship would be more exciting than ever. Marquez is here because he’s the best, and he’s rightfully leading, but Honda could still be persuaded to narrow the field.

  • JW

    I feel bad for Nicky to be handed this load of crap table scraps bike. I hope Suzuki picks him up for 2015

  • meatspin

    I bet if MM and Pedrosa falter or get injured during the season, however unlikely, then the rest of the RCV riders will definitely get the power ups with immediate effect.

    They need a better deal.

  • jzj

    Many things in life are up to chance timing. Nicky was a good soldier at Ducati but was out just as Ducati got to its “open” era: I suspect that with his careful riding style, Nicky would do even a bit better than Dovizioso if he was still on Ducati and got to use the soft tires and better electronics. Now, he has been short-changed by Honda, whom he trusted to provide a competitive bike. Of course Nicky is not in the Marquez/Rossi/Lorenzo echelon, but I think on any given weekend he’d be fully competitive with pretty much everyone else if he were on good equipment, and he rarely makes serious mistakes.

    I don’t see why Honda doesn’t give the RCV1000 more power this year: are they afraid of taking down their own RC213Vs?

    Lastly, I don’t buy it that Honda needs to go pneumatic to get more power out of the RCV1000: Honda has pretty much always known how to make the most power, and I doubt they’ve forgotten how valve springs work.

  • Funnyman6869

    I’m gonna sum it up nice,simple & to the point.Nicky deserves better!

  • paulus

    … All teams the coughed up over 1 million euros deserve better.

  • Mrdata

    I wouldnt be surprised to see Johnny Rea on the “new improved” RCV1000 next year. If anyone can put lipstick on this pig, its JR.

  • conrice

    I don’t understand what would take a company like Honda so long to produce and deliver those changes now – considering the engines are already developed and they understand what needs to be done to the chassis in order to accommodate them.

    Considering there is under $15,000 worth of physical material on those motorcycles, the remaining $985,000 is R&D and development.

    I’d feel short changed too if Honda were deliberately holding back.

    You’d think Honda would want Scott and Nicky to be able to take the fight to NGM right now instead of waiting until next year. It’s sad that now it seems there are practically 4 classes in GP: Factory/Satellite, Open, Customer RCV, and “CRT”. I think Scott Jones and Suppo are onto something with the “new kind of silly season”.

  • L2C

    “I feel bad for Nicky to be handed this load of crap table scraps bike.”

    Seriously. And Scott Redding is now at a big disadvantage to Pol Espargaro — never mind Kitchy-Koo.

    Redding was Honda’s top draft pick. He was Honda’s top draft pick, second overall in Moto2, and they gave him a scooter with training wheels attached. This really was a case of Number 2 being treated like doo-doo.

    And I would have found it completely understandable if Honda had fast-tracked the new parts to Redding and made the other riders wait. I’d find it BS from a technical point of view to not include the other riders, but I’d understand the reasoning to help Redding get closer to Pol. Redding was the factory’s top pick, he’s supposed to get similar to what his top rival got, not wait a whole year for it.

    Honda should be ashamed. The only reason they got Redding in the first place is because of their big bucks and the lure of the Rc213V. Kitchy-Koo was able to bypass the rookie rule — the rule itself stricken from the rule books because of him — and the very next year, Honda treats their top pick as nothing but a rookie. This is incredible to me. And another reason why the top teams should be prevented from controlling the talent pool with regards to fresh talent. Really is despicable.

    Harsh words for Honda on this one. They completely deserve it.

  • Alclab

    It’s pointless for Redding now, as he himself stated, his contract with HRC states that he need good consistent results and has a guaranteed sear at a RCV213V next year, same one as Bautista’s (or maybe even his seat). Also, while I understand that some teams may be thinking of switching to the Open Yamaha beacuse of Espargaró, you have to take into consideration the usual difference with Espargaró and his teammate most year, and specially now with Colin Edwards, that is the true level of the Open M1.

    Also, while there is no doubt that the riders with the RCV1000R are really good, Honda did state that the the difference was with Stoner testing the “Customer Honda”, and he’s extremely adaptable and quick, and tends to ride the Honda like it need to, to be fast: Sliding the back wheel a lot, something which we have not seen from most Open riders (Redding might be an exception)

  • Lewis Dawson


    Who, or what, is Kitchy-Koo? Is it for Scott Redding Fan Club insiders only?

  • Conrice

    Lewis – I’m pretty sure he’s talking about Marquez because of the rookie rule being stricken from the rule book specifically for Marc Marquez.

    Alclab – Nakamoto’s famous 3 tenths comment was taken out of context. Stoner was never within .3 on the RCV1000R of the factory bike. The .3 was from another Honda test rider, who couldn’t get as much out of the factory bike, hence why that man is a test rider and not a grand prix racer. Suppo admitted in a later interview that he (Nakamoto) was taken out of context and also said that he thought GP riders would be about .7-.8 off of what they could do on a factory bike.

  • L2C

    Yep, Kitchy-Kitchy-Koo refers to “Baby on Board.”

  • Alclab


    That would make sense, I thought I read about ir being Stoner maybe on RideThrough magazine (now official MotoGP) and maybe some blog and motorcycling news sites. But yes, probably bad news that spread and since it was in HRC’s interest, they may have not said anything at all.

  • Anvil

    Alclab & Conrice,

    Suppo stating that Nakamoto “was taken out of context” is a bit of a stretch. I undrstand him not wanting to throw his boss under the bus, but I’ve read the transcript. Nakamoto was at best being cheeky, at worst lying by omission.

  • Jw

    When ever I see Nicky get interviewed he has that look on his face, he can’t hide it, he is the real deal and cannot fake his misery. He could have retired after Ducati but he decided to stay in it because he loves to race and had hope in Honda. Now he has hate for Honda and the utter disappointment this bike has brought down on him. Plus the fans see this poor second class treatment from HONDA too. Next year he will be the only American in all of Motogp racing. I have said it before but I think Suzuki would be a great move in 15. I will stand with Nicky and be giving Honda unison freeway salutes. Nicky I know your reading this, we are with you bro.

  • Jw

    Dear Honda:

    I know one of your public relations spy’s is reading this stuff.

    How bout slipping in one of your better effort motors into Nicky’s bike, we won’t tell anyone. You got the money and resources to do it, so get it done now please.

  • Damn

    ???? Thats strange?!! why more power? the rcv100r is almost as good as the factory bike, Honda said 0.3 sec dirrerence. And Honda said: riders need to adapt, speed wil come.!

    So whats all the fuzz about? Just leave the bike as it is Honda, because you didn’t sell the bike on falls terms right?!
    Next year more experience for nh and sr to overcome 20kmph on the straight right honda.