Honda is working on a simplified version of its RC213V MotoGP machine to sell to teams as a CRT bike. Working together with Thomas Baujard, journalist for the French magazine Moto Journal, we have learned that work on the V4 machine is already underway, though a production date for the bike is not yet known.

HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto confirmed to Baujard at Silverstone that work was ongoing on the project, though Nakamoto did not like it being referred to as a CRT bike. “Not a CRT bike,” Nakamoto told Baujard, “it is a production racer!” When asked later about the engine layout, Nakamoto confirmed that the bike was a V4 rather than an inline four. “It is a replica of this bike,” Nakamoto told me, pointing to the Repsol Honda garage, “But cheaper. It is easier to use an existing design.”

The main differences would be in the level of technology in the bike. “The bike will maybe use a standard gearbox. And we are still thinking about pneumatic valves,” Nakamoto said. The decision on using pneumatic valves was not dependent on the introduction of a rev limit in MotoGP, Nakamoto said. “The rev limit is not important.” Pneumatic valves offer other advantages, such as more precise timing and more aggressive cam shapes, the pneumatic valves better able to follow a steeper cam profile.

Nakamoto was coy on when the bike would reach production. “Soon,” was as precise as the HRC boss would be. “I know when it will be,” he said, but he would not be drawn any further than saying “soon”.

The production of a Honda RC213V replica CRT machine is a game-changer for the CRT project. The return of a production racer, similar to the Yamaha TZ, Suzuki RG and Honda RS series of machines, has long been the hope and aim of all parties involved in MotoGP – back in early 2010, FIM President Vito Ippolito told MotoMatters that what was needed was a “series prototype”, a production racer like the TZs he used to race in the 1970s and ’80s – and Aprilia’s ART machine was the first step towards such a bike.

The Aprilias are suffering reliability problems, however: though built for racing, they were also designed to be rebuilt regularly. Max Biaggi used 28 engines during the 2011 WSBK season, more than two per race weekend. Randy de Puniet has 12 engines to last for 18 race weekends, meaning his engines need to last about three times as long as Biaggi’s WSBK-spec RSV4 engines.

Honda can use the knowledge gained from their RC213V (already a paragon of reliability) to ensure that the bike is both powerful and reliable enough, and being based on the bike currently being raced by Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, it should be significantly more competitive than the current crop of CRTs, despite the lower technology spec being applied. The bike should suit the spec Bridgestones better than the CRT bikes, helping make it more competitive. Pricing will likely be a little less than the million euros that satellite lease prices are likely to be capped at. With only a few satellite bikes available – at a million euros, the factories are not inclined to produce very many, as the cost of supporting satellite bikes is high – a CRT version of the RC213V would be very much in demand.

The fact that Honda are willing to produce such a bike and make it available to CRT teams could mean that the Claiming Rule itself is about to be dropped. The MSMA members have seen that the bikes being entered under the CRT rules are no threat to their domination of the MotoGP class, and therefore have nothing to fear from dropping the claiming rule.

Indeed, not losing an engine to another factory makes it more attractive for a company such as Honda to build a CRT machine. HRC would have control in the first instance over who the sell the bike to, and by the time it is sold on at the end of the year, the technology would be sufficiently outdated to make it acceptable to lose to a competitor.

More details of the bike are keenly awaited. For now, we shall have to wait for Nakamoto-san’s “soon” to arrive.

Photo: © 2012 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.

  • Cru Jones

    Jensen – What’s with all the re-posts from MM? If want to read MM articles I’ll go to their site. A few every now and again are ok, but seems as though they’re too frequent lately.

  • AlexOnTwoWheels

    Wow, cool. i would really love to see them build a production level version of this bike thats available as a consumer bike, and eligible for AMA and WSBK!

  • Bryan Niese

    Now if Honda would only put a V4 in a production consumer sportbike.

  • Hey Bryan that is a limited production SUPERBIKE…. That means MotoGp is officially dead as far as full prototype bikes are concerned probab;y as early as 2014 all CRT’S…………..

  • Grant Madden

    Wont it be sweet when these motors start turning up at national meetings in the hands of privateers.Might not amuse the Superbike racers who are working with production (road legal)based motors but the cost may make them too expensive for any teams who dont have multi million dollar (world championship)budgets to play with,still,new toys for the boys!!Yehar what fun we all will have and yes when do they produce a road legal version?Have to think its coming.We can dream of riding one on the street,Wicked thing!!
    Will Yamaha be next,after all it was TZ verses RS for many years.Alright,start saving and selling your children now!!

  • Grant Madden

    Honest I was joking about selling your children!Now what else have I got that I can sell?Kidneys,liver,Soul maybe?

  • Jonathan

    @ Dc4go: The principle of CRT is that any team who feels that a competitor is sinking an unfair amount of money into one of those “off the shelf” engines can claim that motor (+transmission) for €20,000. This is to encourage teams to voluntarily keep costs down – no-one wants to “give” away their engines! If the Honda is cheap enough that teams will be willing to let the engines go for €20k to disgruntled competitors I’ll buy a hat. And eat it.

  • Jonathan

    Anyway, wasn’t the point of CRT to use (modified) production engines in prototype chassis? I guess that the Aprillia was stretching that particular rule, but this looks like the lame donkey that is the current CRT model has been taken out back and shot.

    Oh goody, more rule changes.

  • MikeD

    Ahh, yes…magnificent…..but better yet, anyone…………wake me up when they make something very similar to it STREET LEGAL and semi-affordable to regular riders not to Aliens. Until then…this is as relevant as another star on the night sky…hardly noticeable by anyone short of an astrology Master.

  • I love the “PROTOTYPE BIKES” but in reality the racing isn’t the best and they are just to expensive to lease.. Leasing a “FACTORY HONDA” cost upwards of 3million Euro’s with the stardard tranny.. Seamless tranny cost and extra $750k a year… Great bikes but cost is just insane especially with all these rule changes…

  • Count me in the seemingly small ranks that see this as an improvement on things. Now let’s hope that Yamaha and Ducati fall in line with HRC and release their own production racers. The grid should have privateers and wild cards at as many venues as possible. GO HONDA!

  • Smiler

    In 2010 Honda had 9 bikes on the MotoGP grid. They also supplied engines for moto2.
    In 2011 8 bikes on the grid and supply engines for moto2.
    This year with only 3 manufacturers, they are fielding 4 out of 11 factory bikes.
    Not content with this they are now making a thinly veiled CRT bike. The comment by Honda boss that it is a Production racer just highlights the wormy strategy.
    It is frustrating that when financial conditions are difficult that some companies see this as an opportunity to use their ecomonic muscle to further dominate a sport. Audi at Le Mans is another case in point.
    You can argue that it is up to other manufacturers to step up and take them on, however when the main player is so dominent then others simply do not have the resources to overwhelm them, until they lose interest as Honda did in F1.
    They did not have the balls to make a roadgoing version of the RCV. Now they are reintroducing the V4, which would be great as the current V4 is lost in the bikes that use it. Put an RC30 “Production Racer” back in WSB not on the MotoGP grid.

  • Ed Gray

    It is too bad that we are so stuck on the word “prototype”. To me the separation between formula racing and superbike racing is the origin of the machine. In superbike racing the source must have been road legal, to some minimum production run, and there are modification limitations. The formula classes have no requirement that the source have anything to do with a “street” bike. but if one is fool hardy enough to try to qualify on a production based machine go ahead and waste your money.

    The other side of this is that there is no place for these potential “made for racing” machines in any national series any more (maybe somewhere not in the US). I would be thrilled to see something like this trickle down to WERA ans CCS racing as the RS Hondas and RG Suzukis used to do. I had the privilege of having my doors blown off by such machines in my novice year. It sure made walking the pits more interesting.

  • John

    I see this as positive development. The CRT formula is clearly not even close to working and while a “production racer” may not be a true prototype bike, it is close enough to provide the competition on some tracks that the CRT formula has not. Honda’s production racer will be more exotic than a production based engine surrounded by an experimental chassis thus, in my mind, elevating the game somewhat. I too would like to see other factories offer production racers to teams.

  • Ed Gray

    Sorry the weasel words are eating me up. The last line of my first paragraph should read …try to qualify on a production –street bike– based machine…

  • Westward

    I’m under the impression Aprilia already has something they are producing, as well as BMW. It also seems as if Suzuki have something also in the works. What remains to be seen is what Yamaha has to answer…

    Not expecting anything from Ducati, as they have their priority set. But once the backing of Audi is in full play, they could soon have a solution as well. That is, once they solve their first issue…

  • Ed Gray

    What’s that first problem ;-D

  • It would be fantastic for racing, if they make it available for real “production,” even in a limited capacity. Not just 10 of them made for MotoGP, but like others have mentioned, selling 500 to worldwide customers who can then race it in prospective classes.. That would be excellent..

  • Jonathan

    Westward: Interesting that you mention Suzuki. We all assumed that those “leaked” pictures a couple of weeks ago were of a full-bore GP bike. What if it is actually an off-the-shelf racer?

    The Honda announcement begs a few questions:

    Was this move planned all along and so was the CRT thing only instigated as a one season stopgap to pad out the grid?

    Will the CRTs continue to be run alongside (behind?) the new production racers? If so, will there be another level of handicapping to even things out? Or have the CRT teams put in a huge amount of development investment for one season’s racing?

    Is it all a king-size Honda bluff to force Dorna’s hand? ;)

    Switching to “purely wishful thinking” mode I would love to see a Honda v-4 race-rep on the road and I think it would complement the Fireblade, rather than replace it (I’m thinking an RC30 for the 21st century). Of course, the only reason to do so would be to homologate it for eligibility in other racing classes…

  • Ed Gray

    That opens an interesting question Tyler. I wonder how many RGs and RSs were made per year? 500 sounds like a large number to me. Not that that wouldn’t increase the chances of getting to see one in the flesh.

    When one is talking about companies like Honda etc. a “production” run in the hundreds per year, like the RC30, really cannot be handled on the manufacturing floor, and a special “line” has to be set up somewhere.

    All this aside I am getting more and more excited about this idea. I sure hope it comes to pass.

  • Frenchie

    The last time Honda had a production racer for sale to Grand Prix private teams was in the 90’s (1996-2001).
    The NSR500V was a 2 stroke V2, 135 hp for 103 kilos.
    Good enough for regular top5 and occasional podiums in the right hands.
    But this was NO superbike, only 22 bikes were produced by HRC.

  • Damo

    I just want them to stuff the V4 in a Fireblade so I can throw my money at them….*full-stop*

  • MikeD


    ROTFLMAO…the mental picture of u throwing money at some TOOL sales representative’s face at a Honda Stealership is just too much…i can picture the guy just spouting the first few words of marketing/selling drill non-sense and you just throwing money at his face just to have him shut up and just sell u the damn thing and get out of there ASAP…lol. (^_^)

  • Damo


    That is exactly how it would happened too, haha.