Having missed the Jerez test, the MV Agusta squad had plenty of work to do in Portimão. Their sole rider, Leon Camier, had a tremendous 2016 campaign, but in the face of regulation changes, he faces the daunting task of trying to make the F4 into competitive package once again.

The Englishman had seven Top 5 finishes last year, and 15 Top 10s, and helped to change the perception of the Italian squad. Previously, MV Agusta had been consistent under-performers and tail-enders in WorldSBK, but their form last year gave plenty of hope of revived fortunes.

The ban of split throttle bodies, which allowed the cylinders to be opened independently when accelerating, hit the team hard in their initial tests and it appears that over the last two months little progress has been made on the issue.

“We have to be realistic with our goals for this year because the change from split throttle bodies has caused us some problems,” admitted Camier. “I think that it will continue to cause us problems and even though we might be able to mask it with electronics it’s not right with this bike.

“The rules are pretty fixed, so there’s only a few things we can do, and we’ll probably have to just focus on electronics to help us. Electronics are the biggest thing that we’ll work on because we’re using the standard throttle bodies now and not the split. That’s better today but it’s still not great.”

“We need to improve not just power, but also power delivery. Last year despite the lack of power, we had something that I could still ride well because I felt good on the bike, but the change of the throttle bodies has meant that right now I can’t feel that. It’s definitely the area we need to work on most.”

Camier set the fifth fastest time by the end of the Portimão test, half a second back from the leading Ducati.

While Chaz Davies was comfortably the fastest runner, Camier took heart that he was within three-tenths of Eugene Laverty’s Aprilia. The 30-year-old also takes heart in the fact that the team has planned a raft of upgrades to the bike.

“We’re not far off the others which is pretty good considering it’s our first day back on the bike,” Camier said on the first day of testing. “It’s difficult to say if we’ve made much progress yet, but hopefully for Australia we’ll have a new engine.”

“At the minute, we’re still on last year’s spec of engine, but we’ve a different tank to try to make the weight lower while keeping the same balance. We’ll try a different riding position too.”

“There’s a lot of things to come because we need more engine braking, but that will be helped with the new exhaust that we’re waiting for.”

“I’m hoping that we’ll have everything for Australia because it’s something that I’ve been looking for, for a long time. We’ve a new swingarm coming, but I’m not sure how that will change things. The 2017 bike will be a little more refined all around.”

Photos: © 2016 Steve English – All Rights Reserved

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  • Surya De

    Ugh I hate these stupid rule changes that Dorna is intent on having WSBK follow just so they can get more time difference between the MotoGP class and WSBK.

  • n/a

    I suspect they were prompted by Ducati?

    Four cylinder, running on two exiting corners so they had best of both worlds. Ducati only have two so they couldnt cut any lol.

  • n/a

    Small team/brand with financial difficulties, this rule shouldn’t apply to them!

  • mcarroll38

    Couldn’t the OEM’s just put split throttles on the production bikes? Does this only effect inline fours since they have all four individual throttles moved at the same time by one throttle motor? Do the Ducati and Aprillia have to run mechanical linkage between cylinder banks to tie both throttle banks together (preventing split throttles between cylinders)?

  • MikeD

    Can someone on the know explain WTF are split TBs ? And why would you want that in your Inline 4 ? What’s the fancy deal i’m missing here ?
    AFAIK, all butterflies have ALWAYS opened at the same time to the same degree on I-4s.
    Why would i want uneven apertures ? Wouldn’t that make the engine run “funny” ?

  • Nicko55

    Camier’s riding has been astounding on the MV, really hope they can adapt and keep moving forward with the program.

  • n/a
  • TonyG

    Nice contribution to the discussion MikeD….Thanks.

  • MM

    No, it was prompted by the fact that manufacturers/teams were running fly-by-wire throttle bodies on bikes that were not leaving the factory with them. This change was mentioned around 2014 or 15.

  • paulus

    Exactly. What is the point of a production based series if they are running excessive exotica and non-factory major parts.

  • paulus

    What would you rather have, the tech available on the bike you can buy in showrooms (even in limited numbers), or exotic super-secret set ups only on that team’s bike? The brand needs to up its game and offer production (ahem) available solutions to be competitive and reap those mythical Monday morning sales that they still rave about.

  • Barry Rothwell Taylor

    Remember the electronics on the road bikes are way more sophisticated than MotoGP are allowed to run , if anything the race bikes are being ” dumbed down ” .

  • Stickshift

    “Four cylinder, running on two exiting corners so they had best of both worlds”

    When running on 2 cylinders they had around half the torque of a twin cylinder engine…

    Restricting power via (splitting) throttle bodies is just another form of traction control, particularly useful for exiting corners to get power to the ground.

    If it’s not offered by factories on homologated oem bikes then it’s not permitted for racing – the answer lies there.

  • PierreLaPierre

    staggering that a factory team hasn’t signed this undeniably talented rider – would have liked to have seen him alongside Chaz instead of Melandri at Ducati.

  • Superlight

    You mean like the Honda running ride-by-wire when the production bike had none?

  • Superlight

    Given MV’s financial issues, I can’t understand why they don’t have Camier running in WSS (in addition to Jacobsen) for the championship. MV can’t afford to develop a new 4-cylinder lineup, so why struggle there when they could add another rider where their bikes are extremely competitive?

  • CBR Sean

    MV is a factory team…

  • michael uhlarik

    Why is MV racing? It would be nice if MV actually paid their workforce and returned the nearly $10 million stolen from their pensions.


    The company has no money, weak sales, a poor dealer network and almost non-existent spare parts availability. Even if by some miracle they won a race, it will only be appreciated by a tiny number of enthusiasts who either already own one, or wax lyrical about the significance of such a win without actually buying an MV.

    As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, trade professional and former Italian resident this makes me so sad.

  • CBR Sean

    Or we could say how Aprilia never had gear driven camshafts and then added them in 2014.

  • Alam R

    This is a good move by Dorna. We need to keep the field level and also this will actually help MV as Kawasaki won’t get further away from the rest of their competitors. Kawasaki are looking at WSB like Yamaha and Honda look at MotoGP.

    Kawasaki are cleaning up in WSB and also WSS. They need to work on their marketing and let the world WANT their winning product.

    I want a new R1. I want a 1299. I want a Aprillia RSV4R… I’m meh about the Kawasaki. This coming from a Kawasaki road bike owner. Kawasaki need to work on it hard! Celebrate their wins harder!

    I love those iconic leather Leon is wearing. Amazing.

  • Superlight

    True about the Aprilia gear-driven cams.

    There has always been a tremendous difference between “factory” and privateer rides and there always will be.

  • Superlight

    It’s hard to disagree with what you say about MV and their problems, but I do like the bikes (I have an F3). Given their issues, I’d put all their racing efforts into the bikes that are competitive – the triples.

  • PierreLaPierre

    In theory you are quite right…..read michael uhlarik’s comments below… I meant a factory team that is solvent

  • Anteater

    Road bikes are certainly more sophisticated tham Moto2 bikes but not MotoGP bikes.

    The Magneti Marelli control ECU is a high quality item, it just does a little bit less them the previous bespoke factory emu’s. Bear in mind that the factories still get to link their own emu’s the the Magnetti Marelli unit so its not that bad for them.

    BSB on the other hand, the ecu is now as basic as it can get which does not seem to have harmed the racing.

  • Nicko55

    I think Camier would be wasted in WSS, he’s a top-class SBK rider who can handle (and over-ride if necessary) 220+hp day in and day out. Another thing that occurred to me based on MV’s SBK performance last year, is just how great the series’ rules actually are. The fact that this tiny factory could consistently finish inside the top 10 is a testament to balanced rules.

  • Superlight

    I disagree. Winning the WSS championship would be a nice feather in MV’s hat at a time when many question whether they should continue to exist as a company. It’s fine that Camier has the ability to run superbikes, but he’s not likely to win that championship with the bike and support he now has, where on the WSS stage he could be king and help MV sell the line that’s fully competitive – the triples.

  • Starmag

    Beat me to it. Racing is a swirling black hole for money.

  • Nick

    Agree with your point, but if memory serves, the corporation that builds the motorcycles is paperwork separate from the entity that races. So that’s how they get around this little issue, but I do think there’s a point here. They can’t “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” when there’s nothing to buy and nowhere to buy it.

  • MikeD

    Fine, fine . . . take it. lol.

  • paulus

    Exactly why there are these type of rule updates….

  • paulus

    many thanks… looking forward to picking up my non-alternator, gear driven cam, split throttle bodied, fly by wire bike this coming Monday :)

  • jake woods

    Wasent there word that Melandri is riding for free or minimal salary?

    Also Melandri has the right passport to ride for Ducati

  • Yes, he’s basically riding for free.