MotoGP technique: in the middle of the season, the Honda revolution has not yet borne fruit

When Honda unveiled the latest prototype of its MotoGP prototype, the RC213V version 2022, the goal was to address certain weaknesses in version 2021. And the least we can say is that HRC engineers have worked hard to to carry not a minor. upgrade to last year’s RC213V, but to create a new prototype. So more than an evolution, it’s a revolution, as many parts have been reworked by HRC teams. But the start of the 2022 season has been difficult for HRC teams, though it’s not for lack of trying. Multiple chassis, so many different configuration ideas and the endless determination of their riders, gave it their all and luckily the engineers still have a lot of ideas to try.

In 2022, the Honda RC213V has evolved constantly, but had already begun in late 2021, during the Misano tests, where the beginnings of the 2022 prototype were discovered, which is a radical change from the version 2021 of the RC213V. The air intake is different, the rear loop including the seat is completely redesigned and it looks like the Ducati, now incorporates a mass damper. This hypothesis seems to be confirmed with the new position of the rear exhaust, which has moved from the middle next to the motorcycle.

Then, in Jerez, during the official tests, this machine returned to the track. It was the first chassis of 2022 developed by Honda, which had high hopes for a prototype that they believe would take them immediately to the top. The Honda RC213V 2022 is more than an evolution, it is a revolution never achieved by HRC teams in the modern era of MotoGP. Their new prototype was centered around the back, to help them find grip and twist, but in retrospect it didn’t work out as expected.

It seems that things were a bit more complicated than expected, but they were anticipated from the beginning because even in the Jerez test there was another totally different chassis.

It was this chassis. The thickness of the main beam was very different from the original chassis of 2022 and it was this that finally served as the basis for the prototype of 2022, which 3 of the 4 Honda riders chose to use for much of the first half of 2022 .

In Sepang, for the first preseason test, this chassis had been slightly reworked. It looked very similar, but no longer had the carbon attached to the main beam. However, Honda was still exploring the other option, which also came with an evolution.

Honda seeks to improve grip on the rear, moving the engine to the chassis to change the center of gravity, but this seems antagonistic to improving the front feel. To fix this, these cropped sections of the main spat can provide the expected response. The cut sections in this area of ​​the chassis are nothing new, Yamaha has had them in its prototype for several years. The idea is to remove some of the force from the chassis to allow it to flex and look for grip when braking or when tilting at high angles.

Takaaki Nakagami was the only one to test it as the main chassis. It is very close to the first version developed by HRC teams for 2022, the biggest difference is the new weld that runs horizontally across the main beam.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the exhausts have been reworked on this machine. The exhaust located under the seat is the exhaust that allows to evacuate the exhaust gases of the 2 cylinders arranged in the back of the V4 engine. This exhaust includes an exhaust valve that can be opened and closed at certain times on the track. Most of the time it will be used to increase engine braking, closing the deceleration phases to provide more negative torque, which should help deliver better braking performance.

But it can be used at other times, such as low rpm to adjust power as engineers want, or it can be programmed differently for different types of engine brakes and torque maps, which can be used to change the behavior of the bike. throughout the race. The famous “Mapping” that appears on the TV screen. However, during the preseason test, the Honda no longer had any.

The new exhaust pipes are coupled to a new engine, something Honda has been waiting for a long time. After the development of the engine froze due to the global pandemic, to reduce costs, Honda had to use an engine specification with which they were not satisfied. While there was no doubt that the heavy front chassis of the old RC213V caused a lot of problems for the riders, it didn’t help that an engine that seemed difficult to use the brakes efficiently.

Throughout the season work continued on the exhaust pipes, but only on Stefan Bradl’s testing machine. These were seen in Jerez. The upper exhaust was a little longer and had a different diameter and the lower exhaust had also received some small changes.

In Mugello we saw another small modification to the chassis, centered around the pivot of the rocker. This slightly blurred image shows the stock chassis, where the tipper pivot screw located here on the left side of the RC213V is round and quite large.

Honda changed the way the pivot screw passes through the frame and slightly modified the frame itself in this area. It looks like that meant they could advance the pivot slightly, but none of that has been confirmed. However, Marc Márquez confirmed that whatever changes are made, they should try to help the RC213V turn better.

During the last official test, in Catalonia, Stefan Bradl used this chassis. It had carbon attached to the main beam in an area similar to where it was in one of the 2022 stock frames, seen in the second photo in this article.

So Honda is working hard trying to find the right formula to run their new RC213V. It has been a complicated process so far and has only become more difficult with the absence of Marc Márquez.

For 2022, Honda has unveiled a motorcycle that represents a year of hard work, if not a little more. The culmination of thousands of hours of effort from all technical teams, from parts testing to the test bench and then to the pilots. In the end, even though HRC engineers have come a long way with the 2022 RC213V, they are still looking to improve something to end the downward spiral that Honda is going through.

Photos: Dorna Sports

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