VALENCIA, SPAIN, NOV. 7 – The international media got its first in-person glimpse of Honda Racing Corporation’s final “production racer” – the Honda RCV1000R – today at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, site of Sunday’s MotoGP World Championship season finale.
Honda’s new prototype machine will be raced next season in the new MotoGP “Open” class and will be ridden by the likes of Nicky Hayden and Scott Redding. The new open class is set to replace the CRT class and allows for prototype machines with Magneti Marelli hardware and software. The bikes will be able to use a 24-liter tank and will have an engine allotment of 12 per season.
The RCV1000R shares a lot from its factory sibling, as both the chassis and the engine are based on the RC213V. Weighing in at just under 355 pounds, the RCV1000R has a 90-degree V-four that produces over 175KW of power at 16,000 rpm, utilizing conventional steel valve springs rather than the more expensive pneumatic ones of the factory prototype and a traditional gear box as opposed to the seamless one. The bike comes standard with Öhlins suspension and a Nissin carbon brakes.
Armed with testing data from tests this year at Motegi with its new test rider – former World Champion Casey Stoner – the production racer was only .3 of a second slower a lap than the factory prototype on the same day, same tire and the same rider (Stoner). When using the softer tire that will be available to the Open class next year, Stoner was just .17 of a second slower on the RCV1000R.
Testing will get started at Valencia this coming Monday with Hayden and Redding getting a crack at the new bike with their new teams – Aspar and Honda Gresini Team, respectively. Honda has two of the new bikes in Spain – one for each rider.
After the technical debrief of the new machine, project leader and HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto was asked if he thought bikes like the RCV1000R were the future of MotoGP.
“I don’t know, ask Carmelo [Ezpeleta – the Dorna boss],” Nakamoto replied.