A guide to MotoGP – II

 If you haven’t , this is where you can go through the part-I. I’ll try and keep this a short read unlike the first one.

 The tyres used in MotoGP are not obviously our daily usage ones which are designed as a compromise between longevity and performance with the former throwing in a large weight. There are about 7 types of tyres ranging from super-soft to asymmetric tyres. They are all basically made of 2 types, soft compound and hard. The tyres are made to give top performance at temperatures of 130 – 135 °C heated to around 115°C when inside the pit. The soft compound slicks are designed with smooth treads for maximum traction on dry weather tracks. On a wet track though a smooth tread will produce something known as aquaplaning, that results in the tyre loosing the traction. So, a hard compound tyre comes into play, it has higher tread count. The treads on the tyre help in scavenging the water under the tyre out which results in better traction. The intermediate tyres are a compromise between soft and hard tyres. Asymmetric tyres are specific made for a particular track. Take the Losail International Circuit, 10:6 Right to Left corners, hence the right half is made a bit harder compared to the left half.

tyre warmer
A tyre warmer doing its work, while Rossi.. sure is not taking a dump.

 Up until 2009, the manufacturers or more likely the riders were free to choose any tyre of their liking. Only restriction in place was on the number of tyres, they can use only 40 tyres over a weekend, counting in the weather conditions. After that, FIM declared Bridgestone as the official supplier of tyres for MotoGP, later on the baton was passed onto Michelin tyres. The word is, intermediate tyres are not going to be a part of ’17 GP.

The 2016 variants of Michelin tyres.

 The chassis package of the MotoGP bikes usually are not a bunch of frames welded rigid that hold the parts together, but a frame that can respond to the challenges thrown at the bikes from the track. They are designed to bend and twist as the machine is thrown from one direction to other, which allows for a fluid ride on it. If the chassis for example is like a dry spaghetti, it breaks just like it and provides no response before braking. Whereas a boiled spaghetti can take on forces and provide you feedback by bending to the forces which help you to control the forces acting on it. One basic point is on a complex track, trade in the stiffness for the flexibility which will reduce the chance to crash.

The Ducati’s Aluminium frame.

 The electronics package as discussed in the previous post is the silent killer which makes a huge difference between the manufacturers. The sensors on board collect data ranging from throttle position to tyre wear, which is used in calculating the optimal engine parameters. Not so surprised right, well, it is not just the active selection of parameters based on the live data available, but they run simulations based on the data available and project them to the laps to go and based on the riding style of the rider, either conserve or exploit the resource available. Some argue, this takes out the fun and only the corner entry speed decides the winner. Well, even then, it is not easy if not scary in the first place to sit on a machine going at 300kmph which has a brain and thinks on its own!

Yup…! lot of wires…! lots of them!

  Fairings are an underestimated field which has not been exploited until recently. Last year, we have seen Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and other manufactures try out what was a controversial and seemingly harmful addition of the winglets, which are said to induce a downward push to help on reducing the wheelies. This year FIM has released a guideline which doesn’t allow any protrusions out of the faring and once a faring design is fixed and taken approval of the technical director, also known as homologation, it should be the same throughout the season. Modifications allow removal of material, like you can put some holes on to the faring, modify any internal ducts or fins, which Yamaha is doing, the outer shape can not be modified.

I’ve tried my best to put it short, but hell… I just couldn’t, and there seems to be a lot which is not told. Anyways, we’ll talk about them as the season goes on.


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