MotoGP, Everyone against Ducati: everything changes for Honda, Yamaha faithful to the past


MotoGP riders’ holidays begin in December. Testing is banned and it’s time to take a well-earned rest and recharge the batteries for the first tests next year. The World Championship, however, does not go on vacation, on the contrary the winter months are busy with work for the designers who have to prepare the bikes for the following year.

During the last tests in Jerez at the end of November, the first innovations were already visible but, as usual, the engineers keep the best of themselves until the end, also not to reveal their cards too early. An idea of ​​what lies ahead for 2022 in some cases is clearer than in others.

Ducati: no limit to the best

Until a few years ago, the Desmosedici was described as a bike for strong stomachs. All heart (read the engine) and nothing else. However, the Dall’Igna treatment had its effects and they were all beneficial. It is now the most coveted bike, the one that all cyclists can ride and, above all, they can be fast. Thanks to engineer Veneto and his group as well as to Michele Pirro, one of the best testers around. The result is that every new feature, whether small or large, works and moves the bar higher and higher.

Jerez has seen the evolution of the new aerodynamics that first appeared in Misano and which should improve handling in the middle of the bends, even at the cost of a few small losses under acceleration and in a straight line. Then there was a new chassis, a few updates to the 4 cylinder and a very long (and ugly) exhaust.

After all, the time for revolutions is over for the Red team, it is now only a question of working on the weak points without losing the balance achieved. Bagnaia & company left Spain with a smile, a sign that the road is right.

Yamaha: don’t change a winning motorcycle

When it comes to the M1, it’s always the same old story: For years, finding visible differences has been a job for a lynx. The same old story is repeating itself, “nothing has changed”, but on the track, the stopwatch proves that Yamaha is right. In Jerez it was exactly the same, with a new fairing that looked like the old one, a new frame that looked like the old one and so on.

Yet this is the way Iwata engineers work and there is no point in waiting for anything else. If anything, what runners are begging for is power and you can’t blame them. The Yamaha is a fun bike to ride, sincere even if it doesn’t go without saying that it can’t be pushed to the limit, but when it comes to power it is consistently at the bottom of the table when it comes to power. high speeds.

Quartararo has complained about this on several occasions, also because it is not the easiest thing for them to overtake. Now the ball is in the hands of engineers, because the first evolution of the engine tested in Spain was not enough. “Give me a fast bike, no matter how easy it is to ride or not” Fabio wrote in his letter to the Japanese version of Santa Claus.

Honda: the time to change

The RC213V was the only truly “new” bike seen in the test. The old project seemed to have come to an end and it was time for a change. The HRC is second to none in terms of firepower and indeed the first prototype was seen this summer. It doesn’t have much to do with the current bike: starting with the fairing, going through the frame, the engine, etc.

“A new conception” this is how Alex Marquez described it, emphasizing how some agility was lost while gaining a lot of traction. One could argue that they followed the path of Ducati, the most “modern” motorcycle from various points of view.

The goal is clear: to make a bike for everyone and not just for acrobat Marc Marquez, who is still in the infirmary and therefore cannot give any important feedback on development. The first step has been taken, but it is certainly the project on which there is still work to be done.

Suzuki: clothes don’t make a man …

The GSX-RR didn’t have a good 2021. While it had seemed one of the best bikes on the grid the year before, this season it failed to keep up with the best of the competition. Davide Brivio’s farewell also weighed heavily, forcing Shinichi Sahara, the MotoGP project manager, to spend more time on the circuit and less in the racing department.

New features (including the rear lowering device) came late and development was slow. The Japanese know this and have tried to catch up with the best competition. The motorcycles seen in Jerez didn’t show any eye-catching developments, but there were. First of all, the engine, the 2022 version of which had even been tested in Qatar at the start of the year. As with Yamaha’s cousins, the goal is to find power to reduce the inconvenience of V4 bikes.

For the rest it is a question of fine-tuning, because the basis is there and it is solid, but not enough to fight on equal terms, it seems, with the best.

Aprilia: under the dress … a lot

Aleix Espargarò complained that he had nothing to test in the last tests of the year, but his statements scared the men in the garage a little. On the surface (apart from a new exhaust due to a new component supplier) the RS-GP was the same as before, but in reality it was a laboratory for the new year.

The project has been recently updated and there is still a lot of room for improvement. Aprilia achieved her first podium this year, but also struggled late in the season, showing some idiosyncrasy for the cold conditions. The road ahead is almost over, but the final stages are still the hardest to take.

KTM: the best is yet to come

RC16 took a step back in 2021 and there also appears to be some confusion regarding the direction of development. It is therefore not surprising that in Austria, they decided to change the technical direction, with the arrival of Fabiano Sterlacchini.

Little has been seen in Jerez, except for a fairing which is reminiscent of Ducati in its philosophy. The impression is that the engineers are still working to bring the most important innovations to the tests in February. Getting back to 2020 levels is the first objective, not only in terms of results but also to convince the riders not to give up the ship.


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