19 June 2008
Q&A: Nicky Hayden`s telemetry analyst.
Ramón Aurín was one of the first engineers, alongside Antonio Cobas, to exploit telemetry data to improve motorcycle performance at the race track.
Over the last 20 years, Aurín has seen the the importance of telemetry grow whilst working alongside the likes of Álex Crivillé, Carlos Checa, Alberto Puig, Sito Pons, Jorge Martínez Aspar, Loris Capirossi, Max Biaggi and Troy Bayliss.
Aurín has been part of the Repsol Honda Team, working with Nicky Hayden, since the 2006 season - when the American won the MotoGP World Championship...
How did you start in the world of motorcycling?
I started off as telemetry analyst with Antonio Cobas and the JJ Cobas, until Antonio stopped racing as a brand and we went to the Honda Pons team. It must have been around 1990; with Aspar in 125cc and 250cc, and Sito Pons in 500cc.
Would you say that Antonio Cobas pioneered the use of telemetry?
I think Antonio Cobas had worked in Minardi for two years, and in Formula One they were already using telemetry, though not with bikes. He was always inventing stuff for the chassis and the rest, and thought it would be good to have all that information. The problem at that moment was that the devices we had for collecting the information - we're talking about 20 years ago, with these huge computers - were not adequate at all for a motorbike.
We had to try out a thousand different things and we had these enormous devices, which hardly had any memory either. Those inventions provided us with information that showed us things we never would have imagined at that time. From then on it started developing, because the memory was very basic, and the samples were small. It was the start. Then we only had one device and swapped it from one bike to another, the two “Aspar” -125cc and 250cc- and Sito Pons' 500cc.
How would you define 'telemetry'? What exactly does it measure?
Telemetry is based on a series of sensors spread around the bike which give us information about what's happening. This generates a curve which lets us know what's happening at a precise moment. All the information is synchronised so we can understand why things happen. You can see, for example, whether the front suspension sinks too low when braking, how far, and draw conclusions concerning what's happening and why.
What sensors do you use? What is measured?
Practically everything is measured. There are two large groups: a system which measures everything that has to do with the engine, and another which measures everything that has to do with the chassis. The engine sensors measure the detonations, oil pressure, temperature, revs, everything... Bearing in mind that with four cylinders, each one works independently and has to be measured separately. As for the chassis, we measure the movement of the suspension, brake pressure, speed of the wheels, inclination of the bike. You don't always analyse it all, a lot of it is for security reasons.
Can two riders be recognised or distinguished through telemetry?
You can't recognise them, but you can see the differences. To look at a chart and say whether it's this or that rider is impossible. If there are two riders you know more or less, you'll recognise them because of their style.
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