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Honda talks 2014 production MotoGP racer
8 February 2013
HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto has provided an update on Honda's 'production' MotoGP machine, due to enter the premier-class under the privateer CRT regulations in 2014.
Nakamoto began by denying rumours that an early version of the bike is present at this week's Sepang test, in the hands of new HRC development rider Takumi Takahashi.
"Takahashi is 23 years old," said Nakamoto at Sepang. "He races in the All Japan Championship Superbike class. Akiyoshi [the main HRC test rider] is 34. So we need to think about the next test rider.
"Takahashi has no real experience with a MotoGP machine. It is maybe his second time, so we have given him time here thinking as a future MotoGP test rider - but not with the production machine."
Nakamoto then moved on to discussing the production racer itself.
"Unfortunately our schedule was delayed because it is not easy to meet the one million euro [price] target, when you include maintenance for the full season and other things. So we are changing a little bit the specification of the engine and chassis."
Compared with the four factory RC213V prototypes, the main technical differences will be: "On the engine side, the difference is valve springs - no pneumatic valves - and the transmission is a standard transmission [not seamless]."
In terms of the chassis, "At this moment we plan to use Ohlins suspension and we are talking to both Brembo and Nissin for brakes."
The bike will use the full control ECU system and be eligible for the normal CRT concessions, such as extra fuel relative to the MSMA bikes.
"We are now building the machine. The engine has started bench testing, but the chassis side not yet. When I say it is delayed, I mean from our schedule, but the bike will be ready as planned for next year.
"Our plan was to test a prototype version of the machine at Brno [August] but now it will probably be after the [end of season] Valencia Grand Prix."
Nakamoto hopes all of the 2014 riders will be able to try the new bike at Valencia, but that no rider or team deals were yet in place.
Asked how many of the bikes HRC expect to sell, Nakamoto replied: "Five riders. We can make more, but five is a reasonable number I think."
The availability of additional privateer machines (Honda) and engines (Yamaha) are required to ratify the previously announced 2014 technical changes, which include allowing the manufacturers to keep using their own software with the new-for-2014 control ECU.
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