Science friction.

Deep in the heart of a Superbike engine, as it laps international racing circuits at speeds sometimes in excess of 300kph, two worlds of technology are colliding - but doing so in almost perfect harmony.

One world consists of hard and uncompromising metal - camshafts, valves, pistons, conrods and crankshafts - the other is far more fluid and yielding and yet, without it, the former would simply grind to a halt.

But the lubrication of a Superbike engine is about much more than just the oiling of the component parts and the reduction of friction. It is equally about the control of engine wear, the removal of heat and, indeed, the boosting of power.

One of the Winston Ten Kate Honda team's most important technical partners is Castrol, among the most recognisable brands in international motorsport with activities in Formula 1, MotoGP, international power-boat racing and World Rally, as well as the World Superbike and Supersport championships.

And Castrol's relationship with Ten Kate goes far deeper than supplying lubricants and putting a sticker on the team's CBR1000RRs and CBR600RRs. It is backed up by around 250 chemists and engineers predominantly based at the Castrol Technology Centre near Reading in the UK.

Castrol's partnership with Honda goes back a long way and stretches across national and international motorcycle racing series. But perhaps the most memorable tie-up between the two corporations was the Castrol Honda World Superbike team that secured three world titles with John Kocinski in 1997 and Colin Edwards in 2000 and 2002.

Just as Honda's racing technology is ultimately destined for its road bikes, so Castrol's lubricants know-how can be transferred into road bike engines. However, as Will Pickford, a senior development technologist in Castrol's Motorcycle Product Development department explains, there is a necessary distance between the two.

"With racing motorcycles, we're working in an extreme operational environment," he said. "The stresses imparted on the lubricant are significantly increased when you consider factors like the sustained high engine loads and speeds. The oil has to work much harder.

"On the other side, racing oils are formulated to contain only what's required. Whilst some special chemistries are added, others are omitted as they would compromise performance. The race engine has to perform on track but doesn't need to run for thousands of miles between services, and after each race the engine is serviced which includes an oil change.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Castrol’s Will Pickford demonstrates some testing equipment to Winston Ten Kate Honda riders Chris Vermeulen and Katsuaki Fujiwara.
Ten Kate Honda CBR 600RR, WSS Qatar, 24-26th, February, 2005
Vermeulen Leads Corser et al, WSBK Race 2 Misano, 2005
Nicky Hayden Tribute, Ten Kate, Donington WSBK 2017
PTR Honda, WSS, Donington WSBK 2017
Red Bull Honda garage, Donington WSBK 2017
Ten Kate, Assen WSBK 2017
Ten Kate, Assen WSBK 2017
Ten Kate, Assen WSBK 2017
Ten Kate, Assen WSBK 2017
Bradl, Honda, Assen WSBK 2017
Red Bull Honda truck, Aragon WSBK 2017
Red Bull Honda truck, Aragon WSBK 2017
Redbull Honda, Thai WSBK 2017
Exhaust on Brad`s Honda, Australian WSBK, 2017
Exhaust on Hayden`s Honda, Australian WSBK, 2017
Ten Kate, Bradl, Race1, Australian WSBK, 2017
Ten Kate, Australian WSBK, 2017

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