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Intelligence gathering.

A successful motorcycle racing team relies on many things: competitive bikes, talented riders; skilled and dedicated mechanics; a strong team ethos; and information... lots and lots of information.

How a team analyses and uses that information - known as data-logging - can often mean a few precious tenths of a second per lap; and that, in turn, can mean the difference between victory and the almost unbearable alternative.

The Winston Ten Kate Honda team takes its information gathering very seriously and uses it in conjunction with rider feedback to make crucial performance decisions.

Peter Bom looks after all the necessary hardware - sensors, wiring, laptop computers - and the Superbike side of the garage while Gerard van Laar develops chassis programs and has responsibility for Supersport data-logging.

The team's Honda machines carry more than a dozen sensors all over the bike, measuring wheel speed, water and oil temperature, battery voltage, suspension, rpm, throttle position, acceleration, deceleration, clutch and brake pressure, gear selection, etc.

The data gathered during each outing is stored on a hard disk on the bike and downloaded as soon as the rider returns to the pit box.

Because there is so much information to digest, it is separated into channels and then it's up to Bom and van Laar to interpret it and convey it to the riders and their mechanics.

"There's only so much you can conclude from the data," said Bom, "no matter how many sensors you have on the bike. That's because there are a lot of grey areas – for a start, you have a 70kg rider moving around on top, compensating for all kinds of things that you can't simulate on a computer."

Peter also reckons the riders can even be too talented at times: "At this level, they can sometimes be riding around a problem without even being aware of it. For example, if the front suspension is too soft, they might subconsciously brake less aggressively to compensate."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Peter Bom (right) and Pieter Breddels (suspension engineer) discuss settings with Ten Kate Honda`s Chris Vermeulen.
Vermeulen, Brands Hatch WSBK, 2005
Vermeulen, Brands Hatch WSBK, 2005
Honda Musashi Harc Pro - Takahashi, Haslam and Van Der Mark - win 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours (Pic: David Reygondeau).
Zanetti and Ten Kate, Portuguese WSS600 race 2014
Jonathan Rea - PATA Honda
Honda Fireblade engine, Misano WSBK 2014
Honda Fireblade engine, Misano WSBK 2014
Ronald Ten Kate, Misano WSBK 2014
Ronald Ten Kate, Misano WSBK 2014
CIA Insurance Honda, Misano WSS600 2014
Martin Depper (GBR) Pirtek Racing Honda Civic
Jonathan Rea - PATA Honda [pic credit: David Salisbury]
Jonathan Rea - PATA Honda [pic credit: Gavan Caldwell]
Jonathan Rea - PATA Honda [pic credit: Gavan Caldwell]
Ronald Ten kate, Imola WSS600 Race 2014
Rea, Imola WSBK Race2 2014
Buckmaster, CIA Insurance Honda, WSS600, Dutch WSBK 2104

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