Moto2™From Pit Lane

Technology: The Moto2′s evolution point

Technology: The Moto2′s evolution point

As we could see from looking at the lap times, the technical state of the Moto2 category has clearly evolved. Every single component has been subjected to study and development, with the end result being a significant improvement in global performance.

Tires, frames and suspension components undoubtedly received much of the early attention, resulting in rapid improvements in rideability and overall performance. Following that, but also somewhat contemporaneously, there was work carried out to optimize and increase engine performance, which we remind you is equal for everyone.

The aerodynamics of each bike were modified several times, leading into the optimization not only of the main fairings, but also the other details like the mud guards, seats and seating positions of the riders themselves. The idea is to reduce drag as much as possible, which obviously translates into greater speeds reached.

The most complexity of aerodynamic development comes out when looking for the maximum penetration, meaning the least absorption of power when moving forward, without penalizing the rideability of the bike. This is because, unlike cars, the handling of a motorcycle is influenced by the lateral resistance created by high speeds, or even by simple external wind gusts that create problems for the rider. Therefore, part of the development work is carried out in wind tunnels, which allows for detailed analysis of aerodynamic penetration and a more efficient collection of data than during track testing, where constantly changing ambient conditions can complicate matters.

The rules state, beyond the engine and ECU, that the air intake group must be derived from the CBR600RR. This includes the airbox, injectors, air filter and fuel pump, meaning the only element of aspiration left free is the air intake. This is partly to allow for solutions adapted to each chassis.

This part plays a decisive role because it essentially becomes an integrated part of the airbox, and influences the pressure inside said airbox, creating a slight positive pressure. At the very least, the goal is to keep pressure constant, allowing the engine to always have the air necessary to improve performance.

In summary, the more pressure we can create inside the airbox, the better it is. And it’s even better if the pressure is stable and continuous, combining with a high performance fuel, like the one provided by ENI, to increase performance sensibly. This allows for the air/fuel mixture to be delivered without any problems from detonation.

The shape and size of the air intake require extensive study and, as always, careful attention paid to the final compromise. The intake is usually located at the point on the fairings with the highest aerodynamic pressure, which tends to disturb the overall aerodynamic effect. The larger the intake, the larger the loss in aerodynamic efficiency.

A smaller intake area could work at sustained high speeds, since the speed of the air and its pressure will always be sufficient. But once the bike has slowed down noticeably, this same smaller intake will struggle and specific consumption will increase, as is the case during violent acceleration from lower speeds.

An evolution in engine aspiration naturally requires an improvement in exhaust to go along with it. Here the focus is on the muffler. Aside from new ceramic treatments to isolate heat and temperature, there have been rapid changes in dimension, often requiring a change in mounting layout from the left-hand to the right-hand side of the bike, or vice versa.
It isn’t uncommon to see exhaust systems dedicated specifically to achieving higher top speeds or greater acceleration, and therefore better suited to one track or another.

In conclusion, we can confirm that in its third season of existence, the Moto2 category is reaching very high levels of evolution and performance. Every component has been developed, and the speed shown on track is the end result.

Massimo Branchini

17 July 2012