MotoGP Technology Phillip Island Update
After several race weekends away from MotoGP I was on the lookout for things that had changed in pit lane. The most dramatic was probably the crazy winglet war happening between Ducati and Yamaha, a subject that will receive its own post shortly. But some other things caught my eye, so here are photos of some more shiny bits seen in the Phillip Island pit lane.
Above, a shot of the Akrapovic-branded factory Yamaha exhaust pipe, which I thought it would be interesting to compare with the Sakura-branded counterpart as used by the satellite Yamahas of Tech 3, below.
The designs of the two pipes are similar, nearly identical, but there are subtle differences. The overall build quality of the Akrapovic looks nicer to the naked eye, the metal itself having a consistent silver color and thicker weld seams. The Sakura pipe is a warmer color with sections that alternate between a less-impressive silver and a dirty brown, and the weld seams are noticeably thinner. A similar difference in build quality is seen when comparing the factory RC213V Hondas with the customer RC213V-RS examples.
We can only speculate what the performance difference is between the two pipes. And to know for sure, I suppose we’d have to put each pipe in turn on the same Yamaha engine and then compare data. If that has been done, the results are unlikely to be released to the public!
This is the pattern I’m used to seeing on the factory Yamahas. Comparing the photos, it looks also as if the final piece on Rossi’s version is larger, i.e., Lorenzo’s pipe has a smaller opening at the very end of the pipe. The carbon fiber covers are also slightly different to accommodate the different sizes of end pieces. Just as length of exhaust pipes can affect engine power delivery, perhaps this is a small change made in response to each rider’s preference of feel in the engine’s power characteristics.
Aprlilia’s wet clutch is gone, at least on this bike, which is one of Stefan Bradl’s. Aprilia’s dry clutch sticks out farther than any other clutch I can think of in MotoGP. The others are generally pretty aerodynamic. The linkage is also exposed, which we don’t often see.
The Yamaha clutch barely sticks out beyond the frame, and is similar in this way to the Honda and Suzuki clutches. I expect this is one of many items that will change when Aprilia gets a proper MotoGP bike next season, rather than their current version which is still based on their superbike.
More from the Phillip Island pit lane on the next page: