Gresini Press Release: Tech Debrief - Cristian Gabarrini Discusses Progress Of Honda RCV1000R

Like Bridgestone, the Go&Fun Gresini Honda team have also developed the good habit of providing a post-race technical debrief with a member of their team after most races. Today, they issued a debrief with Cristian Gabarrini, formerly Casey Stoner's crew chief and now the technical lead providing support for Honda's RCV1000R production racer at each track. In the press release, Gabarrini discusses the progress the project has made so far, how HRC have handled the spec electronics, and the challenges faced by Scott Redding, especially, as one of the tallest and heaviest riders. As always, when Gabarrini speaks, there is something of interest to be learned:


SPAIN MOTOGP DEBRIEF WITH CRISTIAN GABARRINI

The Honda RCV1000R, the new machine especially developed by HRC for the brand new Open Class, is one of the major technical topics of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.

One of the four “Production Racer” bikes on the grid is raced by Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding: an interesting project, given that the Briton is a MotoGP rookie - the only one among the four riders who ride the RCV1000R - and counts on a technical package with different parts compared to his competitors, with Showa suspension and Nissin brake system (like his team-mate Bautista, who, however, rides the “Factory spec” RC213V).

Four races into the season we can begin to draw up a first assessment of the project: let’s see in detail with HRC’s Cristian Gabarrini, who is responsible for the entire RCV1000R program, which has been the work done so far on the bike and his relationship with the teams.

“My role involves basically two activities - explains Gabarrini – First, I’m the link between the work we do on track and the HRC engineers who work at home: everything related to possible problems that may arise, including reliability issues, or requests made from teams for any kind of improvements, pass through me, without intermediaries. Second, I’m available to support the teams with regard to the set-up: during the race weekend I can provide assistance to the crew chiefs to compare the data in order to understand more quickly the right direction to take”.

Is there an exchange of information between the four riders aboard the RCV1000R?

“Yes, there is, but it’s obviously filtered due to a confidential agreement with the technical suppliers: the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, for example, is the only one to use Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, therefore HRC is monitoring the situation in order to avoid a transfer of confidential information”.

What about a first assessment of the project after the first four races of the season?

“I would say that the assessment so far is quite positive: the first most critical phase, in which a completely new bike is brought on track for a race weekend and in which often emerge reliability issues that can hardly be verified during testing, has been overcome quite easily. This important phase was concentrated basically in the first two testing sessions of the year, and has also been facilitated by the large amount of data available, having four riders on the track. Then we had the opportunity to begin to focus our efforts on performance improvements and on finding the best way to take for the bike set-up, with all four riders. Some upgrades have also been made ​​to the electronic calibrations, as allowed by regulation. Now we are carrying on a more specific work, rider by rider, with the aim of assessing their common needs. If a complaint or a request comes from all the riders, it’s clear that it’s a characteristic of the motorcycle which still needs to be improved or adapted”.

Have you already experienced similar requests from all the four riders?

“Yes, with regard to the electronics: we therefore worked in that direction, giving to our teams some upgrades that have been appreciated by all our riders. From the set-up point of view there is still not a meeting point, but this is due to the fact that the riders have a different riding style and completely different characteristics. Redding, for example, is forced to stay on the bike in a different position being much taller and heavier than Hayden or Aoyama. I suppose, however, that in a few races also the needs regarding chassis set-up adjustments will converge”.

Speaking about electronics, which kind of work has been done in details?

“The software available for the Open Class bikes offers a certain number of adjustments for each area - e.g., traction control, engine braking, torque curves, etc.. - If a request is made by a team for a further ‘extra’ adjustment and Dorna believes that’s reasonable, this upgrade is provided to all. At the moment, we haven’t had the need to add something, because the current software is able to provide us with what we need. In HRC, however, we have adapted what we already have available to our specific needs, in particular with regard to the engine brake management: among the various ways in which you can manage it, we have identified the most suitable for the characteristics of our bike”.

Redding is the only MotoGP rookie aboard the RCV1000R: what about his apprenticeship?

“First of all, Scott has a very positive approach: he’s very open to listen to the advice coming from his team and from HRC. He's working a lot on his riding style because he comes from a category where the engine power is very limited, so he is used to carry a higher cornering speed, while in MotoGP you need a compromise that allows you to raise the bike as soon as possible on the exit, increasing the contact surface of the tyre, with benefits on tyre wear and on acceleration. After all, this is an issue on which all the riders coming from a smaller class must work. Scott is also very tall and heavy, so he needs a specific set-up, influenced also by the fact that he’s really aggressive under braking”.

Round Number: 
4
Year: 
2014

Comments

3rd question

'Have you already experienced similar requests from all the four riders?

“Yes, with regard to the electronics:...'

This sounds to me like "These aren't the droids you're looking for", while waving his hand.

Total votes: 35

Power

Do a Ctrl+F in this page and search for the word 'power' and the only reference is to Scott Redding coming from a series where there is less power than in MotoGP. No mention of the lack of power in the RCV1000R ? !!!

I HRC gave my Boi Nicky a few more ponies, maybe he could bust out of 10 place.

Really... No mention of it at all? !!

Total votes: 35

pointless PR

"As always, when Gabarrini speaks, there is something of interest to be learned"

Actually there was very little to be learned here. He pretty much towed the corporate line, avoiding the subject of a complete lack of straight line horsepower compared to the open Yamahas.

Here's what I got out of it:

The RCV1000R is as reliable from breaking down as they hoped it would be.

That's all fine and dandy, but this is GP racing, not Endurance.

again, no mention of upgrades. When all 4 are racing in a class that is supposed to support rapid development.

Total votes: 23

Dorna Wanted a Cheaper Alternative

HRC spent millions of their own dollars to provide a cheaper alternative to leasing a Factory prototype. It doesn't make business sense for HRC to create a cheaper bike that cannibalizes their market share of leased bikes. HRC's target was the ART bike, unfortunately it turns out the ART performance was really Alexi and he is now ridding a 'Factory bike' making HRC look silly. But if you take Alexi out of the picture.......there is no reason to change course, they are the fastest NONE factory bike out there. And if next year Alexi gets on the Suzuki all will appear to be back to normal. CRT-ish bikes at the back, satellite teams fighting midpack and factory teams winning the championship.

As long as HRC, Yamaha, Suzuki, (insert factory team) can outspend the rest of the grid standard electronics or not. They will out bid everyone else for the best drivers, spend the most of chassis development, create new seamless transmissions, have the largest contingent of support staff back in the office and as a result be unassailable by non-factory teams. Oh and if you lease their bikes they will never give you a bike that can out right beat theirs.

Total votes: 25

except...

you are completely missing what Aleix is accomplishing both for himself, and for YAMAHA as a brand.

Using a tech3 bike from last year with the open regulation rules, AE has been able to showcase himself a truly a factory capable rider who is probably going to get it next year, or receive additional help from yamaha.

More importantly, it providing superb marketability for the open class Yamaha concept as it is right now. If you were a customer looking to make a deal with either Yamaha or Honda for next year under the OPEN regulations, (if Yamaha did continue the frame/swingarm support), it would be quite obvious that the Yamaha would by far be the favorite when compared to the performance numbers by the RCV1000R.

It helps build a case that a strong Yamaha, whether being piloted by JL99, VR46, or AE41 is good for the YAMAHA brand as a whole.

Lastly, you can be quite sure Jorge is going to demand a test on the open class Yamaha after this year in order or him to renew his contract with Yamaha after seeing the type of performance AE is extracting out of a satellite bike/team.

My beef with Honda is where the hell is Alvaro Bautista's bike from last year, and Stefan Bradl's bike from last year that could be handed down to Scott Redding and Nicky Hayden and run under the open regulations this year.

BTW, the RCV1000R is a leased project, its owned after 2 years, which by then it would even farther down the pecking order.

Total votes: 33

Um

>>the type of performance AE is extracting out of a satellite bike/team

What type of performance is that? He is setting a fast time on a soft tire that is unable to be used in a race. AE is a great PR magnet for his team by keeping himself near the top of the charts but it is an artificial boost and may detract from his race performance by spending less time developing the race setup. His race results have been considerably worse than expected after preseason testing.

>>if Yamaha did continue the frame/swingarm support

I think Yamaha have already said that next year it is engine only. I'm sure Herve has been giving them quite an earful behind closed doors. Yamaha had those bikes left over and were pushed into giving complete bikes so as not to make Forward and Dorna look silly by having their first and biggest CRT team not be able to get a bike together in time.

>>Lastly, you can be quite sure Jorge is going to demand a test on the open class Yamaha

Even though AE just said yesterday in an interview that the Open electronics is not sophisticated enough to get on the podium? “We need to forget about the podium because during a race our electronics are not the same as the Factory MotoGP guys” Why would Jorge want to ride that bike?

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 26

2016, Ducati MM upgrade, and a full factory team

You seem to have a very close minded interpretation of what I'm saying in regards to JL.

Here's your over sights:

1. 2016 is right around the corner. All teams will be open electronics at that time as we all know. I understand that still leaves an entire season of 2015 of free electronics, however since riders, especially the top ones, tend to sign 2 year contracts, that puts those who resign for more than one year locked into the same manufacturer for the first year of completely open software.

2. Remember that special little MM upgrade that Ducati is running? The software that is more complex than the ones all other open teams, NGM fwd included,are running? I'd be pretty confident that the full factory Yamaha team can maximize the potential of this software to the same level as Ducati is currently doing, which Dovi and Cal have been quoted as saying there is very little difference between what they are running this year vs. last year.

3. It's the Factory Team. Best and latest chassis, more potential for engine upgrades, and a handful of electronic engineers on hand which is all far far superior to anything NGM can get there hands on or get their heads around.

So yes, although AE most likely will not score a podium this year, that's to be expected given the level of capability the NGM team has, and the level of performance of the top factory teams.

We already know the Yamaha is losing its smoothness due to fuel limit. Now Jorge is confident in racing the softer rear.

Jorge asked to ride it last year, so I think it's very short sighted of you to assume that since AE won't be on the podium this year, Jorge will simply forget his request that went unfulfilled, especially when he is going to be in the power position for negotiations.

Total votes: 9

Just saying what I think

>>2016 is right around the corner. All teams will be open electronics at that time as we all know.

Maybe on a multi-year calendar display it is close but it is still more than 1 1/2 seasons away. What the rules and software and tires actually end up being in 2016 is anyone's guess. Jorge will sign on with whoever he thinks will give him a machine to win the 2015 title. That machine will be a Factory entry and extremely likely to be his current seat.

>>Remember that special little MM upgrade that Ducati is running? The software that is more complex than the ones all other open teams, NGM fwd included,are running?

Ducati is not an Open entry and they have no special MM upgrade. They are a Factory entry with concessions and use whatever software they please. NGM and all the other Open teams are running Open software. The rules seemed to move along a bit quickly right before the first race but I think the Ducati/MM software version is not available to the Open teams.

>>It's the Factory Team. Best and latest chassis, more potential for engine upgrades, and a handful of electronic engineers on hand which is all far far superior to anything NGM can get there hands on or get their heads around.

Yes, and the factory wants to put its development resources to use with a Factory entry as long as they can, which includes 2015.

>>Jorge asked to ride it last year, so I think it's very short sighted of you to assume that since AE won't be on the podium this year, Jorge will simply forget his request that went unfulfilled

I didn't say Jorge would forget but Lin Jarvis has said that Yamaha don't intend to test a bike they have no intention of racing. Jorge saw AE apparently doing very well in post-season testing but after seeing him finish a season of races in the lower half of the top 10 what would be the attraction for him to test a bike slower than what he is currently on? He can ask for whatever he wants but I think the answer from Yamaha will be the same.

>>especially when he is going to be in the power position for negotiations.

I think Jorge is in the weak position as far as negotiations go. Honda say they are perfectly happy to keep Pedrosa and it would be nearly unimaginable not to resign Marquez so what other options does Jorge have for a team with a big budget, Factory or Open, 2015 or 2016? Ducati? Suzuki? And if Rossi (and Marquez) keeps running with his current form Jorge may actually be expendable at Yamaha. I'm sure Pol would love a 2016 seat next to Rossi in his swan song year.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 5

Movistar Yamaha and Open Rules in 2015?

Chris, Lin Jarvis refused Lorenzo's request to test the Open configuration in 2014 pre-season testing, but that does not *prove* that Yamaha would not consider a change for 2015. With the latest iteration of the rules (Ducati = Factory With Benefits), I'm not sure whether Yamaha has any alternative choices available for 2015. But if they do have alternatives that include 22.5 or 24 liters of fuel, it is possible they will consider them seriously. Probably a longshot that Yamaha would break away from Honda's lead, but if they continue to struggle on 20 liters...?

Total votes: 6

Changing rules like underwear

>>I'm not sure whether Yamaha has any alternative choices available for 2015.

Yamaha have won races in the dry so its either full Factory or full Open, no in-between. Unless rules change yet again. And if the rules change yet again then you have to re-evaluate your previous decisions and all bets are off. The factories have already had a gentleman's agreement not to develop software past a certain point in 2015 so maybe they will do their normal back-room dealings and move the 2016 rules up to 2015 on the Thursday of Qatar and everyone will be riding an Open bike.

>>but if they continue to struggle on 20 liters...?

Yamaha are not struggling with 20 liters. They, or more accurately Lorenzo, are struggling with the new heat resistant tires having less edge grip. A first lap crash has everything to do with tires and a jump start has nothing to do with the fuel. And Rossi, one of the heavier and taller riders on the grid, has been quite competitive when he has the tire working properly. By all accounts the Factory electronics are great at extending tire life. With the current rule structure for 2014 and 15 if Yamaha switch to an Open designation it would only exasperate their main problem and give them a benefit (?) they don't exactly need. Remember the issues Crutchlow had at Tech3 merely from switching fuel tank designs, let alone a 4 liter increase in capacity.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 2

Arguably where is last year's bikes? Umm they are riding them

I may be wrong but I think AE is riding Tech3 2013's bike/Factory 2012 end of the year bike.

Not sure there is a big difference between the two other than the tank unit that Crutchlow begged for got and then wished he kept the unit that allowed him to fly in the last stages of the race.

With that said, my point is that I would really like to know the difference in Bradl's bike (and Bautista) from this year from last year's.

Same frame - different engine spec? Same engine -same frame?
The real reason I suspect is in their electronics as well - better than Open but not what Marquez/Pedrosa.

Kropotkin? Can you shed some light into what happens with the satellite teams and their machinery?

In the past Tech 3's squad could have two very different piece's of machinery with the same livery if I am not mistaken?

Total votes: 6

Matters on Fri, I take it

Matters on Fri, I take it that you applaud Hondas' cynical & uncompetitive approach to MotoGP then.

Total votes: 10

Cheaper alternative...

This is how they implemented that request:

HRC
1- Develop a new bike to compete against ART's.
2- Not to be competitive against satellites, factory bikes.
3- Cheaper for teams.

Yamaha
1- Bring back old M1's engines. Still better than ART's.
2- It is an old engine, cannot compete against 2014 satellite and factory M1's.
3- Cheaper for Yamaha and teams. No money used to develop new engine.

IMO, they should create a new racing category separated from the MotoGP race, similar to WSBK with sub-prototype engines, say Moto4, MotoGP-II. However, the alternative is to lure in Aprilia and BMW while making sure that Suzuki competes in 2016 to challenge the satellite and factory bikes dominated by the current manufacturers if they want to keep the MotoGP series healthy.

Total votes: 6

As a Geoff Boycott

As a Geoff Boycott impersonator once said, 'Don't pay too much attention to what your thinking'
Honda must love Gabbarini's(the ducati way) the bikes fine it's you that needs work approach...

Total votes: 11

Nothing to see here - move along.

Key Words: Submitted by Press Release.

This is just a fluff-piece from Honda PR - also published on the MotoGP site.

Total votes: 9

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