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The RC211V explained, by HRC President Yasuo Ikenoya

The RC211V explained, by HRC President Yasuo Ikenoya

The RC211V explained, by HRC President Yasuo Ikenoya

HRC President Yasuo Ikenoya explains the development process so far for the revolutionary Honda RC211V:

'When we embarked upon the challenge of developing a four-stroke GP machine, the first and foremost thing in our minds was that this would be the first time in the world it had been attempted and also the fact that we wanted to build an uncompromising racer. Next, in order to realize our vision, we decided upon three concepts; concentration of mass, minimization of the front silhouette and maximization of traction.

'Following that, we began to consider some of the finer details. Deciding upon the engine layout caused us the most grief. After doing simulations using almost every imaginable layout, 3-cylinder, 4-cylinder and 5-cylinder options still existed. We really wracked our brains over what to do. Firstly, the 3-cylinder choice would necessitate oval pistons, this would of course represent a challenge, but we had already attempted this in the past. 4-cylinder was too ordinary and we all agreed that this option would be boring. In the end, we decided to go with a V5 design.

'Our choice was a result of research indicating that this design had a good chance of winning races, but in the end, the real reason we did it is because no one had ever done it before. The idea was discussed among our staff and it seemed only natural to everyone that we take on this challenge. Once we arrived at our decision, we never had second thoughts.'

'When Honda enters any race, we naturally aim to win. But for us, that's not the be-all and end-all of racing. We deliberately take the roundabout route to victory. On the way, we evolve new technologies, train our people, and learn all sorts of valuable lessons. That's always been the Honda way. In technological terms, the RC211V is a classic illustration of how this process works. Its New Pro-link suspension, under-the-seat fuel tank, and many other innovations were a direct result our focus on maximizing the strengths of the V5 high-level design and packaging flexibility.

'This brand-new racing machine developed from scratch has already set new course records in our winter tests at Phillip Island and Sepang. This is good news, but our competition isn't just sitting around, so we need to keep pushing forward with its development. In this regard, the situation is exactly the same for the NSR500 development team. The NSR500 incorporates further refinements on the final-spec version of our 2001 championship machine. Its lighter body allows it to out-perform the RC211V in terms of low-speed cornering and hard braking. The design has more experience behind it, and it's more reliable too, so its prospects are excellent.'

500cc, 2001

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