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Witteveen analyses MotoGP engine development

Witteveen analyses MotoGP engine development

At this weeks Official Test in Jerez the respected former Aprilia technical chief Jan Witteveen gave motogp.com his impressions on the latest generation of MotoGP 800cc engines.

At this weeks Official Test in Jerez the respected former Aprilia technical chief Jan Witteveen gave motogp.com his impressions on the latest generation of MotoGP 800cc engines.

The 50 year-old Dutchman, who has also previously worked for the likes of Bimota, Cagiva, Gilera, Sachs and Simonini, oversaw 17 title triumphs with Aprilia in a 15 year period of glory which commenced in 1989.

As one of the worlds leading experts on two-stroke motorcycle engines he currently works as a freelance journalist and technical consultant, utilising his vast knowledge of engine specifications in the World Championship and beyond.

Comparing MotoGP and F1 engine development and advanced technologies such as pneumatic valve systems which were first introduced to MotoGP with the Aprilia RS3 prototype in 2002- Witteveen explains: With the 990cc to 800cc changes of the rules, starting from last year it was necessary because the rpm level went up by around 2000 to 2500 rpm. So to have good performance on higher rpm you need to have the right systems. In Formula One they are running at 19,000 or 20,000 rpm and in the 800cc MotoGP class they are now running at 18,000 or 19,000. I think Ducati is running at over 19,000.

Now it is necessary, because with a normal system you can create the rpm but you dont get the level of performance that you need. With the normal spring valve system I think you can obtain reasonable performance at levels up to 14 or 15,000 rpm.

According to the Dutch technical guru, World Championship winning factory Ducati is a step beyond their rivals thanks to their trademark desmodromic system.

Beyond that level previously mentioned, you dont have sufficient intake volume and you dont get the performance, so you have to do something. In this case Ducati has a desmodromic system and its a real advantage. Other companies like Kawasaki and Suzuki started early with their new systems. As you saw last year, Kawasaki and Suzuki from an engine point of view were more competitive than Honda and Yamaha sometimes.

For this year Yamaha have been working quite hard to switch to the pneumatic valve system because you have more performance and higher rpm, but of course you need time. Its not so easy to do that. At the time when we started with a pneumatic valve system it was to make higher rpm and to have high performance, and it normally takes a couple of years to set it up.

Also, you can take onboard the Formula One technology, but the engine philosophy regarding the characteristics of the power, of the torque, is completely different The engine development you have to do in a different way, which is the reason why they need more time.

In the long run everybody in MotoGP will be running with either the desmodromic system, the pneumatic valve system or something like that. Not with a spring valve system, because it gives limited performance at a higher rpm.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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