The Misano Test is always an important date to mark on the MotoGP™ calendar, but due to Honda and Yamaha’s struggles, 2023’s post-GP Official Test was huge.
The two Japanese marques brought early 2024 versions of their machines to Misano, with particular focus being on Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Fabio Quartararo’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) comments. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at what new parts we saw in the Honda and Yamaha camps, starting with the former.
On the face of it, Honda’s 2024 RC213V prototype had a new chassis, a new tail unit and new exhausts. Notably, Honda didn’t have a 2024 engine to test, so Marquez, Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) were trying some new things with the 2023 engine.
The chassis was a big change. All three riders mentioned that the new chassis required them to ride the bike in a different way, but it didn’t fully solve the rear grip issues the riders are struggling with.
In the two pictures below you'll see how much has changed between the latest 2024-spec chassis and a 2023 version around the headstock. The 2024 chassis has a rather large area that recedes backwards at the point where the air intake goes through the headstock of the chassis.
In the 2023 chassis picture, you can see there’s a lot more material around where the air intake goes through the headstock. One other thing to note here is the size of the spacer underneath the top triple clamp. The spacer on the 2024 bike is much taller and so allows the handlebars to sit much higher. The riders spoke of the riding position being different on the 2024 bike so this is probably one of the big changes they felt.
Tail unit and exhausts
The tail unit is an area that Ducati have revolutionised in recent years with their mass damper. We don’t know for sure, but it’s possible Honda have done the same.
The exhausts were also updated. The lower exhaust appeared to be very similar with only minor changes. However, the top exhaust is where we saw a slightly larger change. It still follows the same design idea but there were tweaks to the pipe diameters in certain areas. One reason for this could be to fine-tune the power delivery of the engine, which in turn might help them gain rear grip. The riders didn’t comment on this, so we don’t know for sure.
Like Honda, the chassis is an area Yamaha are digging deep into to try and claw their way out of the situation they’ve found themselves in. Better front-end feel and turning have been key issues in 2023, and to try and help, the chassis below is what Yamaha brought to the Misano Test.
In recent seasons we’ve seen Yamaha tweak the area towards the top of the main beam where the hole and large cut out is. On this chassis, Yamaha tried a different arrangement that is quite different from what they’ve been using. However, after speaking with Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), the Italian briefly and concisely informed motogp.com that he did not prefer the feeling he had with this chassis.
Below is their regular chassis. You’ll notice how different the cut-out section is. This chassis has essentially been their regular chassis since the start of the 2021 season, but since 2021 Yamaha have updated their engine to find more power and have added higher downforce aero. Essentially, this chassis has been around for a couple of seasons now while other key areas of their bike have changed.
Yamaha’s large double-exit exhaust was on the testing agenda in Misano. As is to be expected, the riders were tight-lipped as to what effect these exhausts have on the bike.
The new engine was given the thumbs up from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ Team Manager Maio Meregalli. He said the engine is faster and easier to ride, but Quartararo admitted that he expected much more.
During the Test, Yamaha tried the aero package pictured below. It keeps the traditional sweeping rounded wings at the top and then incorporates some side-pod wings, as well as adding the downwash ducts lower down on the side fairings. Unfortunately, Quartararo’s review of the new aero wasn’t hugely positive.
A massively pivotal few months are coming up for both Honda and Yamaha as they try and claw back the deficit to Aprilia, Ducati and KTM.
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