MUGEN TARGET 123MPH LAP AT ISLE OF MAN TT
| ELECTRIC TT GETS SERIOUS Mcguinness and Anstey aiming high after intense three-day test of all-new Mugen in Japan
John Mcguinness and Mugen teammate, Bruce Anstey had their first ride on the ‘Shinden Go’ electric bikes they will race in this year’s Zero TT race during a test in Japan last week.
“It will be the nicest bike in the TT paddock, a real prototype machine that looks beautiful,” 23-times TT winner Mcguinness beamed after the threeday test at Motegi.
“It is a completely new bike with a monocoque carbon chassis and with the new motor positioned down low behind the battery,” he explained.
Mugen have dominated the zero emissions TT race over the past two seasons, with Mcguinness chasing a third win in a row this year after lapping the Mountain course at almost 120mph on the Shinden in 2015. The millions of yen invested by the Japanese company in the single lap race have now seen Mugen produce the new 160bhp motor in house.
This makes the new bike both lighter and more powerful than any of the previous Shinden incarnations.
“The shock is now on top of the swingarm with a new rear link that means we can run a much shorter chain,” Mcguinness added. “It has more stopping power too, with bigger discs and new Nissin calipers.”
“The centre of gravity is lower and the battery can be charged faster so we tested in the morning and then again in the evening,” Mcguinness’s teammate, Bruce Anstey said as he celebrated his 47th birthday last Sunday.
“The new motor sits just in front of the back wheel with a big banana style swingarm curving out over it and the battery is where the engine would be on a normal bike and inside the frame. It has a little bit more power but doesn’t overheat at all now, which is something that we had problems with before.”
With so many new components to test the duo had a busy three days at Motegi, completing over 60 laps of the Grand Prix circuit as they tried out the new suspension, alongside tweaking the bike’s power delivery.
“The bike is a lot narrower and it feels like a proper race bike now,” Anstey commented.
The Japanese company has never been shy about declaring its aims for the Zero race and in 2016 Mcguinness says Mugen are looking for a 122-123mph lap from the 160bhp machine.
“With the extra power we should have a top speed of 160mph, which is about the same as a 600,” the Morecambe man said. “So now it depends upon the two jockeys sitting on it. A few years ago when we were lapping at 100mph I could have taken my sandwiches out and had my lunch as I was going round but now we will have to really concentrate and be inch perfect. But I am definitely up for the challenge.”
“The Mugen has stepped up to another level,” Kiwi Anstey agreed after finally collecting his New Zealand Order of Merit awarded to him by the Queen in her 2015 New Year’s Honour’s List after visiting New Zealand en route to Japan.
“We tried a lot of things at Motegi and we won’t really know how well it will work until we get to the Isle of Man but we will have another test at Castle Combe between the North West 200 and TT.”
Jorge Lorenzo’s move to Ducati at the end of the year already has the Motogp world speculating furiously, but one man that has already pledged his support is double Motogp champion and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner.
Following confirmation of Lorenzo’s move, Stoner tweeted: @Official_cs27 I’m happy to welcome @lorenzo99 to the @Ducatimotor team for 2017! Looking forward to working together on the red machine!
Stoner and Lorenzo have a good relationship and will both no doubt be galvanized by their desire to beat Valentino Rossi – the nine-times GP champion who has been a persistent thorn in both their sides.
MCN’S sister publication Mcnsport caught up with Stoner for an exclusive interview which you can read in full in the latest 132-page issue. Here’s a taste of what you can expect:
Casey Stoner remains one of the greatest riders of the Motogp era: he won two Motogp world titles on different makes of motorcycle and has ridden 990s, 800s and 1000s. Not only that, the Australian has never been afraid to speak his mind, which is why there’s no-one better to talk about how the motorcycles and the racing have changed over the last decade or so.
In the full interview, Stoner tells us why the 990s were easier to ride than 250s; reveals how and why he simultaneously used the 800 Ducati’s front brake and throttle; and explains why everyone is using a similar riding technique on today’s 1000s.
Finally, the 30-year-old Ducati test rider delivers an vicious attack on the factors that he believes are ruining Motogp, such as hi-tech electronics and acres of tarmac run-off. Stoner believes that electronics have removed much of the art and finesse from riding – and that some of the latest ‘improvements’ have only encouraged dangerous riding.
Casey talks 990
“The Motogp bike was quite a bit easier to ride than a 250, especially coming from an Aprilia 250. They were nasty
little machines Ð very, very effective and incredibly fast when you got them right, but getting them right was a bit tricky. In many ways that’s the way with the Italian family of racing machines.
Òwhen I first rode the RC211V at the Valencia tests in November 2005 I found changing direction so much easier. I had to be less aggressive than I’d been with the 250. That was probably because the 250 had higher corner speed and often better grip, so you had to put in more effort because of the greater gyroscopic effect and so on.
Òthe best way to explain is to liken it to going from a go-kart, which is extremely nimble, to a big V8 car; maybe the difference isn’t that big, but it’s in that direction.
Òthe Motogp bike took a lot of the rigidity out of it because of its weight and power, and because the bike wanted to spin; it didn’t want to drive off corners like the 250. So for me, it was a bit like going to a slippery track and I always felt more at home whenever we went to a slippery track, even on a 250. I was never a rider to just trust the grip; I always had to feel the grip, and the more I felt the bike moving the more I felt OK, because I knew that’s where my limit was. I preferred knowing what I was getting myself into.ó
Casey talks 800s
Òthe 800s would’ve been just about impossible to ride without the improvements all the manufacturers made with engine management in 2007. That was the biggest advance during the 800 era, not so much traction control.
Òthat progression was the only way they could get the power out of the engines and tame them at the same time. When I was with Ducati they used that progress to make the engine smoother, otherwise it would’ve been a beast to ride.
Òthe 800’s powerband was definitely smaller, but it wasn’t like riding a twostroke. You still had a lot of grunt, but you had to be more precise with your gearing than on the 990. But pretty much everything else I did exactly the same; short shifting out of the same corners and so on.
Òwhat the 800s lost in one area they
Casey talks 1000s
Òwhen I tested the Honda 1000 it was a real package. It was great, I love the power: the more power the better, I love it.
Òthere’s not a massive difference between the old 990s and the 1000s; just a general progression of chassis, tyres, electronics and engine. The 1000s definitely make more power, but it feels tamer and smoother throughout the rev rage because they can control each aspect with the engine management and electronics.
Òthe way Motogp is now, I’d say the riding is more one-line than it was. In the 800 era all the bikes had different characters Ð some had more power at the bottom, some had more power at the top.
Ònow we’re back to 1000s with a fantastic amount of grunt, but the electronics are still too good, in my opinion. Back in the 990 days, the only way they really helped us was with engine braking: you’d still be loose, you’d still be backing it in, but the electronics stopped you from completely locking up and sliding.
Òwith the 990s, the electronics were also there when things got really bad; so if you completely destroyed a tyre they’d get you home. But in general they weren’t that much of a buffer for the rider, so you really had to do everything yourself. That’s why that era was the best time for me.ó