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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN ROADS RE­PORTER

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

Fast start to the year for Mar-train Yamaha man Dan Kneen and Sheils were dis­qual­i­fied for jump­ing the start. Far­quhar also won the Su­per­twins race with Wil­liam Dun­lop tak­ing vic­tory in the Su­per­sport race on the CD/IC Racing Yamaha. Cus­tard pie throw­ing?

2007: Stoner was the only man to tame the Desmo 2012: Stoner on the pace with Honda Casey and Honda RC211V in har­mony at the Istanbul Mo­togp in 2006

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