FRONT-RUN­NER

Brookes & John­son pleased with heav­ily re­vised Bri­tish beast

Motorcycle News (UK) - - TT 2017 PREVIEW - By Oli Rushby BSB REPORTER

‘This bike is ready to race” – those were the words of Josh Brookes the mo­ment he stepped off Nor­ton’s V4-RR SG6 TT after com­plet­ing his fi­nal test be­fore head­ing to the Isle of Man TT. Such words com­ing from a rider of Brookes’ cal­i­bre, the 2015 MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike cham­pion, is huge ku­dos for the Bri­tish man­u­fac­turer. When Nor­ton boss Stu­art Gar­ner said he was go­ing to take the mar­que back to the TT with an Aprilia-pow­ered ma­chine, peo­ple laughed, but now, six in­car­na­tions of the V4 racer later, the bike will set off the Su­per­bike and Se­nior TT from the num­ber one spot with Dave John­son on­board.

And while it could be ar­gued send­ing the boom­ing V4 down Bray Hill first is a PR stunt, John­son earned Nor­ton’s el­e­va­tion through the ranks after tak­ing the fac­tory out­fit into the 130mph club last year with a 130.872mph best. He could have gone faster too, had he not crashed out of the Se­nior TT and with that in mind both John­son and Brookes, Nor­ton’s Aussie dream team, are tipped to trou­ble the top five this year.

“The bike is an­other level on from where it was last year,” ex­plains team boss Johnny Cu­sack. “We’ve re­designed the chas­sis from what we learned with the SG5 and from Davo [John­son] and it’s now all linked to our V4-SS and V4-RR road bikes.

“We’ve re­vised the ge­om­e­try, we’ve got a whole new out­rig­ger sec­tion made in bil­let. The rear sub­frame and front sub­frame are now the same as on the road bike. We’ve shaved loads of weight off the bike too – last year we had big clunky yokes that weighed 3.5kg and the new ones are down to about 600g!”

While Nor­ton do now have their own V4 mo­tor, as seen in the road bike, the team have opted to stick with the ex-mo­togp CRT Aprilia V4s they’ve run for the last few years rather than tak­ing a mo­tor that has done very few test­ing miles to the world’s tough­est course.

“We’re still run­ning the Aprilia en­gine this year purely for the fact it’s a known quan­tity,” Cu­sack con­tin­ues. “It’s giving us the power we want and every­thing else we’ve asked for so we’ll use it again for this year and then go from there with our own mo­tor. You’ll also see the road bike has a sin­gle-sided swingarm, whereas we’ve stuck with the dou­ble-sided arm we had last year and again this is be­cause it’s a known quan­tity.”

A key fac­tor that helped Nor­ton make their sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward last year was the in­tro­duc­tion of a Mag­netti Marelli elec­tron­ics pack­age, which re­mains the same for 2017.

Cu­sack added: “We made a big step with elec­tron­ics last year. Test­ing has gone well, we’ve had no is­sues where we’re chang­ing swingarms or cut­ting frames in half like in the past, those days are long gone and now we’re just fo­cus­ing on re­fin­ing the pack­age.”

Nor­ton have spent the year re­fin­ing their race bike and Brookes reck­ons it is the com­plete pack­age

Aussie dream team: Brookes (left) and Dave John­son

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