STU­ART WOOD

TRI­UMPH’S CHIEF EN­GI­NEER

Fast Bikes - - TEST -

If there’s one man that knows whether a Day­tona 765 is truly on the cards, it Tri­umph’s Stu­art Wood. Over a tea and some bic­cies, we picked his brains…

What can we ex­pect from the 765?

The 765cc en­gine was an evo­lu­tion of the 675cc which we’ve been build­ing for years that we un­der­stand from a road and race en­gine, so even though the 765cc en­gine was de­signed for the road it’s got the same at­tributes which will make it work in­cred­i­bly well on track. For us, it’s not so much about the torque or even the peak power, it’s mainly about the torque spread and the power de­liv­ery, and how the en­gine in­ter­acts within the chas­sis be­ing a triple. It’s a great chal­lenge, but a great op­por­tu­nity. What we’re at lib­erty to say is that the en­gine’s pro­duc­ing in ex­cess of 135bhp, and in ex­cess of 80Nm of torque. We don’t have the pre­vi­ous sup­plier’s mo­tor to com­pare against, but what we know is that at the very first test with the man­u­fac­tur­ers, first time out, the Tri­umph en­gine was al­ready match­ing the ex­ist­ing brand’s lap times, which re­ally shows its po­ten­tial.

How dif­fer­ent is the Moto2 en­gine to the stock en­gine?

We’ve in­creased the power and torque, along­side in­creas­ing the rev range to 14,000rpm. The de­tails within the en­gine aren’t cur­rently be­ing dis­cussed but we ob­vi­ously have changes such as a higher com­pres­sion ra­tio, ti­ta­nium in­let valves, race springs and a few com­po­nents to al­low it to achieve those fig­ures – we don’t just take a stock en­gine and in­crease the rev limit. Although revs have been in­creased by nearly 2,000rpm so the 765 now has a 14,000rpm ceil­ing. The prin­ci­ples of the en­gine are ex­actly the same as the Street Triple’s, al­beit with more power and torque through a bet­ter range of revs, with a bet­ter re­sponse, which gives the rider a more flex­i­ble use of gear­ing as well. The only other key dif­fer­ences are to the first and sec­ond gear ra­tios, which are now taller, plus the en­gine has a much lighter race spec gen­er­a­tor, which saves weight on the crank and helps the mo­tor to spin up faster. The feed­back we’ve had from the first test was that it’s much more akin to rid­ing a Mo­toGP bike, as rather than cor­ner speed it likes to be stuck onto the fat part of the tyre and fired out of cor­ners, so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the cur­rent Moto2 rid­ers get on with the ma­chine next year as it will be chal­leng­ing.

Why build this mule?

What you see here is es­sen­tially a mod­i­fied Day­tona chas­sis, which has been utilised purely as a ba­sis for us to test the en­gine; it’s ba­si­cally like a mule bike. What we needed to do was test the en­gine, as the en­gine isn’t de­signed as an en­gine; it’s de­signed as part of a mo­tor­cy­cle. This means that the en­gine’s char­ac­ter­is­tics on the road help to de­ter­mine its at­tributes on track, as it’s not about hit­ting the right power fig­ure, it’s about get­ting the feel­ing. There were very few mod­i­fi­ca­tions made to get lit­tle things in like the Moto2 wheel sizes and slick tyres, but there’s not a huge dif­fer­ence to an ac­tual Day­tona’s geom­e­try; we’re only talk­ing a sin­gle de­gree sharper head­stock an­gle and a 4mm in­crease on trail, to help the bike turn. There have been two stages of en­gine tune, with the sec­ond one fea­tur­ing an FFC slip­per clutch for in­stance, so rid­ers can tune it for things like how much they want the bike back­ing into cor­ners and things like that. The next stage is to pair the mo­tor up with Mag­netti Marelli elec­tron­ics for full ad­justa­bil­ity, which is ac­tu­ally in use on an­other test mule ma­chines – it’s get­ting very close to sign-off as well which is good.

Do you have to sup­ply teams with a whole mule?

No, not all. We only have to sup­ply en­gines, as the ini­tial work was done with the chas­sis man­u­fac­tur­ers so they un­der­stood what they were de­signed for – they had en­gines and de­tails from us to build the ac­tual chas­sis. The teams will get a com­plete bike for the first test in Novem­ber, and through­out the sea­son teams are sup­plied with a sealed en­gine which they aren’t al­lowed to have apart, and then af­ter a cer­tain amount of time it comes back to us and we sup­ply them with an­other while we ser­vice the used one – the mo­tors are fully re­freshed ev­ery three rounds. We don’t man­age the en­gines, and it’s ac­tu­ally a Dorna-ap­proved com­pany that looks af­ter all the ser­vic­ing side of things – we just sup­ply all the com­po­nents, which works well for us. A lot of our work has been to en­sure con­sis­tency en­gine to en­gine, and in terms of mea­sure­ments ev­ery en­gine has been as close as can be. A lot of ef­fort goes into mak­ing the se­ries suc­cess­ful, and it’s very pro­fes­sional.

Peo­ple are ex­pect­ing a new Day­tona. Do you have the in­cli­na­tion to build one?

Yes, if there is de­mand. That’s not look­ing at sales fig­ures, that’s talk­ing to cus­tomers, and po­ten­tial cus­tomers all the time. We are ask­ing, we do want to know what peo­ple want, and it’s an ex­cit­ing bike, but there has to be a real mar­ket. If there is, there’s ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity. We keep hear­ing from the press, from many peo­ple, say­ing why aren’t you build­ing a new Day­tona? The truth is, at the mo­ment peo­ple are buy­ing other styles of bike. I don’t know how we can be per­suaded, but maybe, just maybe, the pos­i­tive feed­back from this race bike will get broader aware­ness of what we’re ca­pa­ble of, and then who knows from there. We’ve done very well over the years, and the re­ally pos­i­tive thing about Moto2 and peo­ple see­ing it right now is that they’re see­ing an en­gine used hard and raced fast, that they can gen­uinely go and buy a ver­sion of for the road. It’s not just the shape of the en­gine and the fact it’s three cylin­ders, the way it feels, the way it de­liv­ers power, the way it sounds and the way it al­lows you to ride a mo­tor­bike is the same; we’ve taken our val­ues, and how we feel a bike should be set up and put it in a race en­gine.

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