Fast Bikes - - TEST -

Tri­umph’s chief prod­uct of­fi­cer Steve Sar­gent’s been hands on from the get-go with the whole Moto2 tie-up. Here’s what he had to tell us about the story so far and what it’ll en­tail... I got in­volved with the Moto2 gig right from the start, back in 2016. We were made aware of the fact the Moto2 en­gine con­tract was com­ing up for re­newal via a mu­tual ac­quain­tance that put us in touch with Dorna for pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions. Ba­si­cally, we wanted to know what they were want­ing with re­gards to en­gine sup­ply, and they were in­ter­ested to know what it was that we could of­fer them with our 765 mo­tor. Quite clearly Moto2 has been a very suc­cess­ful and pop­u­lar cham­pi­onship for Dorna, and they wanted to make sure their next move was as con­sid­ered and en­tic­ing as their first one.

Fun­da­men­tally, they wanted to make sure that the se­ries’ re­place­ment mo­tors could be as re­li­able and de­pend­able as the Hon­das that’ve seen the cham­pi­onship flour­ish. Ob­vi­ously they were also in­ter­ested in up­ping the ante, with a more pow­er­ful, more dy­namic and ex­cit­ing pow­er­plant; some­thing that could of­fer a bit more of a chal­lenge for the rid­ers and the teams. They also wanted to know what we could of­fer elec­tron­i­cally to try and tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vance the cham­pi­onship, and put it slightly more in line with the premier Mo­toGP class. We liked the chal­lenges they were putting for­ward and knew that we were able to meet all of their de­mands and more. In terms of horse­power, the 765 has upped the game sub­stan­tially. More than 135bhp and in terms of torque, we’re talk­ing about 80Nm – both fig­ures be­ing con­sid­er­ably greater than what the Honda was mak­ing. And then you’ve got the tractabil­ity of a triple, which has proven a mas­sive hook to the GP test rid­ers who’ve been putting the Tri­umph Mule through its paces. Any­way, Dorna liked what they were hear­ing and we saw the move as a big op­por­tu­nity to broad­cast Tri­umph in the premier rac­ing paddock. It was a deal that suited both par­ties.

We’ve ob­vi­ously been work­ing very hard to de­velop and test the pro­posed spec­i­fi­ca­tion en­gines, which are now in their fi­nal it­er­a­tions. The en­gines will go for three rounds be­fore a re­fresh, and there’s a thor­ough sched­ule for their reg­u­lar over­hauls, which will done by a com­pany called Ex­ternPro, who cur­rent look af­ter the se­ries. They have a ro­bust process that they go through when it comes to build­ing en­gines, and re­build­ing en­gines.

We’ve ac­tu­ally had some of our spe­cial­ists spend­ing time with the guys at Ex­ternPro to help ed­u­cate them on how we build a triple en­gine, which has brought good co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the two of us. At the end of the day it’s in ev­ery­body’s in­ter­est that we have fan­tas­tic re­li­a­bil­ity and the very best per­for­mance. The mo­tors are ob­vi­ous de­rived from the 765 mo­tor. Fun­da­men­tally, we’ve tried to help the mo­tors breathe a bit more freely, and to spin up a bit faster. The way in which we’ve done that is by port­ing the cylin­der head, fit­ting ti­ta­nium valves and stiffer springs, plus a race kit al­ter­na­tor to re­duce in­er­tia. We’ve also kit­ted the en­gines with higher flow in­jec­tors, an FCC clutch and taller first and sec­ond gears. And then there’s all the elec­tron­ics. The stan­dard bike revs to 12,650rpm, and the Moto2 bike en­gine will rev to 14,000rpm, which helps free more peak power.

We’ve been very pleased with what we’ve found, both in terms of per­for­mance and dura­bil­ity. We’ve also sim­u­lated ex­ten­sive stints of rac­ing con­di­tions on track to try and eval­u­ate any po­ten­tial wear. But ev­ery­thing’s been fine. We’re ready to roll, Dorna’s happy and now our fo­cus will be on sup­ply­ing the nec­es­sary num­ber of en­gines needed for all the teams, who’ll un­doubt­edly be hop­ing to get an en­gine in their chas­sis ready for Novem­ber’s of­fi­cial test – that’ll be when the true Tri­umph Moto2 ma­chines will be mak­ing their de­but, and we re­ally can’t wait. It’s go­ing to be very spe­cial.

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