Engineer Bernardelle explains the different approach and the help the former Suzuki technician can give, then analyzes the five bikes in the championship and reveals what can be an advantage for Rins
April 17, 2023
After having them explain how a MotoGP works at the startin relation to the difficulties of Maverick Vinales, we asked the engineer Giulio Bernardelle for another one explanation: that is, the importance of the technical director Ken Kawauchi, arrived this year from Suzuki.
The question comes the day after the big Texan weekend of Alex Rins, which has brought Honda back to the top step of the podium and has already, in fact, put the plus sign on the entire season of Cecchinello’s team.
“From what I’ve seen over the years – explained the engineer – Kawauchi and Suzuki they have not made such an innovative motorcycle; it was, conceptually, very similar to the Yamaha M1″.
The contribution that Kawauchi gives to Honda
Bernardelle: “The contribution that Kawauchi can give to Honda is this: create a working methodology that allows him to collect many information which they then take them to solve problems. I don’t know him personally, he’s from the generation following mine, he was the second of the Suzuki project between 2015 and 2017, then he took over the first position in the following years”.
“I knew Takeo well, who had arrived at Honda between 2006 and 2007, that is when I was there. I can tell you that, as far as I had known Takeo, he was a convinced Japanese, that is, not very willing to listen to opinions different from his”. In this Kawauchi seems to be different: “Yes.”
The five bikes are not so far apart: a characteristic for each one
For the eng. Honda’s victory is not so a surprise, because according to him, from the point of view of the bike’s potential, the competitors are not that far apart.
The ing then indicated a feature which distinguishes each of the five bikes:
Yamaha: “Little acceleration and low speed”
Ducati: “Not the best handling bike of the lot”
KTM: “It remains the most difficult bike to develop in terms of chassis compared to the other four”
Honda: “It’s the best handling bike and we saw it yesterday. It was the feature that Marquez liked in the good years, so it’s the fastest when changing direction”
Aprilia: “The main feature is that it has an engine very similar to Ducati, in terms of performance and has a very stable chassis with a very solid front end, this makes life easier for the riders when braking”
“Apart from these aspects – added the engineer – the performances are not so different, and we have seen enough of it in these first three GPs of the season. Hence the difference he can do it guessing a basic setting that makes life easier for the pilot, now that, with the Sprint race, the pilots also have less time to practice”.
Can Rins do other exploits? And the benefit of being on a customer team
“Yes, there are at least a couple of other tracks where Rins could do well. He won six MotoGP races, but he collected little, he could have done much more. He crashed many times and was never consistent. He’s a incredibly talented and drives differently, sitting differently as well.I still expect that up front.
“Unlike Mir, he does have a factory bike, but in a satellite team. So he concentrated on riding that bike there, and the difference you see is crazy, while in Suzuki the results of the two were often similar. Being in a factory team can’t always be an advantage if the rider isn’t fully structured. That’s perhaps the problem Bastianini has encountered this year.”
In short, for our ing. the contribution that Kawauchi can giveand which is probably already giving, is by methodical naturea different and more open approach to problem solving than in the past.
In addition, for Eng., Rins can still be competitive, and one of the advantages it has is counter-intuitive: being on a customer team instead of being official. Looking closely, it is also the advantage that Bezzecchi and Marini have at the moment and that Bastianini himself had in the first part of last year.