Monday, November 28, 2011

BMW S1000RR in MotoGP: It’s a long road

claiming rule teams, MotoGP claiming rule teams, MotoGPclaiming rule teams, MotoGPclaiming rule teams, MotoGP
Electronics may be one of the major limiting factors for production-based machines in MotoGP, says Colin Edwards, who will be riding a CRT Suter BMW in 2012...

The 2012 BMW S1000RR is pretty much one of the most advanced high-performance superbikes in the world – on the street, its 193 horsepower provides ample encouragement for the production of wild, adrenaline-fuelled rushes of sheer acceleration and speed. Weighing in at 206 kilos and fitted with advanced electronics – Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control – the S1000RR is a motorcycle enthusiasts’ wet dream, the stuff that lurid fantasies are made of.

A stock S1000RR certainly offers far more flat-out performance than what most people can ever use on the street. And yet, for those who might have wondered at some point, it still isn’t, apparently, anywhere near a proper MotoGP bike. In 2012, claiming rule teams (CRT) will run bikes with highly-tuned production-based engines and bespoke chassis, in MotoGP. And Colin Edwards, who will be riding one such S1000RR-engined Forward Racing Suter-BMW machine next year, and who recently tested the bike in Jerez, says the bike will need major, significant improvements in order to be competitive in MotoGP.

Edwards’ best lap time on the Suter BMW bike was 1:42.6, which compares rather poorly with the 1:39.895 which he did earlier this year at Jerez, on his 800cc Yamaha YZR-M1, during qualifying for the Spanish GP. ‘Electronics are the biggest area we need to work on. Right now, I’m just not able to ride with any confidence. This is an area where the factories have got a huge advantage and I know coming recently off the Yamaha how long it took them to reach the stage where they are now,’ said Edwards. ‘Effectively, we are years behind. Looking at the times right now, it looks like it will be two championships. We hope we can close that gap for sure,’ he added.

While the S1000RR’s electronics may be deemed ‘advanced’ for the street, they aren’t, understandably, up to task of being used in MotoGP. Hence, the Suter BMW machine will be fitted with a brand-new electronics package, which Edwards hopes will smoothen the bike’s power delivery and make it easier to ride at the limit. ‘The bike reminds me a lot of 2003 when I went to Aprilia – it’s got a screamer engine and lots of torque. It was one of the first bikes with ride-by-wire and all the electronics, so it reminds me a lot of that. But I know what I need, I know what I am looking for, I know how to make the bike go faster. When I started on the Aprilia in 2003, it wasn’t the greatest bike in the world and we made a lot of progress with that in a short amount of time. That’s what we’ve got to repeat with this bike,’ says Edwards.

During the test at Jerez, Randy de Puniet, who’ll be riding a CRT Aprilia RSV4 for Aspar in MotoGP in 2012, posted a best lap time of 1:41.5 – more than a second quicker than Edwards on his Suter BMW. So, yes, it does look like there are interesting times ahead for claiming rule teams in MotoGP next year.

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