Most people know that we think and move our bodies thanks to electrical signals in our nervous systems. However, no one tries to be consciously aware of these signals as we think and act in daily life. Working away out of sight and out of mind they greatly affect our performance, and in fact we could do nothing without them. It's the same with a racing bike and its electronics. True, some electrically operated parts like meters are visible, but most of the wiring, circuit boards and electronics is hidden away, playing its vital role behind the scenes. In this section we talk to the engineers behind the RC-V electronics to learn about the development process and their passion for this project.
(Report by MotoGP commentator Hikaru Miyagi)
It would be hard to grasp this topic without some visual help, so let's first take a look at the cockpit, where the RC-V electronics are at their most visible.
a. Sector indicator
Each circuit is divided into four sectors, Sector 1 through Sector 4. These four lamps light up when the rider makes best time in each sector. During his attack in qualifying, seeing the row of lamps light one after the other spurs him on, keeping his motivation high right through to the final sector.
This is really just a visual aid, since in reality each rider decides the point to shift gears based on his instincts and riding style. For example, throughout 2011 Stoner and Dovizioso mostly kept their revs high, while Pedrosa rode with comparatively low rpm.
On a street bike the speedometer would go here, but information about speed is not actually useful on the race track. Instead, the monitor displays the currently selected engine mapping, water temperature and other data.
d. Shift indicator
Every bike rider knows that feeling, when pushing for speed on the expressway, of trying to shift up out of top gear – trying for the imaginary "seventh gear." Well, MotoGP riders are no different – the engineers can clearly see them doing it from the data. This indicator showing gear position prevents the easy slips that lose vital fractions of a second.
e. Traction control indicator
In the pre-season tests of the 2010 model this was a five-digit indicator, but by the opening race it was simplified to two digits. The numbers give the rider information about settings such as wheelie control and engine mapping.