In this section we look at a part of the RC212V that Honda has kept completely under wraps until now – its engine. Winners in the world of racing get there by doing things their rivals can't or haven't, and even a glimpse into the inner workings of our engine risks tipping off the competition.
However, we can't disappoint the many millions of motorcycle fans around the world, so we managed to get permission to talk to some of the engineers behind this amazing engine, and bring you never-before revealed details of the RC212V power plant.
(Report by MotoGP commentator Hikaru Miyagi)
First, let's take a quick look under the cowling that hides much of this engine.
From 2007 to 2011 (when MotoGP regulations specified 800cc displacement) the RC-V engine was a water-cooled, DOHC V4.
It had a maximum power of over 220 hp, allowing riders to reach speeds up to 350 km/h on the faster circuits.
Extensive technical feedback from competition in other racing categories gave rise to innovations such as pneumatic valves and Honda's unique seamless transmission, which virtually eliminates shift shock when changing gears at high speed.
Honda has poured all its vast technological strength into this engine, focused on the single goal of winning. A magnificent, intricately-tooled piece of machinery, it evokes the spirit of tenacity that's always needed for victory. Just looking at this beautiful mass of metal, any true motorcyclist's heart will quicken.
Now for a look at the individual parts – the first time ever that the inner workings of this engine have been revealed.
Camshaft, valves, pistons, crankshaft – these are essentially the same parts as on your road bike, but in this case every possible technique has been used to extract maximum performance under the extreme conditions of the racetrack.
Camshaft and crankshaft are made from steel, like those in commercial bike engines. The difference is that, instead of being made from metal poured into a mold, these parts are machined from blocks of forged steel. This ensures the highest possible precision, for the best combination of lightness and strength.
The pistons are made from lightweight, forged aluminum, machined from aluminum ingots to give robustness and light weight.
Asked for my main impression, I'd have to say that these are parts that cost an extraordinary amount of money to produce.
Camshafts carry the cams, sets of lobes that open and close the valves. They are turned by gears that transmit the movement of the crankshaft. Each shaft is machined from a single rod of steel. Normally, this would feel quite heavy in the hand, but for this engine all excess metal has been machined away to make the camshafts extremely light – lightness being a prime requirement for these components that rotate at very high speeds inside the top of the engine.
The crankshaft converts the back and forth movement of the pistons into rotary motion. Like the camshafts, it is machined from a single block of steel. Various shapes can be used for the crank weights, but it seems they chose a round design for the RC-V to achieve the desired weight. And of course, high-end dynamic balancing is used to reduce vibration at ultra-high rpm.
The force of the exploding mixture of fuel and air in the combustion chamber moves the pistons up and down. They are machined from aluminum ingots to ensure maximum strength and lightness.