World championship road racing changed forever in 2002 when the screaming 2-stroke 500cc race bikes were replaced with 990cc 4-strokes. For the new era of MotoGP Honda once again chose a different path from its rivals and developed the RC211V, powered by a revolutionary V5 engine. Featuring a 75.5° bank angle, the engine had three front cylinders and two rear cylinders. Never before in road racing had there been a machine with such a unique engine architecture. The RC212V dominated the competition and won forty-eight races, more than any other 990cc machine,
For the 2007 season, engine displacement was reduced to 800cc. Most of Honda's rivals simply made smaller versions of their existing machines. Honda, however, designed a completely new V4 engine based on feedback from the RC211V. Once again Honda made history by introducing the first V4 engine in road racing's premier class. The new engine was extremely compact and offered superb mass centralization, permitting use of a more compact, more aggressive-handling chassis. The RC212V is the ultimate expression of Honda's V4 technology.
Every other manufacturer also applied their most advanced technology and put their company pride on the line. As a result, Honda had a tough time and was unable to win the championship between 2007 and 2010. However, development of the V4 engine continued.
"Using original technology to win at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing." To achieve that goal the RC212V development team worked at a feverish pace. Their aim was to get more top speed and to reduce rider workload by making the power easier to control. To do this they developed highly advanced electronic control systems to make the machine respond so faithfully to rider inputs that it would seem like an extension of the rider's body. The team also developed many revolutionary new technologies such as the seamless transmission that significantly reduces the shock loading caused by shifting. After a five year drought, the results were there for all to see in 2011 ? the last year for the 800cc machines ? as the Honda RC212V took the rider, team and constructor championships. Once again Honda reigned supreme at the pinnacle of MotoGP racing. For 2012, engine displacement was again increased to 1,000cc. Honda challenged this new era in MotoGP racing with the RC213V powered by a newly developed V4 engine. Although the machine won the 2nd and 3rd race of the season, non-stop development continues in the search for even higher performance.