Using Computer Analysis to Bring Honda Back, Stronger than Ever

<< 1. Speeding Through the 1960s
<< 2. After a Decade, a Comeback to the Grand Prix
<< 3. Organizing the NR Block: Preparing for a Comeback
<< 4. Coming Back with a 4-Stroke Powerplant
<< 5. The Oval Piston: Heart of a New and Different Breed
<< 6. From Fantasy to Reality: Completion of the 0X Engine
<< 7. The Unconventional: Adopting a "Shrimp Shell" Frame
<< 8. The NR500s: A Humiliating Debut
<< 9. Refining the Engine-a Top Priority
<< 10. First Victory: The Suzuka 200-Kilometer Race
<< 11. The NS500, Honda's First 2-Stroke GP Machine
<< 12. Victory Again : After Fifteen Years
<< 13. Using Computer Analysis to Bring Honda Back, Stronger than Ever
<< 14. From the NR to Le Mans and Production Bikes
 


Oguma spent as many as 210 days overseas during the 1982 season, and through the exertion of it all his weight dropped from 67 kg(147.7 lbs.) to 49 kg(108 lbs.). Over the course of his time abroad, Oguma analyzed the race circuits, dividing them into those that were advantageous and those that would be possibly troublesome to the NS500s, which were less powerful than their rivals but superior in cornering performance.

He also studied the ways in which the machines won and lost. Of the victories, some might fall from the sky due to other rider's mistakes. A win by default was essentially different from a perfect victory. The same was true with the losses. He analyzed the details and summarized the results. The data clearly showed the weaknesses of NS500s and their degree of compatibility with each succeeding track. Therefore, to HRC, the year 1983 was to play a critical role, in which not only the result of each race but the result of the entire season would be scrutinized. Oguma wanted to help his machines earn higher positions through the effective use of strategies, as substantiated by data. He believed this would be the key to Honda's championship victory.

The championship race in the 1983 season ended up a dead heat. After beginning the season with three consecutive victories, Spencer continued to win on technical tracks. Although he was not able to beat Yamaha rider Kenny Roberts and his YZR on high-speed tracks, with each succeeding race Spencer accrued more championship points. When all but the final race had ended, Spencer had 132 points, while Roberts was close behind with 127 points. Spencer could win the championship title if he finished at least second in the last race.

The twelfth and final race was the San Marino Grand Prix. Yet, even amid the pressure of this important event, Spencer finished second to win the championship title. That race also secured the manufacturer's title for Honda. Therefore, even though the NR team was not able to keep its original promise of becoming world champion in three years, Honda had at last conquered the World GP series. It had taken five long, arduous years, but the smell of victory was sweet nonetheless.

The 1984 season saw Honda fighting it out with 2-stroke, 4-cylinder NSR500s as its key entries. Then, in 1985, the company competed in the 250 cc class with RS250RWs (a name that was changed to NSR250 the following year), which were commonly described as pint-size NSR500s. Crossing over with an RS250RW, Spencer became the first rider in the history of World Motorcycle GP racing to win two classes-the 250 and 500-in a single season.

Honda went on to win numerous manufacturer's championship titles in the 125, 250, and 500 classes of the World Grand Prix and big-name riders like Wayne Gardener and Eddy Lawson dominated the tracks with their Hondas. In 1989, Michael Doohan was welcomed as the team's newest rider. Doohan subsequently won the 500 cc championship title for five consecutive years, from 1994 to 1998.

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