Yes, that seems like a whole lot of money for a motorcycle, but Honda will unveil a whole new production model by the end of 2013. It's an over-the-counter MotoGP racer with a target price of €1 million (US$1.3 million), and a level of power that will make it competitive in the CRT class of MotoGP in 2014. Oh, and the bike is designed to save money.
Honda Racing Corporation is currently testing the RC213V 1000 cc V4 production bike and will release the bike late this year so teams can prepare for the 2014 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix MotoGP class. The new model will enable entrants to race competitively in MotoGP at significantly lower cost than is currently the case.
The as-yet-unnamed production bike will be very similar to the RC213V bikes currently ridden by Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista though it will have conventional valve springs (as opposed to pneumatic valve actuation), a conventional gearbox (not a seamless quickshift gearbox), Nissin brakes (not Brembo units) and Showa suspension (not Öhlins).
We're not sure what other changes will be made to differentiate the machine, but the price is substantially reduced in comparison to the bike it's based upon. While the target price of the CRT machine is expected to come in under $1.3 million, the cost of the current bikes made available to satellite teams is $4.5 million a season, and the biggest difference is that at the end of the season, you have to give them back. That price is simply the leasing fee. At least with these production machines you'll have something to show for your money at the end of the season because you actually get to keep them.
"Development of the model is currently a little behind schedule but the test results showed more than what we had expected, in particular, with its running performance," Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of Honda Racing Corporation, said over the weekend.
"We can't announce its name or the specification at this stage but we will have an opportunity of announcing the details in the not too distant future. We will keep on developing the machine to meet the 2014 MotoGP technical and sporting regulations, and will introduce the model by the end of this year."
The bike hit the track for the first time last Thursday and Friday at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan. Honda has stated it is geared up to meet demand regardless, and there will be no limit on the number of the RC213V production machines available for sale.
Interestingly, it is 12 years since Honda sold a production machine designed to race at the highest level. The NSR500V was V-twin 500 cc two-stroke and was ridden successfully by quite a few privateers. In all, Honda sold 22 of the bikes, which scored seven top five placings and a best result of second place.