Almost exactly 3 years ago, the diminutive Dani Pedrosa set the faster ever speed recorded on an 800cc MotoGP race bike when he hit almost 350km/h (217mph) on the long Mugello straight in free practice for the 2009 Italian MotoGP. How much faster will the new big 1,000cc machines be when the circus hits Mugello in July?
That speed was notable in 2009 for surpassing the top speed of the mighty 990cc machines. Alex Barros had hit 343km/h (213mph) on his V5 Honda in 2004. This turned out to be the pinnacle as a series of changes to the regulations slowed the bikes down. Maximum fuel capacity was reduced to 24 litres for the 2005 season and then dropped a further two the following year.
Speeds dropped again when the smaller 800cc MotoGP bikes began racing in 2007 with the top speed managed that year by Casey Stoner on the rocket Ducati still slower than Tohru Okawa on the first generation Honda RC211V 990cc V5 in 2002.
It didn’t take long for the engineers to get a lot more speed out of a bike 20% smaller in capacity. By 2009, Pedrosa had set the fastest speed at almost 350km/h and faster than the fastest ever 990. Rule changes slowed the bikes again, this time a limit to just 6 engines per season which meant a few horses needed to be sacrificed to the gods of longevity.
Last year, Hector Barbera was the fastest rider on his satellite Ducati 800 and reached 336 km/h (209 mph). How much faster will the new 1,000cc spec bikes go when they hit the Mugello track in July?
No-one knows for sure but we think there is a flying chance of a Ducati hitting the 363km/h needed for a 225mph trap speed at Mugello. At Losail this year, Hector Barbera set the fastest trap speed of the race weekend on a satellite Ducati GP12 with 342.3km/h (213mph) which was 12km/h (7.5mph) faster than he managed on the 800cc satellite Ducati. In fact 3 of the 4 fastest trap speeds in Qatar were Ducatis including the factory pair of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.
The best 6 engine limit speed achieved at Mugello has been the 346km/h by Hector on his Ducati 800 in 2010. He would need to go 17km/h (11mph) faster on his new 1,000cc spec Pramac Ducati. He might just be in with a chance.
Mugello Event Best Speed Results
Fuel capacity reduced to 24 litres
Fuel capacity reduced to 22 litres
800cc class introduced with 21 litre fuel capacity
6 engines limit per season introduced
1,000cc class introduced with CRTs
FG_AUTHORS: Mark Morrison