Although the assembled bikes are transported from one GP to the next in specially-built containers, the teams carry enough spare parts in their lorries to build a new bike from scratch. If there are any problems with one of the main motorbikes, the team can have another one ready to go in a matter of hours.
Putting a bike together requires expert knowledge, but thankfully some of the parts come ready assembled. The engine, some parts of the braking system, and even some wires are already connected and closed, which makes the process a whole lot easier.
Repsol Honda transport boxes
First steps: Frame and swingarm:
Naturally, the starting point is the frame of the bike, the point that joins all the components together. The RC213V has a twin spar frame made of aluminium that has just the right amount of flexibility.
Firstly, the frame is joined to the rear swingarm, where we will mount the rear brake caliper. We will also mount the footrests with the shift levers and the rear brake, in addition to all the auxiliary elements. Next, we need to have the chain on hand to pass through the openings of the swingarm, which is joined to the frame by an axle and a pivot. After this, the rear suspension will be joined up.
Assembling the front of the bike
The next step involves incorporating the front part of the bike into the frame. This includes the fork and all of the corresponding parts. It comes ready assembled with the fork, steering grip, bracket bolt, handlebars, brake and clutch levers, and the corresponding tanks. This part also has buttons to control the ECU, the dashboard, some steering damper cables, air valves, and the mud guard.
The front part is attached with an axle inserted in the lower part of the frame, in the steering stem. Once connected, it is closed and fixed in place by a bearing and a nut in the upper part, located in the centre of the uppermost shank. It’s extremely important that this element is joined correctly, as critical problems could arise otherwise.
Once we reach this stage, the top bridge is mounted that closes the fork from the upper section of the same. Finally, we install the steering damper for the frame section, as such finishing the frontal section.
We can’t forget the crucial role of electronics in the MotoGP bikes. This requires a complex nervous system of sensors and cables that are all connected to the ECU. The cables are installed on the interior of the frame and are held in place by strategically located fasteners so that they don’t interfere with the bike’s other elements. The length of the cables is measured very precisely to avoid excess material that could cause a breakdown if a cable moves and touches a hot part, such as the exhaust or engine.
Next the seat is placed where the fuel tank will go. Just in the final section of this part, the tail, we can find more electronic elements and sensors: We cannot therefore finish installing the cabling until this part is installed. The carbon-fibre seat is held in place with just half a dozen screws.
Installing the engine
The MotoGP engine comes sealed so all we have to do is fix it into place on the frame. The part has pre-installed collectors, sensors, and pinion. This is because once in place on the frame, the available space is extremely limited and it would be difficult to install. This operation is especially tricky, as we must make sure none of the cables or previously installed auxiliary elements come into contact with the engine.
The engine is placed in the lower part and is raised while checking the position of any element that may cause problems. Once the engine is in place, we install the chain on the pinion and can begin adjusting its position. For adequate fitting, the screws are tightened gradually until the engine is in position.
Other parts to be assembled
With the engine in place, we now need to turn our attention to the rear suspension, which is located in a small space surrounded by the exhausts and cables. As we saw in the suspension adjustment article, this module is assembled beforehand and is fixed in place by two screws, one to the frame and the other to the system connecting rodpro link.
To finish with the top part of the motobike, we install the air filter next to the injector body. We finish attaching all the cables that need connecting in this area of the motorbike along with the fuel lines. Now we can finally connect the fuel tank with a capacity of 22 litres, placed in the front part of the seat section that was previously installed. With everything in place and well fixed, we can close this section and go on to the final adjustments.
The motorbike is almost ready. We attach the front tyre and tighten the axis as needed. The brake discs are already incorporated in the rim, and all that’s left is to mount the front calipers and fill up the break fluid.
Now we move on to the rear tyre, which also already has a brake disc. We make sure it coincides with the caliper that has been previously installed. Now we just need to attach the chain, which was previously assembled on the wheel, on the sprocket. Once in place, we adjust the tension of the chain and bleed the breaks.
Lastly, we install the windscreen and the fairing and fill up all the bike’s supply tanks: coolant, lubricant, and fuel. Once this is done, the bike is ready for the track! However, if we want to get a good time, we have to get working on the set-up.