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Honda officials plan to release details of the new Honda four-stroke GP bike on January 29, sources close to HRC (Honda Racing Corp.) said January 9. According to the sources, the Honda V5 has three forward cylinders and two rearward cylinders.
The sources also said that Honda engineers do not think that engine costs will spiral out of control with the switch from two-strokes to four-strokes because it will be easy to produce too much power for existing tire and chassis technology. Compared to Formula One car engines, the Honda sources say, the four-stroke motorcycle engines will be relatively tame and will not require as much maintenance.
Minimum weight regulations will control the use of exotic materials and the main design emphasis will be on building a better chassis to maximize the horsepower that can be used by the rider.
Others in the paddock are not so sure that costs will not escalate beyond all reasonable levels, although the term "reasonable" is subjective. A two-stroke Yamaha YZR500, for example, uses four pistons each worth $500 with a service life of 300 kilometers.