Jan 30, 2001
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As a January 2 roadracingworld.com report predicted, on January 29 Honda Racing Corporation officials in Tokyo unveiled the V-5 engine the company will use in the 2002 Grand Prix World Championship. Designated the RC211V, the engine uses the three-front-cylinders, two-rear cylinders configuration predicted by roadracingworld.com on January 9. The engine coding, according to Honda officials, refers to this being "the first four-stroke racing engine designed by Honda for the first year of the 21st century."
According to a press release issued by American Honda Motor Corp., "Honda arrived at the unique V-5 engine configuration after examining the revised Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) regulations for 2002. This engine was selected because Honda believes that it will best satisfy two design requirements that Honda has historically pursued: ‘Concentration of mass' and ‘reduction of projected areas'. The five cylinders have round pistons and four valves each. For the intake system, PGM-FI (programmed fuel injection) has been adopted. The minimum weight as stipulated by the regulations for four- or five-cylinder engine motorcycles is 145kg (approximately 320 lbs.)."
The press release continued, "This new chapter follows the storied history of four-stroke innovation for which Honda is famous. The last four-stroke milestones in Honda motorcycle racing were Mike Hailwood's ultimate victory with the four cylinder RC181 in 1967 in Canada, and Freddie Spencer's final outing on the oval-pistoned NR500 in 1981 during the British Grand Prix. Honda also has a special Grand Prix history with 5-cylinder engines -- Luigi Taveri won the manufacturers' and riders' Championships for Honda in 1966 with the 125cc RC149."