AIMExpo 2023: Is Moto Trainer The Best Motorcycle Simulator Yet? (Video)

AIMExpo 2023: Is Moto Trainer The Best Motorcycle Simulator Yet? (Video)

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By Michael Gougis:.

By Michael Gougis

One of the busiest exhibits at the AIMExpo 2023 show displayed the Italian-made Moto Trainer, the official MotoGP simulator. As it was configured at the show, the trainer had an Aprilia RSV4 mounted up and was set up to deliver braking, throttle, and lean input resistance. Visitors got to experience a virtual lap of Mugello while leaning, braking and accelerating on a full-size, full-weight motorcycle.

The main component of the simulator is a rail which any full-size motorcycle can be mounted to. The rail allows the motorcycle to be leaned 60 degrees from vertical. A turnbuckle linkage at the front adjusts the damping to the rider’s weight. Sensors are mounted on the throttle, so when the rider twists the grip the machine starts to stand up. Other sensors are mounted to the front forks, so when the rider hits the front brakes, the machine dips forward. Other sensor options include the shifter and the rear brake.

It’s hard not to dismiss the device as a mere video game. A company spokesperson said that 70% of the units sold in the U.S. are bought by private parties, meaning that they likely are used as gaming platforms. The company also says that it can be used as a trainer to simulate the act of riding a sportbike (or off-road machine), and to learn new tracks. The need for a realistic simulator for professional road racers is evident from the widespread use of simulators in four-wheel racing. Top-level teams have dedicated simulator drivers who do nothing but put in laps on incredibly sophisticated devices, performing virtual testing of components and honing their skills. With testing limited in most professional road racing series, an accurate simulator could be a decisive performance edge for a top rider or team, allowing them to turn virtual laps to add to real-world testing inputs.

Roadracing World being Roadracing World, we put Robertino “Tino” Pietri, former Moto2 and AMA Pro road racer, onto the exhibit for a few virtual laps around Mugello. The physical exertion required to operate the trainer was evident–Pietri had arm pump after riding the simulator.

It is not perfect. The device does not yet allow for counter-steering, so the riding inputs are almost completely done with the legs. Without the G-forces involved in riding, braking and acceleration inputs do not replicate the forces felt on a motorcycle in motion. And the arms get a workout not from steering the machine, but from holding the body in position when the motorcycle is leaned over, as the centripetal forces that push the rider into the machine and relieve the arms of carrying the rider’s weight while cornering are absent.

“When you go to a track day, what I see is the principles of riding a motorcycle, body position, how to use the brakes, how to use the rear brake, how to move yourself, that’s hard to learn to do while you are in movement,” Pietri said. “A big number of riders are not doing that correctly. I think this machine can give you a lot of those principles–how to position yourself on the bike, how to grab the handlebars. You can practice that in a static situation without the risk of a crash, and I can tell you exactly what you should be doing.”

Prices start at $5,900 and range up to $18,990 for the official MotoGP Flagship model.

 

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