WSBK Superbike 2023: The “electronic war” has broken out between Yamaha and Kawasaki! – Paddock GP

The Superbike is in turmoil: Kawasaki takes over the data engineer of Toprak RazgatliogluYamaha returns the favor by taking that of Jonathan Rea.

By Paul Gozzi /

In World Superbike, the electronics are free, and there is not even the constraint of the single control unit (Magneti Marelli) imposed in MotoGP since 2016. The only limits are the imposed price of certain components, in particular the wiring harnesses, but these are measures that all brands manage to circumvent without difficulty. So, in fact, there is absolute freedom: a free ECU and software without any restrictions. It is easy to understand that this sector is extremely strategic. It takes power, a good chassis and everything else, of course. But without the perfect management of the electronic controls which make it possible to better manage the Pirelli tyres, the whole thing collapses. Electronics is so important that a real hunt for the best specialists has been launched in recent months. With a tight exchange of “brains” between Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Jonathan Rea has a new data engineer
The fuse was lit by Kawasaki, who began courting Christopher Lambertthe electronics engineer toprak Razgatlioglu, halfway through the last world championship. The offer was so big that it convinced the technician to change his shirt. Yamaha parried the blow by performing the reverse operation, i.e. snatching from Kawasaki David Gentileancient data engineer of Jonathan Rea. For the technician from Trieste, Yamaha is a comeback, having been with them for several seasons. During the magical year 2009, he was alongside Ben Spies, the dominator of that year and the first Yamaha rider to win the series-derived world championship, for the first time. Gentile has already moved on, joining Yamaha at this past week’s test in Jerez.

What is the gardening?
Christopher Lambert, meanwhile, will have to wait for the next test, at the end of January, also in Jerez, to put on the jersey of KRT (Kawasaki Racing Team). In his contract with Yamaha, there was indeed a “gardening” clause, a concept little known in motorcycles but very popular in cars, especially in F1. This is a period of inactivity that engineers must respect when they change brands, so that they cannot immediately transfer technical secrets to their competitors. In F1, the “gardening” usually lasts at least six months, but the duration varies according to the importance of the technician and the sensitivity of the information he holds in his field of expertise. For the same reason, the KRT does not give details, but confirms that ” changes are expected in our data management area. »

Why is there maximum freedom in electronics?
The growing importance of electronics is due to the extremely conservative Superbike regulations of that time. As it is impossible to intervene on a large scale on the engine and the chassis, because almost all the components must remain standard, to go fast during the whole race, without burning the tires, it is essential to have electronic controls of more and more perfected. It’s a bit absurd, because this “electronic warfare” costs millions. But the Superbike regulations are not made to control costs, but to respond to the wishes of the participating manufacturers. This explains the difference in seconds (per lap) between the factory riders and the satellite riders: it doesn’t matter much to have an identical bike, if you don’t have access to information on the settings of the software and specialists who know how to calibrate them.

BMW’s diktat
In particular, it’s BMW that doesn’t want to hear about limiting electronics, perhaps adopting the single ECU and multi-function private software, British Superbike style, for example. BMW uses a Bosch control unit with proprietary software, unlike all its rivals which have Magneti Marelli systems, but largely ‘customised’, i.e. meticulously adapted to each vehicle. This is why the market for high-level technicians is booming.

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Paul Gozzi


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WSBK Superbike 2023: The “electronic war” has broken out between Yamaha and Kawasaki! – Paddock GP

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