Dani Pedrosa’s Honda is started, he rocks it off the stand, engages first and accelerates to the droning pit-speed limit. Once he lowers his faceshield, the engine winds up effortlessly like a blender on “liquefy.” It should: This 1000cc V-Four makes 240 horsepower, and the bike weighs only 350 pounds.
After Pedrosa makes the 270-degree left at the hilltop Turn 1, you hear the engine revs rise and fall as the bike corners right-left-right-left through eight bends to reach the almost 3500-foot-long straight. We can see Pedrosa’s left hand move slightly for each downshift, but clutchless upshifts by the “seamless-shift” six-speed gearbox are almost imperceptible. We hear the engine give some power in the downshifts; new software this year addresses the RC213V’s dislike of closed-throttle running.
Pedrosa accelerates through all six gears to more than 200 mph in 14-15 seconds, then super-hard deceleration from the carbon brakes down to first again for the left hairpin at the end, a zig and zag, followed by the long right-hander around the tower, two lefts and onto the straight again and into the pit. Everything we see—track, rider, bike—is so perfect that this could be a video-game sequence, but all of it is real.
We hear the engine idle as he rolls to a stop and the bike is “caught” by a crewman. A racing engine idles? Yes, it does. Any engine harshness disturbs traction when the bike is on the edges of its tires. Power with smoothness is the key to quick laps.