Moto2: A Look Behind The Scenes With Jayson Uribe, Part One

AGR Team racer lifts the garage door on the stepping stone to the world championship

Jayson Uribe race action
AGR Team racer Jayson UribeJayson Uribe

Have you ever felt like there is a shortage of information about the mechanical insanity known as Moto2? Only a handful of people know what actually happens when the cameras leave and the garage doors close.

In this three-part series, I will attempt to shed some light on the mysteries most riders and teams usually don’t publicize about their motorcycles and race programs in the FIM CEV European Moto2 Championship.

Engine

Like all of the teams in the class, AGR uses a 2016 Honda CBR600RR engine tuned to Moto2 spec. This involves raising the throttle bodies, fitting a slipper clutch, ensuring that the exhaust exits on the left side of the bike, and adding a 2D data logging system.

The logging system includes an ECU and multiple potentiometers to measure suspension movement under various conditions. Other additions include oxygen, throttle, wheel-speed, and brake sensors.

Moto2 engines make around 126 horsepower at the rear wheel, which is not that much compared to some Supersport machines. The highest top speed that I recorded in a race was 176 mph on the long straightaway at Aragon MotorLand in Spain.

2D data-logging system detailed view
A close-up look at the 2D data-logging system inside the engine bay. AGR Team uses aluminum Kalex chassis designed and constructed in Germany.Jayson Uribe

Chassis

This season, some big names, like Suter and Tech 3, came out of "retirement." When KTM shocked everyone by creating its own Moto2 chassis from scratch, riders and teams had to make important decisions regarding which frames they would use.

AGR decided to stick with a German-made Kalex. We are pleased with its consistency, flexibility, and weight. With all fluids necessary for operation, my bike weighs around 178 kilograms, which translates to 392 pounds.

A light chassis helps the bike make quick directional changes and is more agile in the middle of a corner. Downside can be inconsistent tire wear and, therefore, predictability. The series-spec front Dunlop slick is incredibly stiff, while the rear has a softer, more flexible carcass.

The combination of a light bike and a harder tire can create temperature fluctuations in the rubber, even more so than on a regular production bike. Inconsistent tire temperatures translate to inconsistent grip, which racers must learn to manage.

I learned this lesson the first time I rode a Moto2 bike. These bikes need to be ridden hard all of the time. If you coast through a couple of corners or take it easy to catch your breath, the tires will lose temperature rapidly.

control unit detailed view
A view of the control unit that supports external sensors, such as brake pressure, wheel speed, etc. Note care taken with cable routing and labeling of input points.Jayson Uribe

Cold tires equal less grip, which, in turn, will lead to the likely chance that you will feel a burning sensation as you slide across the ground while watching a very expensive motorcycle become damaged or even destroyed.

When someone asks me, “What is the most difficult thing to learn when riding a Moto2 bike?” I always answer, “Learning how to manage the tires and keep the grip.”

Conclusion

Moto2 bikes are works of art. Engineers strive to create a perfect balance between insanity and nirvana. These bikes will point out your weaknesses in a heartbeat and reward you richly with unprecedented lean-angle grip when you need it most.

I have learned more on a Moto2 bike than any other type of racing motorcycle. Part of that education is understanding the machine and the other part is maturing as a rider and having a knowledgeable, supportive team around me.

Rules change and bikes evolve. I am excited to see how the KTMs and other machines perform in the field. Stay tuned for my next article in which I will tell you what really happens behind closed garage doors.

WP suspension and Brembo brakes detailed view
AGR Team uses WP suspension and Brembo brakes for their adjustability and reliability. Front fender helps cool the brakes and also provides some downforce.Jayson Uribe