2021 has just begun, but there already some manufacturers are working for 2022. It is no mystery that Suzuki has already let its riders test the prototype engine for next year first in the tests in Qatar and in Jerez, but it seems that Honda also experimented with some important innovations in Spain in view of next year.
As we showed you recently, HRC brought various aerodynamic solutions for the Spanish tests, some already seen (such as the Yamaha-style low winglets) and others completely new, such as the front fairing with a vertically-shaped air intake, as opposed to the current, horizontal one. This different intake of the airbox could imply an even bigger change. It can be assumed that it is an experiment related to the use of a new engine and this idea is not so unusual.
Not only that, because the HRC technicians (as confirmed by Takaaki Nakagami) also brought along a new chassis, very different from the current one, as you can see in the photo below published by motogp.com.
The differences to the current one immediately catch the eye and are very evident. First of all, it can be clearly seen how the front beam, at the point closest to the headstock area, no longer has the carbon cover, which has a stiffening function. Not only that, even its curve seems to be different and in fact both the tank and the fairing have been redesigned.
Then moving further down in the lower part of the chassis, it is clear how even in this area its design is different and, above all, how the engine mount bolts are in a very different position to the current one. The one above the swingarm pivot has been moved further back, while vice versa the one below protrudes forward towards the clutch, which has a redesigned housing to allow it to fit together, so to speak. It is precisely this detail that makes the idea that Honda tested a real 2022 prototype at Jerez very plausible. On which the exhaust tips were also different: longer.
There would be nothing strange if the 2022 bike had already hit the track, considering that the technicians were unable to update the engines this year due to the development freeze and, so, it is more than normal that they have continued with the work for the next season. Above all, HRC, which is not only the manufacturer with the most technical and human resources available, but also one of those who most need to improve their bike. With some rather massive interventions one would say, because, to judge from the photos, it seems that the position of the engine inside the chassis has been radically changed.
Unfortunately Marc Marquez was unable to work on the Monday after the race, due to his not yet optimal physical condition. The next opportunity will be the Barcelona tests, on the Monday after the race, and maybe he will be able to test the new Honda prototype there.