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journey to the heart of the Honda RC213V


For the Honda RC213V to cross the MotoGP finish line faster, it doesn’t just have a chassis and engine -and, of course, riders-. There is an element that achieves more than a decisive thousandth. It also points the way to future mobility. We talk about fuel, a unique and improved composition in which nothing is casual, much less in competition. In fact, although in this article we will cover how it is created, go ahead that, like Coca-Cola, its formula “is secret”.

It is, as indicated Maria Dolores Cardenas, Advisor in Product Design in Repsol’s Mobility and Energy Transition area, an optimized recipe of components and proportions that has one objective: “Achieve maximum performance from the engine designed by Honda in demanding race conditions”. A combination that is designed, tested and manufactured in the Repsol Technology Labthe innovation center where MotoGP fuels are created for the Repsol-Honda team.

Specifically, the fuel is sent from the Móstoles facilities to all the MotoGP championship circuits (a total of 21 circuits in 2022) and to Honda’s research facilities in Saitama. “That is, we take care of the entire process until the fuel reaches the engine,” he adds. Cardenas. In reality, the journey begins much earlier, as the competition gasoline design process takes a year in advance. “Now we are finalizing the fuel design for the 2023 season,” he specifies.

“At Repsol Technology Lab we take care of each and every one of the stages of the competition gasoline development process until it reaches the circuit”



Maria Dolores CardenasAdvisor in Product Design in the Mobility and Energy Transition area of ​​Repsol

First, Honda conveys to the Repsol Technology Lab new engine requirements, design changes or electronic control adjustments. A kind of ‘technical wish list’. In this way they can design the gasoline optimized for the engine and the conditions that racing demands. “This information is the starting point for, using our knowledge in fuels and engines, our experience and advanced tools such as computational chemistry, develop new gasoline formulations”, points Cardenas.

The next step is to verify that all the parameters established in the demanding FIM quality specification (with almost 40 regulated parameters) are met. Once verified, the formulas are evaluated on the key piece: Honda’s single-cylinder research engine (it represents one cylinder out of the four in the motorcycle’s engine). As Cárdenas reveals, “there are only two units of this engine in the world, the one we have at Repsol Technology Lab and the one Honda has at its Saitama research facilities.”

best in class

Just because it’s the latest design doesn’t mean it’s the best, you have to upload a ‘note’. For this reason, the innovation center evaluates the new gasolines and compares them with the reference gasoline: its best design that Repsol developed in the previous season. That is, “the version that Honda approved in the previous season.” Explains who is also responsible for the line of low carbon footprint products at Repsol Technology Lab: “The candidates that pass the engine tests, presenting the required improvement in performance, are manufactured in small batches and sent to Saitama”.

There Honda will finish the evaluation in four-cylinder engine and complete motorcycle on the circuit. In this way, the Honda-Repsol team finds or designs the best ‘candidate’. The gasoline that passes all the tests and is validated by Honda becomes the fuel for the Repsol-Honda team for the following season. At that time, the gasoline production process begins at the Repsol Tech Lab facilities, homologation at the laboratory accredited by the FIM and storage at the Repsol innovation facilities in Móstoles, where they will wait until it is sent to each circuit.

Custom fuel

That not all fuels are the same sounds like a hackneyed phrase, but true, both on the road and in competition. In fact, the fuel design for the Honda RC213V illustrates everything that is hidden in a creation process that verges on alchemy. “The special feature of this gasoline is that it has been developed to measure for the Honda engine, for which the characteristics of its design and electronic adjustments have been taken into account. With this, we get the best engine-fuel tandem”, details Cardenas.

“In 2024 the fuel in all MotoGP categories has a minimum non-fossil origin of 40% and 100% in 2027”

We know how the best fuel is created, but what makes it different? Maria Dolores Cardenas It is clear: “At Repsol Technology Lab we take care of each and every one of the stages of the development process of competition gasoline until it reaches the circuit”. Without forgetting another great variable: “Collaborating with a leading company in the automotive sector, such as Honda, and the close technical relationship we maintain, allows us to design a differential competition fuel”.

Nothing in the fuel of the Honda RC213V is accidental, nor is it accidental that the Dorna roadmap establishes that in 2024 the fuel in all MotoGP categories has a minimum non-fossil origin of 40% and 100% in 2027. Sustainable mobility has found in the competition in general, and in the Repsol Technology Lab in particular, key allies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach new levels of sustainability. “The world of competition allows us to speed up development cycles to get the best product,” recalls Cárdenas.