Was this Honda's road-going RCV?

Old patent shows lights-and-mirrors version of V5 race bike

REWIND to the start of the four-stroke MotoGP era and you couldn't move for rumours that manufacturers were all going to launch road-going versions of their prototype racers.

In reality, only Ducati ever did it, with the uber-expensive Desmosedici RR, but there were always strong rumours that Honda had a production version of its V5 RC211V waiting in the wings, with some Honda insiders saying at the time that if the racer had won three straight championships that would have triggered the production of a limited run of V5 road bikes.

Now a trawl through the patent archives reveals this sketch, dating way back to 2002 and lodged alongside drawings of the original 2002-spec RC211V racer. As you can see, it's identical to the race bike, but features lights and mirrors. OK, so it could easily be mistaken for 2004-spec FireBlade, but the small additional exhaust poking out from the bellypan reveals its V-engined layout.

Now, of course, the drawing is nearly a decade old and the chances of ever seeing a production Honda MotoGP machine have disappeared. But it clearly came closer than we might have believed to actually happening. Oh to be able to see whatever prototypes might be lurking in the vaults of Honda's R&D department...