Is the DCT system being used by HRC? - Update

Speculation on Honda's performance in the Sepang tests leads to questions about the clutch being used in the RC212V

It's being called 'Clutchgate' and is the result of Honda's outstanding performance in pre-season testing, leading to mass-media speculation that this is due HRC utilising the DCT clutch on the RC212V.

Honda have clearly dominated leading all the test sessions at Sepang and at a record pace. The speculation arose from Sportmediaset who questioned whether HRC were dancing around the rule books and using the dual clutch technology taken from the Honda VFR1200 on the RC212V.

The rumour was denied by HRC vice-president, Shuhei Nakamoto but he admitted that there was a 'secret clutch' in the RC212V ridden by Stoner, Pedrosa, Dovizioso and Simoncelli.

In short the transmission system works by utilising dual clutches, with one operating the 1st, 2rd and 5th gears and the second operating the 2nd, 4th and 6th gears. The DCT means that the clutches are able to switch between gears a lot quicker.

The likelihood of Honda's speed over the pre-season test sessions is arguably down to the manufacturer finding a GP bike akin to the 2005/2006 years of the 990 era that is rideable and being pushed to the limit by the three talented riders of the factory team, as well as Marco Simoncelli. Ultimately it looks like Honda have found their Rossi-killer, even if it means sending three hunters after the wounded lion.

UPDATE: Honda may be running some variation on the Xtrac IGS (Instantaneous Gearchange System). Dual clutches, as in Honda’s DCT box, are banned in MotoGP (regulation 2.4.2) but the regs are too specific. They ban “twin clutch” gearboxes, while the Xtrac IGS is a single-clutch set-up that still allows two gears to be selected simultaneously and shifted instantly with no let-up in power. So while it does exactly the same thing as a dual clutch box, it would be legal under MotoGP regs.

Honda and Xtrac are no strangers either – in Indycar racing Honda supplies engines and uses Xtrac gearboxes. Not sure if the Indycar gearbox is IGS, but Xtrac say they’ve been race-testing IGS since 2009.
Since Honda has admitted they’ve got a clever gearbox (Shuei Nakamoto apparently said: “It’s true we have something new on the transmission” and that it allows faster gear changes), it’s got to be something along the lines of IGS.