If Massimo Tamburini is justly feted as the Michelangelo of motorcycling, creator of a succession of two-wheeled works of art which restored first Ducati, then MV Agusta, to the summit of technological style, then MV's youthful chief engineer Andrea Goggi is his architect - the man who created the biking equivalent of the actual building housing the Sistine Chapel, on which Tamburini can draw his masterpieces of design.
...Andrea GoggiFor Goggi is the man charged with ongoing development of the F4 family's radial-valve, fuel-injected four-cylinder engine with offset chain drive to the twin overhead camshafts, having supervised its development ever since 1995, three years before it was launched in 750cc form.
That's when he
took over as head of the MV Agusta R&D department, after several seasons as a senior race engineer in the Cagiva 500cc GP team, in its GP-winning days with John Kocinski.Who better to detail the changes to the F4 motor incorporated in the R312?
"The project began last July," says Andrea
, "because although our existing F4 1000R model was already very competitive in Superstock racing, where we beat the Japanese bikes to win several races in the FIM World Cup run as a World Superbike support class, we knew they were planning many changes in the next two years, and we wanted to increase performance of the standard streetbike to a level they would have to work hard to match.
Armed with this deal, Goggi
's R&D team, which now numbers no less than 85 engineers covering both MV Agusta and Husqvarna development, set to work to improve the performance numbers of the stock 16-valve F4 1000R engine, starting with larger yet lighter titanium inlet valves replacing the previous steel ones, which were held over from the original 750cc version of the F4 motor.Though increased in diameter from 29mm to 30mm and fitted with reinforced dual springs, these are almost half the weight of the smaller steel ones, each scaling 17.8 grammes compared to 30 grammes, and matched to the same 25mm steel exhaust valves, set at the same two-degree radial angles to one another, rather than parallel.
The geometry of the R312 combustion chamber is unchanged, says Andrea
, though intake porting is subtly different to accomodate the bigger valves.
..."Going to twin injectors is the ultimate level of development we can squeeze out of this engine," says Goggi, "and we've already been working on such a system for some time.
But one problem in fitting them to this bike is cost, and anyway, while I'm sure when we come to produce the factory Superbike racer, this will have twin injectors, we don't need them yet."Worth noting that the need to hold down costs to an affordable level for this volume production model also vetoed the use of the Tamburini variable-length intake system employed on the CC and since copied by Yamaha on the 16-valve R1 , though it's probable that MV Agusta's
2008 World Superbike contender will also feature this, too.
F4 engineThe remainder of the F4 engine is unchanged on the R312, with the Mahle cylinder block with Nikasil-coated chrome bores containing the same ART forged three-ring pistons made in Japan and delivering a high 13.1:1 compression, in spite of which they've proved super-reliable."In all the thousands of dyno runs and track tests we made, I only ever saw one broken piston, which is incredible," says Goggi
have continued to resist the temptation - and expense - of using titanium conrods, in favour of beautifully made forged steel rods made by Bertolina, just 5 km. from MV's
Varese factory, mounted to an unchanged lightweight crank which is the same massive 1.05 kg. lighter than the original F4 750 one, with smaller webs."Our steel conrods are almost as light in alternating mass as titanium ones, so we don't see the need for those in street form," says Andrea
.Also retained unchanged is the entire transmission with competition-style six-speed cassette gearbox - great for Superbike racing, where quick internal ratio changes are a must.The wet clutch is still a conventional multiplate design, though, because instead of the mechanical slipper clutch now commonplace on sportbikes, MV Agusta
retains the same real-world version of the EBS/Electronic Braking System commonplace on MotoGP bikes, which it was the first streetbike manufacturer to adopt.This is controlled by the Marelli ECU, which monitors rpm, the rate of decrease of engine speed, and throttle opening - but not (yet?) the gear selected - to open the valves on no.2 cylinder under reverse load engine braking, permitting a controlled amount of variable freewheel depending on the modulation of the airflow through a solenoid air valve connected to that cylinder's inlet manifold, below the throttle butterfly.
"This system was developed by us together with Marelli," says Goggi
This is still heavier than its Japanese rivals, though , right, Andrea?"But the difference is we just weigh it without water, oil or gas," protests Goggi
"It's funny, but nobody was expecting such a high speed until the first time we went to Nardo," says Goggi
...However, MV's chief engineer Andrea Goggi insists that the bikes which Luca Scassa and Matt Lynn are racing in the USA this year are very close to the R312 streetbike.
Presumably with the projected move into World Superbike in 2008, Goggi
guys must be working on a more extreme race version of the F4 R312?"Yes, we are," declares Andrea
, "and the prototype 2008 Superbike will be ready in July for testing.