January 13 2021
Often in the case of a low-side crash, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team riders like Toprak Razgatlıoğlu will make a successful attempt to re-join a race with minimal damage to their machines, as demonstrated in Race 2 at Portimão and on the way to the grid in Jerez earlier this year. This tpe of recovery is largely possible thanks to the carefully developed engine protection products made by market leader, UK-based GBRacing.
GBRacing’s products also form a crucial role in engine use management, as regulations restrict the maximum quantity available per rider. And, like many parts that make up our 330kph Yamaha R1 WorldSBK, there’s more to it than meets the eye!
Founded in 2007, GBRacing was born from 100 years of family company engineering expertise, and quickly established itself as the market leader in motorcycle protection products – gaining Federation of International Motorcyclists (FIM) accreditation in 2009. Since then, Graham and his son Tim Banks’ brand has become a mainstay in racing championships worldwide, from MotoGP to WorldSBK and across national series like British Superbikes.
GBRacing has worked with Crescent Racing almost from the beginning, and since Yamaha’s return to WorldSBK in 2016 has joined forces directly with Yamaha Motor Research & Development Europe (YMRE) for each iteration of the R1. The technology does more than just protect our bikes in the case of a crash, the development flows directly from track to road, as Tim explains.
“Our aim is to manufacture products which offer the same level of protection to the top level of racers through to road motorcyclists – call it full-factory for everyone,” he says. “The technology and process we’ve honed in-house enables us to adapt our products to each new Yamaha WorldSBK engine and clutch-housing shape in a fraction of the time it would take in a large-scale production style environment.”
It starts with a team discussion, assessing wear from previous crashes, considering “at risk” components and scanning new elements of the bike using a handheld 3D scanner. GBRacing’s designers use CAD software to develop different ideas before prototyping a 3D print.
“Testing is crucial at this stage – we test it ourselves and send it to the team to gain their feedback. It’s very easy to go back to the drawing board, tweak the design and print again until we get it absolutely right before we create the final mould tool,” Tim says.
Injection tool manufacture is one of the key areas in which GBRacing differ from the competition. They create their own tools so that their designs precisely fit each make and model of bike – enabling quick fitment on our R1 WorldSBK or a Yamaha MT-10 street bike. Their 5-axis vertical CNC machine can mill a 200kg block of engineering-grade steel with axis accuracy to 0.1μm (micrometre) – just a fraction of the width of a strand of hair.“
All of our tools undergo an electromagnetic spark erosion process, using current to finish the surface and give our products the consistent matt finish that everyone knows,” Tim adds. “Each tool has its own unique character and injection moulding is a complex recipe of variables – something which our technicians balance in order to produce the perfect part that maintains density and integrity throughout.”
Without fully giving the game away, what also sets GBRacing apart is in its construction. Engine covers are made using a patented 60% glass-filled nylon composite with long (approx./~11mm) fibres to give extreme abrasion resistance – something we need when our bikes can slide on their side at high speeds on tarmac! The material has added impact modifiers, which dampen shock in the event of a high-side and make engine recovery more likely – so that we can get our race winners like Toprak back on track sooner.