Posted: 17 Mar 2014
Norton has been testing its latest version of the V4-powered TT race bike with former TT winner Steve Plater this week.
Norton are expecting to announce a big-name rider this week, and in preperation for the Senior TT and Superbike TT this year, the team were at Cadwell Park giving the bike a shakedown run.
Norton is looking to take another step forwards this year with an upgraded V4 engine, electronics package and chassis.
Two-times TT winner, Steve Plater has signed a deal with the British factory to develop the bike in a pre-TT testing programme.
Plater’s first run on the Aprilia-powered V4 machine came this weekend, as he took to the track at Cadwell Park on both the 2013 TT machine and the new, upgraded package for this year’s TT.
Plater – who retired from competitive racing in 2010 after a big crash at the North West 200 – confirmed to Bike Social that the 2014 Norton produces around 35bhp more than last year’s machine, with the new machine reportedly producing around 200bhp, meaning the work they’d be doing before May would focus on how the bike handles the huge increase in horsepower.
“We’ve got two bikes here with us, last year’s 2013 TT bike which has a pretty standard Aprilia RSV4 engine and is slightly down on horsepower and the bike we’re running today, the 2014 bike, which has probably got another 30-35bhp” said Plater, speaking exclusively to Bike Social.
“The new bike has different geometry but the main chassis is the same apart from the swing-arm being around 40mm shorter. There’s an awful lot of work to do and we’ve only got ten weeks or so until the TT starts.”
“I’ve done a deal with Norton to help develop the bike and do as much testing as possible ahead of the TT around the guys working hard in the factory. Our main aim is to improve the bike so it can cope with the extra horsepower, contributing to the long term aim of this bike becoming a podium contender, something we all want to see!”
“The biggest change for 2014 is the extra horsepower but in this day and age you’re getting around 200bhp out of various machines and this is too much without the aid of electronics. Norton has Cosworth on board for 2014, who are heavily involved in the electronics of the new bike. Even here at Cadwell Park we can tap straight into the Cosworth factory.”
Norton’s TT rider line-up is expected to be announced tomorrow, although it won’t be the 41 year old Lincolnshireman aboard the V4 for the race.
“Norton have dangled a carrot for me and asked me if I’d like to do the TT and yeah, it’d be nice but in all honesty I really enjoy being involved in the development side of things. I’ve worked with various tyre companies and manufacturers before; I enjoy it and feel I do a decent job giving feedback. For me and the rest of the guys in the team our priority is to develop the bike to get it into the position for some lucky rider to stick it on the podium at the TT but it’s not going to be me and my wife will verify that answer!”
Norton made a return to the TT in 2012 with an Aprilia-powered V4 machine, the Donington Park-based factory made it quite clear it was to be a long-term project with the aim of seeing Norton eventually back on the TT podium.
Runcorn-based rider Ian Mackman became the first rider to qualify for a TT race on a factory-built Norton machine in 2012, and the first Norton to qualify for a TT in twenty years, but unfortunately the 2012 Senior TT was cancelled because of bad weather.
In 2013 Mackman setting a fastest lap of 122mph and securing an 18th position in the Superbike race.