The frame has to remain standard. No trimming, cutting, welding or anything naughty can go on, despite lots of famous stories in previous years involving certain bikes. Laverty uses carbon frame protectors, while James Ellison doesn’t. “The cover is glued on. I wanted to keep the rigidity as standard instead of altering it,” reckons Chris. The bike weighs 163kg without fuel. Michael has to carry quite a bit of lead ballast at the back, hidden in the tail unit.
“We speak directly to the factory Yamaha team and swap information. For instance, they discovered something with a linkage and we tried it at a test before Cadwell, and it definitely worked and helped with tyre wear towards the end of the race. We email all the time, firing ideas across, but obviously the big difference between us and them is the electronics package. Chassis wise, we’re very close: same forks, same shock, same swingarm.”