Mo­vis­tar Yamaha

Rid­ers:: Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

Motorcycle News (UK) - - 2016 Motorgp Silverstone Preview -

Pre-sea­son the­o­ries sug­gested Yamaha would cope best with Mo­togp’s tech­ni­cal trans­for­ma­tion, be­cause the M1 is a very neu­tral mo­tor­cy­cle and Yamaha have done a lot of work with Mag­neti Marelli over the years. Five wins from the first seven races seemed to con­firm those the­o­ries.

“When we tested with Miche­lin last year we were wor­ried be­cause we were slow, we crashed and we had no front feel­ing,” ex­plains Rossi. “But the front tyre has improved a lot, so now we use sim­i­lar set­tings to what we used with Bridge­stone. Also, I grew up with the Miche­lins, so I feel com­fort­able now.”

Rossi’s age and ex­pe­ri­ence have also helped him with the lower-tech uni­fied soft­ware. “We ex­pected a big, big step back, but in the end it’s only half a step back,” he adds. “Over­all the bike is now very sim­i­lar to last year.”

In fact the lower-tech rider aids may ac­tu­ally help Rossi, who con­tested his first three sea­sons in the premier class with­out trac­tion con­trol.

“Valentino says he now has more con­trol in his hand, which is some­times good be­cause he can make a dif­fer­ence over other rid­ers,” says Rossi’s crew chief, Sil­vano Gal­busera. “I be­lieve the best ECU is still the rider’s brain.

“The bad thing Valentino no­tices with the elec­tron­ics is that they re­act slower be­cause the work­ing cal­cu­la­tions from the ECU are slower. It’s only mil­lisec­onds but the rid­ers feel it.”

Con­ve­niently, two other tech­ni­cal changes have com­pen­sated for the drop in elec­tron­ics per­for­mance.

“When the Miche­lin rear spins you still have drive, whereas with the Bridge­stone you lost ac­cel­er­a­tion,” adds Gal­busera. “Also now that we have 22 litres of fuel in­stead of 20, the ac­cel­er­a­tion is smoother be­cause we have a bet­ter fuel/air mix.”

In June, Yamaha gave Rossi and Lorenzo re- vised frames with dif­fer­ent stiff­ness to bet­ter suit the Miche­lins. Rossi re­jected the frame, while Lorenzo uses one bike with the old frame and one with the new.

“The new frame is bet­ter in some ar­eas but Vale feels the front is less sta­ble,” adds Gal­busera. “The bal­ance of his bike is quite like last year, though we use dif­fer­ent front ge­om­e­try and harder fork springs to stress the front tyre less.”

And yet Yamaha do have one prob­lem. The M1 doesn’t gen­er­ate enough heat into the front tyre in cold and/or wet con­di­tions. This has caused Rossi and Lorenzo dif­fi­cul­ties at cooler races like Assen and the Sach­sen­ring. Lorenzo is in the big­gest trou­ble when the sun doesn’t shine be­cause his M1 used so lit­tle fore/aft pitch that it heats the tyres even less.

Gal­busera be­lieves the best ECU is the rider’s brain

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