RAC­ING

Yamaha swal­low their pride and go back to 2016’s chas­sis…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Test­ing gets un­der­way, but things aren’t al­ways as they seem.

ROSSI AND VI­NALES looked much hap­pier on the Yamaha at the first test in Sepang, us­ing the 2016 chas­sis. I know they didn’t come top of the time sheets on the fi­nal day (Lorenzo broke the lap record on a Du­cati), but those times were put in on qual­i­fiers. If you look at the times on race tyres Rossi and Vi­nales were one and two. It’s clear Yamaha went in the wrong di­rec­tion with the chas­sis in 2017 and it’s probably linked to flex con­trol. Who knows ex­actly what hap­pened, but per­haps both of them had a great test on a smooth, dry Ja­panese track with the first 2017 bikes and de­cided it was the route to go. But a too-stiff chas­sis would work fine there – that’s what you want on a smooth track. Then they come to the bumpy Euro­pean tracks, or get a wet race, and it’s a dif­fer­ent story. Sud­denly the bike is dif­fi­cult to con­trol on the limit – they get you into trou­ble quickly – and riders can’t get the most out of it. Chas­sis flex used to be a dark art, and per­haps Yamaha’s prob­lems show it still is to an ex­tent, but I think a lot of the guess­work has been re­moved now, and that the en­gi­neers have a far bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how much flex is needed (and where) to give the feel on the limit that riders want. I was rid­ing the new V4 Pani­gale last week­end (see p44) and the Du­cati en­gi­neers have worked hard at build­ing in just the right amount of stiff­ness and flex hence the long en­gine mounts. There didn’t seem to be much guess­work there, I have to say. The Yamaha en­gi­neers have had to swal­low their pride to go back to the 2016 chas­sis, but it’s the right thing to do. The fac­tory Yama­has could be a force this sea­son.

Rossi: adri on per­for­mance, but on race tyres not quali ers Du­cati: top of the time sheets in rst Sepang test, bot­tom of style sheet for that front end

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