Aug 16, 2013
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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FIM MotoGP World Championship: Jorge Lorenzo (99) in action on his Yamaha YZR-M1.
In a rare move, Yamaha factory MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi tested during the tradition mid-summer break, but the August 7-8 test at Brno was an important one as it gave them their first taste of a new seamless-shift gearbox. And the results of the test were positive, as both riders declared the new transmission an improvement over what they currently have in their YZR-M1s and something that should help them compete more closely with the Honda MotoGP bikes, which have had seamless-shift gearboxes for two seasons.
“We tried the new gearbox in Brno, and the feeling was very, very good,” said Rossi. “We like a lot. But, you know, is a lot of work to do. I think it's still not ready. I mean, I don't know when is possible to use, I hope as soon as possible.”
Asked if the improvement of the gearbox showed up in the lap times, Rossi said, “For me in one lap doesn't change a lot, I mean about the lap time. We try, we try to make some comparison. A lot of people speak about two-tenths for a lap. I think is less than two-tenths. But the big improvement is I think in the 20 or 30 laps because the bike become a lot more easier to ride, more stable, more stable in acceleration, but also more stable in braking, when you arrive in the next braking. For me, it's better for the tires, less stress for the tires, and also is very good for the riders because the bike become more easy to bring at the limit and more difficult to make a mistake. So I think it's something very important for the race distance more than for one lap.
“The feeling is fantastic. It's a great emotion to ride with the gearbox, and acceleration is very good. When we can use, you say? Sincerely, I don't know. Me and Jorge push a lot for to have as soon as possible because is very good. And now it's a little bit bad feeling to come back to the normal one because the normal one feels very fast before you try the seamless. But the Japanese say that we have to be [calm]. The gearbox is a critical point. We have to be ready 100%, but I hope as soon as possible during the season I hope, yeah.”
Lorenzo echoed Rossi’s comments, saying, “I hope to use it this season as soon as possible because this gearbox, with 100% of safety that it will work, will give us an advantage and facility to fight for this Championship. At the moment it is not ready. We tried it at Brno. I think it was a positive test, but unfortunately it is not ready. Usually Yamaha and all the Japanese brands are very conservative mentality about these things.”
Asked if it was too much of a risk to use the gearbox this season and risk it failing in a race, Lorenzo said, “In my opinion, we have to take some risks. We are 26 points behind [in the MotoGP World Championship] and if we don’t take some risks maybe the Championship is going to be over in these races. It’s important that the gearbox we have no problems, and Yamaha wants to be safe enough to have it in the future.”