The key update that pleased Fabio Quartararo so much in Misano was, of course, the new Yamaha YZR-M1 generation 2023. But the current MotoGP champion was so pleased not only with his plans for the future: he will be able to receive many of the updates of the next-generation prototype immediately. Almost everything except the motor. But that will be enough.
For the IRTA MotoGP Misano tests, Yamaha Racing brought a completely new motorcycle – a new chassis, new electronics, and an engine, as well as a new aerodynamic package. In various combinations, Fabio and Franco ran in new elements, and the reviews of both pilots agreed on one thing – there are a number of obvious positive points. And, of course, the peak speed of the motorcycle is where it was not enough on Sunday…
According to the results of the tests, Quarararo stated that his feelings are ambiguous in general regarding the new chassis. He said that he set the best lap time during the comparison on his standard M1, but moving back to M1-2023, he got “more positive overall.” Team manager Massimo Meregalli confirmed to Simon Krafar during a test interview that Cartararo will once again ride the new chassis in Aragon next week: he will use one of the training sessions for this.
What is the key role of the chassis, not the engine, in the entire history of the YZR-M1? It was the chassis that provided Yamaha with phenomenal turnability with optimal loading of both wheels without the need for “jigging”. For many years, first Valentino Rossi and then Jorge Lorenzo brought their “Yamaha Style” to perfection. Quartararo always said that it was Lorenzo who was his ideal Yamaha pilot, and he “learned” from him. But since 2016, when Bridgestone was replaced by the rapidly changing Michelin, an imbalance has appeared. All manufacturers suffered from this, but Yamaha to a greater extent: Japanese top engineers did not want to change the concept of the prototype for tires, they just wanted to “sit out” the wave of changes. But the changes have become… permanent. Therefore, it was not possible to create a chassis that provides the same ideal weight distribution and loading as in 2009-2016.
Another iteration, an attempt to achieve this is this new YZR-M1. If it turns out to be more successful, Fabio will get a huge advantage.
Visually, the new frame and the M1 pendulum seen in Misano do not differ from the standard version. The new frame lit up in the photo, only due to the fact that it was not painted in matte black, like serial samples. The shape of the frame itself is more angular, its edges are not smoothed (but perhaps this is a feature of the “rough” version). No one has said anything about changing the pendulum in the team yet.
A new engine – there was a lot of talk about it. On the one hand, this is a question of 2023, and before the Portuguese Grand Prix, from which that season starts at a very, very different time, Quartararo will be able to receive some dividends from the renewal right now.
The new motor ordered by YFR was developed initially with the aim of delivering more torque, more power, and providing a greater peak of maximum speed. And the tests in Misano immediately showed that the effect was achieved. In addition, Fabio and Franco both noted that it was easier for them to keep their best lap times with the new engine, and according to the results of the peak speed tests, they came close to Ducati.
The presence of greater speed allows you to keep your rivals without unnecessary risk. Now, in order to keep the same pace, Fabio and Franco have to slow down later and later, constantly crossing a dangerous line. Plus, on some tracks, like the Red Bull Ring, MotoGP teams are already working with the maximum possible brake discs with a diameter of 355 mm – there are no more yet, they simply will not fit into the standard design of radial calipers.
A serious negative side effect of using heavy full-bodied carbon discs on the front wheel is a significant weighting of the front end, which again forces pilots to take big risks on turns. It doesn’t make taxiing any easier!
A large mass of the disk means large inertia. Even without taking into account the fact that Yamaha pilots constantly have to “dance” around the front wheel, risking tearing it off at the highest speeds, even the greater efficiency of 355-mm discs is a double-edged sword: the motorcycle flies up to the bend with a fully folded fork, that is, the presence of a minimal wave or even large debris on the trajectory can lead to by the breakdown of the wheel, the suspension will no longer work, all control – “at the pilot’s fingertips,” as explained by Dutch expert Peter Bohm, with whom we have been communicating since 2009, when he worked as a chief mechanic and telemetric in Moto2 in the Viessman Kiefer Racing team with Stefan Bradl and Volodya Leonov.
The appearance of a new engine in 2023 will give Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP pilots more freedom of action: they will no longer need “tricks”. But how to use it now?
It is also possible! An engine is not just an engine. In order for the whole motorcycle to go faster, it must be ready for this in all elements: the chassis must provide stability, securely press the wheels to the asphalt and transmit torque; the engine simply pushes the chassis forward.
But even today’s engine can give more power and speed! It’s just that initially, by its design, it is not designed for these indicators in terms of reliability and endurance. However, we are already in the final third of the MotoGP season, when engineers have the opportunity to “open the valve” a little wider than usual!
In other words, if Yamaha assembles an evolutionary chassis for Fabio from new components, which has already shown positive results with a more powerful engine, with the current engine it will be possible to squeeze a little more ponies and km/h out of the motorcycle without risking that the rear wheel will slide every time the gas is opened. Fabio has already been given the opportunity to use the “100% power” function (do you remember the story under the “turbo” button in March 2022?) Then he refused it – it was pointless.
Accordingly, Yamaha engineers will be able to use an updated electronic setup for the updated (“evolutionary”) configuration. Part of all these developments was tested in Misano, secured by pilot reviews and telemetry data.
If Mayo Meregalli’s words about the continuation of the tests of the new frame in Aragon are not just part of the test program, but a real hint that the team is already ready to start transferring to the YZR-M1 in 2023, then Yamaha MotoGP will go to the Pacific Tour of Monster Energy with new chances.