Perhaps the must stunning image of the opening Grand Prix at Losail in Qatar was the Ducati's awe-inspiring power as Casey Stoner pulled away along the front straight, leaving everyone, but most especially the Yamaha of Valentino Rossi, for dead. That image made it blindingly obvious both that Ducati had a huge power advantage, and Yamaha are woefully short of horses. Fortunately for the Fiat Yamaha squad, the next circuit the MotoGP circus visited was Jerez, a track which is much more about maneuverability than about speed.
But now, MotoGP heads out onto the fast track. Of the next five races, four take place at the fastest race tracks of the year. Between now and the middle of June, we visit Istanbul, Shanghai, Mugello and Catalunya, all of which have very long, very fast straights. If Rossi was losing a couple of tenths along the front straight at Qatar, at Shanghai, the Yamaha could lose getting on for a full second, just on the two straights alone. If Rossi wants to regain his title, he can't afford to lose too many points at these fast circuits.
So Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards must have greeted the news, reported by MotoGrandPrix.it, that Yamaha has found more horsepower, which will be tested after Istanbul. Unfortunately, the Yamaha team won't have the bike to race at Istanbul, and what's worse, they are unlikely to have the bike at Shanghai where top speed is king. The good news for Yamaha is that the Honda is also still down on power, and so Rossi's main championship rivals, Dani Pedrosa and reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden, will suffer the same fate as the Yamahas. So far, everyone is playing catch up with the Ducatis. We'll see whether Yamaha have caught up at Mugello, where Yamaha have promised to have the new, faster bike ready.