If Valentino Rossi's victory at Laguna Seca made one thing clear, it is that Yamaha is in serious need of more horsepower. For despite Rossi's brilliant tactical race, his victory was in large part due to the tightness of the Laguna Seca track rendering outright speed less relevant. Down the front straight, Casey Stoner's Ducati was clearly faster and Rossi was forced to use every defensive trick in the book, including a few that expanded the definition of a tough move, to avoid being blown away by Stoner's blistering pace.
At Brno, the next race and one of the widest tracks on the calendar, it's going to be a great deal more difficult to get in Casey Stoner's way. Though there are plenty of corner combinations, there are also several places round the track where the extra speed and horsepower of the Ducati will gain Stoner just enough space to start riding at his own unstoppable rhythm. And after Brno, the majority of the tracks MotoGP visits have the wide open spaces that will give Stoner ample opportunity to get past Rossi. If Rossi is to defend his line once again, he will need more horsepower to match the pace of the Ducati round the faster sections of the tracks which are to follow.
Yamaha are aware of this, and according to MotoGP veteran reporter Michael Scott reporting for Motorsport Aktuell, are hard at work over the summer looking both for extra horsepower as well as improved power delivery. Scott is reporting that most of these improvements will be found from the engine's electronics, rather than physical changes to the engine.
These changes are unlikely to be used in the race, as a catastrophic failure for Rossi and Yamaha at Brno would put Casey Stoner right back into contention. But the parts will be tested at the two-day testing session to be held immediately after the Brno race weekend.
Yamaha won't be the only team testing new parts. As we reported earlier, Dani Pedrosa will also be testing Honda's pneumatic valve engine at Brno. The gamble for Pedrosa is now less than it was. The improved power the air valve unit has on tap could help Pedrosa regain some of the points he lost in the two consecutive scoreless races at the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca.