Yamaha To Stick With 800cc M1 In 2012

The new MotoGP regulations for 2012 have the MSMA caught on the horns of a dilemma: In the long run, the 1000cc formula should be cheaper than the current crop of 800s. In the short run, the switch requires that the factories design a new engine based on the new limitations imposed by the rules. With the factories still reeling after the global economic crisis has left their finances in turmoil, a significant investment to develop a brand new engine is not an attractive prospect at all.

Consequently, at the meeting the MSMA held at Sepang three weeks ago, the factories agreed to allow the 800cc bikes to remain in the class as a separate category for the foreseeable future. The 800cc bikes were to be given a 3 kilogram weight advantage over the 1000s, but were to be subject to the same fuel, engine limits and 81mm maximum bore restriction to be imposed on the liter bikes. This would allow the factories to get more value out of the 800cc bikes they have already poured so much investment into, and prevent them from having to persuade their management boards from dipping heavily into the rapidly-dwindling coffers to develop a new bike.

After that was agreed, speculation immediately began as to which of the factories was behind the push to stick with the 800s. Paddock gossip fingered Suzuki as the most likely candidate, the Hamamatsu factory having the most restricted race budget of the teams. By allowing the 800s to remain, Suzuki could stay in MotoGP at a minimal level of investment.

That speculation appears to have been wrong, however. According to Matthew Birt of MCN, however, Yamaha have been the first to break cover. The company's MotoGP project director Masao Furusawa told MCN that Yamaha's intention was to continue to race the 800cc bike in 2012 and beyond, for as long as the bike could be competitive. Given that the M1 is dominating the opposition in the current MotoGP class, it seems a fair bet that the bike would do well even against bore-limited 1000cc bikes.

That decision is far from final, however. If any of the other factories turned up with 1000cc prototypes, and the liter prototypes were quicker than the 800s, Yamaha would be forced to respond, Furusawa told MCN. That could be sooner than Yamaha would like, as at Valencia, when asked about the prospect of running 800s versus 1000s, Ducati's MotoGP engineering guru Filippo Preziosi intimated that his initial response would be to investigate building a 1000cc prototype, rather than stick with the current 800cc bike.

Whatever Yamaha decides to do in 2012, the announcement has revealed at least one technical detail of the championship winning Yamaha YZR-M1: The bike's bore is less than 81mm. After all, if it was larger, then the bike would be illegal under the new MotoGP rules from 2012 onwards.

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That could be the final nail in the coffin for the Rossi/Yamaha team. . Hellooooo Ducati/Rossi team

I think it would be interesting if they switched the Tech III bikes to 1000s for development and took the factory team in that direction a year later, but that decision would come with some very real risk to the factory riders.

I have to agree with Faster1 , I cant see Rossi who was the biggest supporteer of the switch to 1000cc staying with Yamaha in this scenereo. Rossi also knows full well that at Ducati he would more or less be his own team manager

I thought the whole idea of going to litre with 81mm was to reduce revs and the peaky 800s need for complex electronics. It seemed to me that everyone, including Rossi and co. wanted a 70% reduction..so why is it off the agenda now, when it was the impetus behind Ezpeletetas over complicated, toothless attempts to rein in factory spending and the geeks influence on GP.
It's a smoke screen to say new 1000cc developments costs will be prohibitive. The manufacturers are not re-inventing the wheel and have motors that could form the basis of an 81mm GP spec engine but refuse to entertain the idea of using less of the technology that would cut costs, even the playing field and give the riders back some control.
What is the problem banning GPS or any other location based systems, including brake markers, that allow engineers to use predictive mapping? This technology is purely race oriented..are you going to book a satellite, load a map via your laptop and go for a ride? How are your triple axis gyros gonna cope with potholed street tarmac?
The purists will say, it's a prototype series and anything should go..well that's half the reason we're looking at this mess right now.
SBK racing is NOT a production class..Get them back to racing street bikes and the pressure on GP to be the fastest will diminish, allowing sensors to be limited in number and type with more affordable, closer racing the result.
I don't want to watch a two wheeled version of Scalectric..am I the only one loosing interest and starting to Yawn..?

Some limitations have already been put in place - a ban on tire temperature and tire pressure sensors, for example. But as for the other stuff, the MSMA simply won't allow the GP Commission to limit electronics too much. The manufacturers have two justifications for taking part in MotoGP: R&D and marketing. Marketing never goes away (at least, not until Rossi retires), but the R&D the factories do is highly valuable to them. Most of the R&D they do in MotoGP is all in the field of electronics and engine management: Anti-wheelie, traction control, launch control, fuel efficiency, etc etc.

And don't underestimate technology. You won't have an ECU in your R1 which uses GPS-based predictive mapping in 2011, but given that bottom-of-the-range GPS units complete with maps are currently retailing for under $100, it could easily be available within the next ten years. There is one technology prediction which stands year on year: Any device that exists today will be much smaller, much cheaper and much more powerful in a couple of years' time.

With respect, what benefits will an R1 owner with a GPS compatible ECU, just for lets say sake, have over the existing 3 pre-written maps bike? If I want to ride on the road and go from Nottingham, where I live, to Silverstone, is predictive mapping going to take into consideration snarled up traffic where I have to slow, closed roads so I have to change route and the weather? It would be a totally impractical gizmo with no benefits but maybe a few issues relating to safety ie,. dialling in full power on a diesel soaked roundabout.
What makes a good road rider? Someone who can judge all conditions, what's going on around them and operate the controls accordingly? Well it's the same on a race bike and the MSMA seem to have lost sight of that. Fans want to see riders fighting an excess of power in the name of grip, not some faceless geek controlling the show, which is what it is btw not just a technology testbed, with a mouse.
How many sensors are there on a 2010 GP bike? What are they all doing..? most of them will never see the light of day on a production model because they're race specific and ensure the chosen few have an unbeatable advantage.
CRT in GP..Hahahahah hahaha..

GPS traction control has no benefit and it probably never will, but allowing it in GP is probably practical. I can't remember who said it or what site they were on (might have been here), but banning GPS would simply force the teams to use more complicated and more expensive methods to map the tracks. The same thing happened in the AMA. They banned wheel sensors to ban traction control. Yoshimura Suzuki developed an extremely complex traction control system without wheel sensors. They were the only team that had TC. They won everything and the AMA has been in a tailspin ever since.

The manufacturers want electronics b/c they are a cash cow. Software manufacturers will tell you the same thing. The price of computing power falls year after year, and the marginal cost of installing more software is $0. After the manufacturers pay the upfront development costs, they can put software onto production ECUs for next to nothing. All they have to do is convince consumers that it's worth another $500 or $1,000.

I completely agree with your sentiments, fans want to see the riders battling, not the machines. However, the MSMA don't really care. They invest tens of millions of euros in MotoGP every year, and they need to get a return on that investment. They get that through the lessons they learn at the racetrack, lessons about electronics, about chassis design, about combustion efficiency, about material use.

The problem with saying that GPS-based traction control has no practical use is that we don't know that. The example you give is a good one: a particular roundabout on a given road. If, say, that roundabout is near a petrol station, then the chances of finding diesel on the road surface is higher, and a more aggressive TC may be a good idea. Road, petrol station and roundabout are all in the GPS map, so could easily be used to alter the engine map. I'm not saying that this will appear on road bikes, nor that it won't, just that it's possible. Of course, as you rightly point out, a good road rider approaching the roundabout notices the petrol station near the roundabout and looks more closely at the road surface when going round it, and takes local road conditions into account.

The main point of R&D is that it is always speculative. You have an idea, which you think would create some kind of benefit and be turned into a product which can be sold for profit. So you build it and test it and see if it works. If you've done your homework right, and you have correctly judged the public mood, the bit of kit you developed works well and turns a profit. If you get it wrong, you toss it all away and start again, taking the lessons learned with you, even if those lessons are just "we'd better not try that again."

And that, I believe, is the biggest problem MotoGP faces....the MSMA. Until the power the MSMA wields over MotoGP is significantly reduced from what it currently is, the series will never be as great overall as it could be.

The Flammini's took a risk with WSBK, tossing aside the MSMA's proposals early in the last decade and going their own way. Look what happened...WSBK became all the more better for it.

True. But WSBK had a supply of race bikes with or without the MSMA. That is not a luxury that MotoGP has, and building a prototype is an expensive business, even under cheap rules.

And another series that tried to push out the manufacturers was the AMA. The DMG took that same risk, and it didn't work out quite so well. 

I see your point there...but to compare the MSMA to the AMA/DMG would be cruel to the MSMA. While I get frustrated and may not agree with much of the MSMA's recent decisions or proposals, in comparison to the AMA/DMG, the MSMA can do no wrong. The DMG did the unthinkable, by taking a struggling but fairly respected series in the form of the AMA Superbike series and turned it into an embarrassing travesty through numerous errors, foolishness and unwarranted arrogance.

True...WSBK does have the advantage over MotoGP in that, as a "production" series, the supply of bikes to race should never really be an issue. Still, I would think that if the MSMA all of a sudden packed their bags and abandoned MotoGP, someone would step in to fill the gap. Not that I hope things will ever come to that...

The Flaminis are on unstable ground, imo. They discarded the MSMA's proposals and then they had Zerbi sign an exclusivity contract to stop the MSMA from organizing a new championship. The Flaminis never use the contract b/c SBKs are basically prototypes so the Flaminis only succeeded in stopping the MSMA from running production bikes with homologated kit parts.

Now that GP is 1000cc and bore limited to 81mm, the Japanese could probably pull the plug on SBK, and claim that 1000cc bikes are the decendents GP prototypes. However, they are hesitant b/c they've made it pretty clear they want GP to remain as an engineering challenge not as a series that develops production useful technology.

MSMA are certainly the problem, but mainly b/c they won't get their house in order. SBK is out of control. The MSMA are wrecking the advertising value of GP. Sales have plummeted.

The MSMA seem genuinely lost. Shocking b/c they had created a pretty decent plan in 2002/2003.


Personally, I think WSBK needs to eventually go to Superstock-type engine rules, but continue to more or less allow the current chassis modifications. That would still leave the bikes making nearly 200hp, which should be plenty, while perhaps making it easier for (non-Ducati) privateers to be more competitive.

I agree with your sentiments...about the MSMA seeming lost. The GPC as a whole kinda seems that way. I just hope with these new 1,000cc regs that this isn't going to be yet another 5-year plan, but one that could and should last for 10 or even 15 years...something more stable. Someone in the GPC needs to be thinking about this...where MotoGP will be in 10-15 years.

Is that not the point?..as a road application, which is the factories take along with dubious safety benefits, it don't add up. So why spend all the money developing it?
It gives them kudos on the track and, as Emmett says, clout in the showroom.
I understand the development costs are high, with regard to hardware, but who made the decision to go to 800? Just b/c they made a bad call in the first place doesn't mean we should all have to suffer, just hold your hand up, admit it and move on, instead of digging a hole.