Valencia is a circuit that offers good camber combined with an abrasive surface, but on a slightly undulating layout. It sports many stop-and-go 90-degree corners, bumps and a tight design which has claimed its fair share of victims via front-end loses.
This is especially so on the faster and heavier MotoGP machines. For this reason riders will be chasing security on this very point, followed by stability under brakes, while still offering the agility to deal with a circuit that is more suited to a 250cc than a 250hp MotoGP four-stroke.
Despite the circuit being suited to the smaller machines, Yamaha is quietly confident of a good result. With the advancements made by Valentino Rossi
and Yamaha over the past 15 rounds the YZR-M1 chassis and engine have become a very well balanced package; offering the agility required to be competitive, as well as the drivability off the slow and medium speed turns to be consistent race-long.
The latter was an issue in the past for Yamaha's riders, with the 2003 inline-four proving to be a little too aggressive for a successful endurance assault. But now the more linear character of the 'big-bang' YZR-M1 power plant offers a much more rider and tyre friendly delivery - making it easier to get on the power earlier in the turn and with more confidence.
This is essential in the final turn - the run onto the front straight and the start/finish line - as the M1 is still lacking the top-end performance, albeit slightly, compared to some of its competitors.
Regarding the geometry and suspension set-up, the Yamaha will have a front-end lifted slightly, compared to most other circuits, and the rear lowered. Combined with the right front spring rates and preload, all controlled by the rebound, this will allow for improved stability under brakes and a planted front-end.
With good camber, except for the penultimate sweeping turn, the ability to leap the M1 hard off the turns is essential. Especially with the high corner speeds Rossi like to carry.
To ensure this is possible the rear suspension preload will be set to prevent an excessive amount of rear-end squat - reducing understeer - while still offering a plush enough ride to provide good, consistent traction.