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Masao Furusawa reflects on MotoGP career

After that I will completely move to some of my personal 'skunkworks' projects and hobbies: Motorcycles, Cars, Snowmobiles, ATVs, Water Vehicles, Sea Fishing, Sculpturing, Drawing, Painting... I will still be busy.

How have you planned so that this time - unlike in 2006 and 2007 - you can step away and Yamaha can still be as strong in MotoGP?

Masao Furusawa:
Back in 2006 and 2007 was a little bit early to step aside. I have learned many things from my own mistakes! Now I'm pretty much confident I can transfer my knowledge and technology to other senior people to keep Yamaha winning.

2004 and 2005 we were winning and it was a successful experience. But after that were two years of mistake. Then three years of success with the Triple Crown. So I'm comfortable to leave here.

But we cannot be arrogant. If we look down on anything then there is a chance to lose the game, because all the competitors are so, so keen to win. This is the kind of message I will transfer to the people here.

Looking back at the M1. I remember the first version had carburettors...

Masao Furusawa:
Oh yes. 2002. For 2003 I recommended to change from carburettor to a fuel-injection system and chain-driven camshafts.

I had always approached problems as a kind of outsider, a consultant, looking in and recommending this, this and this. But doing it is different. It was such a big shock when I jumped in to MotoGP in 2003. 'Wow! This is all my responsibility'.

And the results that year [one podium] were terrible. 2003 was hell!

I thought many things were wrong, but I was new to racing, so it was just my own ideas from logical thinking, analysis and experience. Reality is not necessarily the same. So some people were sceptical. Looking at me and thinking 'we understand what you are saying, but reality is different.'

It can be really hard to convince everyone to go in the same direction. So I did some trick. I came up with a pretty good idea - the crossplane crankshaft [utilising 'big bang' technology] - and then right after I joined MotoGP I started a design. Half a year later the first prototype ran on the racetrack near the Yamaha headquarters.

Everybody was looking and the first thing the test rider said was 'this bike feels slow'. So everyone looked at me, thinking 'Hmmm. You are the guy who thought of this...' And then he said 'But the lap time is so fast. It just feels slow because it is very, very smooth and stable.'

That was Christmas time in 2003. Then Valentino Rossi came to Yamaha and rode for the first time here [at Sepang] in January 2004. He is really a genius. He rode the crossplane bike for just five or six laps and then came back and said 'this bike is the best one'. Even though it was slow, because the power was not so much.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Valentino Rossi with Yamaha`s Masao Furusawa (Yamaha)
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