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Masao Furusawa reflects on MotoGP career

My dream was beating Honda, even before I joined Yamaha. One of the dreams came true - I beat Honda in racing - but I did not beat Honda with production bike [sales]. I transferred MotoGP M1 technology to R1, but the R1 is not as successful. Still it has good sales in the 1000cc class, but we need to do something more and I have run out of time.

So 50 percent of my dream came true. It's not so bad. I've enjoyed it a lot and now is the time to move on.

Q:
How much direct involvement have you had with the design of this year's M1?

Masao Furusawa:
I rather like to step back and look, but sometimes I'll come in and suggest something if I think it's needed. Then I just fade away, like old soldiers! Now the bike looks pretty good. If something happens maybe I will come back, but very limited time because I will be so busy with my own projects.

I still like engineering very much. On my business card I put 'Executive Officer and Engineer'. I always downgrade, because a couple of years ago I was a 'Chief Engineer' and now it just says 'Engineer'!

Nearly all of my hobbies involve some engineering.

Q:
I think you have a Mazda car that you've kept for a long time and use for your experiments?

Masao Furusawa:
The MX Miata. It is 18 years old. I've changed it a lot: Reinforcement to increase the rigidly and I put a performance damper into the car body to create a damping force. This is an idea from Yamaha Motors because all of the automotive companies just increase the rigidity of the chassis, but sometimes we need a damping force.

Now I increase the stiffness and the damping force. My Miata is fantastic. Only one problem: The torsional stiffness [twist] because it is an open-top. This is the last thing I have to fix, but I've been too busy!

My Miata has almost no mileage, less than my rental car. I also have three cars and two bikes and no time to use them.

Q:
Will the Miata be the first of your personal projects after you stop?

Masao Furusawa:
Yes. First job is the Miata. I have to fix 'scuttle shake' [chassis vibration typical in convertibles]. Then I'm thinking of purchasing some reasonably-priced accelerometers, putting them on the Miata, acquire data into the PC and doing nodal analysis.

I was a professional analyst of vibrations back in the 1980s. I developed nodal analysis software and it was sold to automotive companies worldwide. It was pretty good business. Then I used the tools I had already developed to analyse my own car.

The next job after that is a bike. This is my baby. A RD250LC from back in 1981. I still have some problems with it. The last Christmas card I drew showed this bike doing a stoppie! And then another bike has some heating problems. Pretty shabby design for the cooling system. Sometimes it is overcooled in winter and overheats in summer. I'd like to fix that.

Q:
Do you ever look for commercial opportunities when you come up with improvements?

Masao Furusawa:
No. It's just for my own enjoyment. And bragging: 'My bike is better!'

I am also a painter and cartoon artist and I want to spend more time doing 3D solid-model sculptures, with computer graphics, as well as making actual wooden sculptures. At the same time I would like to enjoy skiing and snowmobiling. I have a lot of things to do.

I have enjoyed my life and I want to continue enjoying it in the future.

Q:
In terms of MotoGP's future, what will be important, technically, in the new 1000cc class?

Masao Furusawa:
In 2012, with the strong regulations that are coming, we will have to focus on fuel efficiency. That will be the big thing with the one-litre bikes and be the main difference from the 2006 [990cc] bikes. So for the electronic control system we have lots of things to do. That will be the key.

Otherwise a bike is a bike - always two-wheels, one chassis, one engine.

Q:



Related Pictures

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Valentino Rossi with Yamaha`s Masao Furusawa (Yamaha)
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