Valentino Rossi has revealed that Yamaha has now shelved development of the 2009 YZR-M1 and turned attention to the 2010 model.
Rossi and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo are first and second in the 2009 MotoGP World Championship with six rounds to go - with the effective top non-Yamaha rider (following Casey Stoner's withdraw) Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who is over three race wins behind.
“At the Brno test we worked a lot for next year but not for the last six races,” he confirmed. “So in the last part of this season the bike will remain the same.
“We tried the new version of the M1 with a different chassis and we also tried a slightly different [long life] engine for next year to make more kilometers,” Rossi continued. “We got some data and the lap time was not so bad... we will work on the 2010 bikes on Tuesday after [the final race at] Valencia.”
By switching development fully to 2010, Rossi is confident that Yamaha can remain at the front of MotoGP and avoid the fate of F1 giants McLaren and Ferrari.
McLaren and Ferrari fought down to the wire for the 2008 world championship, developing their cars relentlessly until the final race of the season in pursuit for title glory - but then struggled badly for most of this season, against smaller teams which began preparing much earlier.
“It's a little bit like what happened in Formula One last year,” said Rossi. “Ferrari and McLaren worked very much on their car to fight for the ['08] championship, but at the end, they are in the delay for this year.”
As in F1, MotoGP winter testing has been heavily reduced since the end of 2008 to save costs.