Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will give the factory's new seamless shift gearbox its grand prix debut at Misano this weekend.
"It [the seamless] will be here tomorrow. We can say that," declared Lorenzo on Thursday.
Both Lorenzo and Rossi were delighted with the technology
, versions of which are already used by Honda and Ducati, after trying Yamaha's design during a private test at Brno in August.
The special gearbox not only shortens shifting time, but more importantly increases stability, with the motorcycle less 'upset' by gear changes.
The shorter shifts are achieved by engaging the next gear before the present gear has been disengaged, but the exact methods used are a closely guarded secret.
"When we tried it in Brno I was smiling, to not feel the drop in power when changing gear," said Lorenzo. "It's like you are riding an automatic. Probably the point you feel it most is when upshifting while cornering. Normally the bike moves when you do this, but with the seamless it does not. Let's see what we can gain in the race."
"We are so happy. For sure it is important, especially here at Misano where you use the gearbox a lot. We hope it will be a good advantage to try to fight with the Hondas," added home hero Rossi, winner of his 80th MotoGP race at Assen but off the podium for the last three races. "It is more the improvement for riding than the lap time. I don't think, unfortunately, the seamless will give us half-a-second a lap. But it is a big help over a race distance, to bring the bike to the limit without a mistake."
With reigning double champion Lorenzo needing all the help he can get to close down Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha has been working flat out to perfect its seamless system. Lorenzo is currently 39 points from Marquez and nine points behind Pedrosa.
"The gearbox is completely new for us, a Yamaha designed system, and we thought some improvements were needed [after the Brno test] before using it in a race," said Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing. "You always take some risk, but we wanted to perfect it more until now.
"If it's ready for Monday's test, it's ready for this weekend," Jarvis said of the decision not to wait for the test. "There is a points' deficit to Honda and we need to use whatever is available to challenge them in the last six races."