MotoGP »

Mission One: Introducing Yamaha's awesome YZR-M1.

Yamaha's YZR-M1 broke cover in Europe last week when riders Max Biaggi, John Kocinski, Norihiko Fujiwara and Kyoji Namba spent three days at the Italian circuit of Mugello, running side-by-side tests with the factory's current Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500 GP bikes.

The outing followed previous sessions at the Yamaha test track Fukuroi, Sepang and Phillip Island, and was the first stage of a European tour for the bike that will race in anger for the first time when it competes for the 2002 MotoGP World Championship.

The YZR-M1 opens an exciting new chapter in Yamaha's Grand Prix heritage, following almost four decades of World Championship competition during which time the factory has conquered all three classes, most recently with victory in last year's 250 and 500 manufacturers' championships.

The shift to four-stroke power for GP racing's premier class brings the sport more in line with the four-stroke dominated streetbike market, encouraging a greater degree of technological feedback from the track to the street.

Yamaha currently enjoys massive success in the streetbike sector with its epoch-making range of 'no-compromise' sportsbikes - the R1, R6 and R7. But the YZR-M1 - the M1 code following Yamaha's traditional YZR race prototype prefix stands for Mission One - has no direct relationship to these machines. It is the embodiment of a free-thinking policy at Yamaha, a thought process aimed at producing a totally balanced race bike - a motorcycle designed around the rider that acknowledges user-friendliness as the surest way to race-winning performance.

For many years the YZR500 has been respected as the best-handling 500, so it has been Yamaha's desire to instil the YZR-M1 with similar characteristics. To that end the YZR-M1 utilises a chassis closely related to the YZR500. And the choice of an in-line four-cylinder engine was made specifically to complement the chassis.

''We considered other types of four-cylinder engine, like a V4, but the in-line four suits our chassis best,'' says Masakazu Shiohara, designer of the YZR-M1 engine. ''It is all new, however, with no relation to the R1 streetbike motor. We also considered more cylinders but this means a heavier engine, which can compromise chassis design.''

Shiohara is the creative genius behind many of Yamaha's Grand Prix successes. His first high-profile design was the OW20 in-line four 500 engine with which Jarno Saarinen led the 1973 500 World Championship. In 1982 he created the OW61 motor, Yamaha's original V4 500, and soon after the first-generation YZR500. Shiohara was also responsible for the YZR250 powerplant and in 1997 the YZM400F motocrosser, his first four-stroke and the engine that revolutionised motocross. It is quite a CV.

Now Shiohara is repeating that journey, taking Yamaha's GP roadrace bikes from the two-stroke era into their four-stroke future. It is an entirely original challenge in an age when racing means much more than straightforward horsepower performance.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The Yamaha YZR-M1 stops for a photo opportunity at Mugello.
The Silverstone MotoGP layout will feature a new Arrowhead section
The Silverstone MotoGP layout will feature a new Arrowhead section
The Ducati Desmosedici GP9 features a carbon fibre frame (pic: Ducati).
The Ducati Desmosedici GP9 features a carbon fibre frame (pic: Ducati).
Honda Gresini officially unveiled its 2008 MotoGP livery, featuring the colours of new title sponsor San Carlo, during a ceremony at Milan`s San Siro stadium.
Honda Gresini officially unveiled its 2008 MotoGP livery, featuring the colours of new title sponsor San Carlo, during a ceremony at Milan`s San Siro stadium.
The new Assen layout for 2006 onwards, featuring the shortened North Loop.
Aprilia brought the latest version of the RS Cube to Le Mans, which featured a more tapered rear.
The castings for the next version of the Harris WCM engine. The outfit was disqualified from the Africa`s GP by the FIM for breaking the prototype engine rules. The new engine will feature a `Cassette Gearbox`.
The rear of Yamaha`s M1 prototype, which features a central exhaust and twin rear suspension.

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.