Josh Brookes says he fears the Yamaha R1 could be left flagging down the straights in World Superbikes due to its lack of outright power compared to its rivals and isn't confident it can win races in 2016.
Last year the Australian transformed the Yamaha from a brand new bike into a title-winner as he went on to claim the 2015 MCE British Superbike championship with Shaun Muir's squad.
After being unable to strike a deal both parties were content with Muir's team parted ways with Yamaha and opted for a new partnership with BMW as it prepares to step up into World Superbikes with Brookes and ex-MotoGP rider Karel Abraham. As a result, Paul Denning's Crescent Racing squad takes up the challenge as Yamaha returns to the series with Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli.
Brookes still admires the YZF-R1 but thinks its weaknesses will be more exposed on the international stage with trips to circuits with longer straights compared a more twisty and tight circuits on the BSB calendar.
“What we struggled with on the Yamaha in BSB was the top speed,” Brookes said. “It was a beautifully handling bike, I've missed that a little bit seeing it in the garage next door. I have a lot of good feelings for the bike and that's probably exaggerated by winning the championship on it. But you can't ignore the fact that the bike's weak point was the power, not the delivery, but the outright power was an area where we got nervous at times that it wouldn't be enough.
“The rest of the package made up for the areas of the track where we didn't have that grunt and power that it needed. Over a lap, over a race and over a year it was still enough to win the championship. I don't know if that'll be enough to win races in World Superbike.”
At times Brookes felt the Yamaha suffered up to a 20bhp deficit to some of its rivals but if its power struggle can be resolved he feels it will be a potent weapon on the World Superbike grid.
Despite still having lingering feelings for his title-winning machine, Brookes feels his team made the right decision with BMW given its circumstances and financial capabilities.
“I wouldn't be upset to be on the Yamaha, it's still a bike I have good feelings for,” he explained. “If I was here and it was Milwaukee Yamaha I'd be happy but at the same time I'm not disappointed to be on BMW.
“At this point, until we start getting a bit further down the line and see exactly how far we can take the bike, I'm going to stick by saying the BMW is the best platform to enter this championship with.”