Like many things designed and built by the Japanese the attention to detail at Motegi is unsurpassed - the surface is seamlessly smooth, offering high levels of grip, and the facilities are exceptional.

Yet its layout looks more like a series of uncreative drag strips linked together by continual radius corners - but still it's technical enough that outright power isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to winning races.

In fact in some respects too much aggressive power can be a hindrance at this particular venue, something Yamaha has taken into consideration even with the M1 featuring a number of new engine internals, aimed at improving acceleration. But biggest concern on such a stop-and-go layout are wheelies, a trait that especially difficult for the two-strokes to overcome.

Complicating things further, more so for the heavier four-strokes, will be the aggressive weight transfer and the instability that accompanies such hard braking from high speeds. It's in this area of the chassis that Yamaha's four-stroke technicians will need to focus their efforts, if they are to keep the lighter two-strokes from slipping by under brakes.

The main aim, in both instances (acceleration and braking), is to cater for the weight transfer, to minimise the pitching effect. To do this the basic chassis package won't be too far removed from what was run during the Le Mans round earlier in the year.

The rear of the bike will be slightly lower and the front set slightly higher, when compared to other circuits, to offer the braking stability needed - reducing the likelihood of the rear wheel leaving the tarmac. The front fork springs will boast a slightly higher spring rate, but unlike Le Mans, the advantage is that the damping won't have to cater for any real bumps while the front forks are compressed.

The rear shock on the other hand will run a slightly softer spring with a high amount of preload. This will help to offer the feel and consistency under power while preventing the bike from squatting to the point which can cause it to run wide or, in extreme circumstances, wheelie.

At the same time suspension technicians will also have to consider the effects of the rear shock pumping through its stroke - a common concern on a track where the bike is driving hard off a slow speed hairpin.

Helping the two-strokes will be the possible use of a longer swingarm, which will tend to aid tractability, stability and prevent wheelies. Just as important is the need for the YZR500 to be agile too, considering the hairpins and the tight chicanes at Motegi.

The YZR-M1 is also likely to sport a new swingarm for the Pacific round of the championship - the latest addition to the ever-improving Yamaha four-stroke project. Both Biaggi and Checa are expected to test the new unit on the first day of practice before committing it to the race.

Checa will also receive a second new-generation chassis in Japan, while the Italian has opted to continue on as his did in Rio - with one current chassis and one of the former chassis, the latter of which he still prefers to use.

The key concern for the tyre technicians will be tyre life, more than at any other venue; the smooth Motegi track surface has a reputation for offering high levels of grip but it comes at the expense of tyre endurance. How this will an out come raceday, for the two-strokes and four-strokes, is uncertain but it will be a key factor in the race results.



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