Yamaha ‘can’t imagine’ V4 engine switch, ‘enormous task’

Suzuki’s withdraw leaves Yamaha as the only MotoGP manufacturer using an Inline4 engine configuration, rather than a V4.
Fabio Quartararo, Sepang MotoGP test, 10 February
Fabio Quartararo, Sepang MotoGP test, 10 February

Although improving straight-line performance is one of Yamaha’s top priorities for 2023, with ex-F1 engine designer Luca Marmorini hired to help extract more speed from the M1, a V4 switch wasn’t an option.

At least for now.

"I can't imagine that," Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis told Speedweek.com. “Because it is an enormous task to design, develop and produce a 1000cc V4 engine for the MotoGP World Championship from scratch.

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“If we planned that for the new regulations for the five years from 2027 to 2031, it might make sense.

“But we haven't decided yet which direction we're going to go because the technical regulations aren't fixed yet. [The future rules] should be decided in 2023, after which we have four years to develop it.

“Then, with the new technology, we have the same opportunity for a new MotoGP engine as any other manufacturer."

Yamaha’s 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo and team-mate Franco Morbidelli were impressed by the upgraded engine at last month’s Sepang test, selecting a final version for the upcoming season.

“We are convinced that we will still find large development capacities with our Inline4," Jarvis said.

"Now I always hear: 'Suzuki is gone, Yamaha is the only factory with an inline engine'. I'm happy to reply: 'Yes, we are the only ones with this advantage!'"

Inline4 engines finished first and second in the 2020 MotoGP World Championship with Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Morbidelli (Yamaha), then won the 2021 title and finished runner-up in 2022 with Quartararo.

Quartararo took three wins last season, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins claiming two more victories for the Inline4. V4 victories were divided into 12 for Ducati, 2 for KTM and 1 for Aprilia.

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