After a perfect start to the 2001 Brno MotoGP, held on August 26, polesitter Max Biaggi lost the front of his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500, on lap 12, handing the race lead and win to Valentino Rossi.

The Roman Emperor produced his typically faultless opening few laps to take control of proceedings from Kenny Roberts before building a buffer over the competition. But the 31-year-old couldn't shake the hard-charging Rossi and in an effort to defend his line Biaggi pushed the front a little too hard, losing the lead and his seventh Brno GP win. His determination, however, saw the Marlboro Yamaha rider remount to finish the day tenth - salvaging six valuable points.

In terms of set-up, for both the YZR-M1 and YZR500, Brno sports a reasonably simple layout, technically speaking, in the fact that each corner is similar in design. These constant long radius turns not only suit a more flowing GP250 riding style, but the Yamaha's chassis characteristics too.

Meanwhile the actual width of the track allows the rider to choose his own line, and in Biaggi's case to keep up his high corner speed. Although it's definitely not a flat circuit, its elevation changes are far from drastic, while the corners themselves feature what could be considered a typical positive camber. As for the track surface, it offers a surprising amount of grip without the reputation for tearing up tyres.

Due its nature Brno is not overly demanding on any specific area of chassis set-up, other than the need to concentrate on the overall balance for good turn in and easy change of direction; supported by a high level of feel from both the front and rear.

To do this Yamaha will ensure that the weight bias is slightly more focused towards the rear, preventing both the YZR500 and M1 from overloading the front Michelin in the midpoint of the turn. This will build the rider's confidence therefore encouraging him to keep a high rolling speed - the key area in making up time at this particular venue. And since the track surface is relatively smooth and the top speed only just nudges 280kmh, stability can be sacrificed to some degree in order to support this.

Although the base set-ups are similar there will be a difference between the two-stroke and the four-stroke Yamahas; the latter will run a slightly lower center of gravity in an effort to improve the rate of pitching and the bike's ability to change direction.

It will also reduce the risk of the front folding under the rider while entering the downhill sweepers, caused when excess weight transfers onto the front tyre under deceleration, in turn causing the front to understeer.

There may be a slight modification to this, however, with the introduction of the latest generation YZR-M1 Deltabox frame. Visually the change will not be dramatic, especially when viewed alongside the new, more streamlined M1 carbon-fiber bodywork - which will make its debut in Brno - but its modified characteristic is expected to improve front-end feel and the bike's nimbleness.

With no real specific hard braking anywhere on the five kilometer layout fork springs will be chosen to follow the feel theme - focused more towards the softer side. It will also be a similar case on the rear with the monoshock's spring rate. This is possible due to the circuit's design, which allows the rider to keep up his corner speed, and is therefore unlikely to load the rear shock under power to the same extent as riding the stop-and-go Le Mans layout.

With this in mind the four-strokes will have a bigger advantage over the 500s at the Czech MotoGP, more than usual. The long radius corners, and consistent throttle action needed to ride them quickly will prove a much simpler task on these more predictable machines.

The M1's latest spec inline-four, which will be added to the Marlboro Yamaha Team's arsenal in Brno, is expected to increase this advantage further still for both Biaggi and Checa. It will boast an increase in power, better acceleration and a more precise throttle connection in an effort to continue the M1's strong development program.



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