MotoGP Shortens Race Distances


Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will give the factory's new seamless shift gearbox its grand prix debut at Misano this weekend.

"It [the seamless] will be here tomorrow. We can say that," declared Lorenzo on Thursday.


Both Lorenzo and Rossi were delighted with the technology, versions of which are already used by Honda and Ducati, after trying Yamaha's design during a private test at Brno in August.

The special gearbox not only shortens shifting time, but more importantly increases stability, with the motorcycle less 'upset' by gear changes.

The shorter shifts are achieved by engaging the next gear before the present gear has been disengaged, but the exact methods used are a closely guarded secret.

"When we tried it in Brno I was smiling, to not feel the drop in power when changing gear," said Lorenzo. "It's like you are riding an automatic. Probably the point you feel it most is when upshifting while cornering. Normally the bike moves when you do this, but with the seamless it does not. Let's see what we can gain in the race."

"We are so happy. For sure it is important, especially here at Misano where you use the gearbox a lot. We hope it will be a good advantage to try to fight with the Hondas," added home hero Rossi, winner of his 80th MotoGP race at Assen but off the podium for the last three races. "It is more the improvement for riding than the lap time. I don't think, unfortunately, the seamless will give us half-a-second a lap. But it is a big help over a race distance, to bring the bike to the limit without a mistake."

With reigning double champion Lorenzo needing all the help he can get to close down Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha has been working flat out to perfect its seamless system. Lorenzo is currently 39 points from Marquez and nine points behind Pedrosa.

"The gearbox is completely new for us, a Yamaha designed system, and we thought some improvements were needed [after the Brno test] before using it in a race," said Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Racing. "You always take some risk, but we wanted to perfect it more until now.

"If it's ready for Monday's test, it's ready for this weekend," Jarvis said of the decision not to wait for the test. "There is a points' deficit to Honda and we need to use whatever is available to challenge them in the last six races."

Lorenzo and Rossi have already opened the fourth of their five engines for 2013, but Jarvis revealed they will not be forced to open the last engine to run the new gearbox.

"Our seamless fits in the existing crankcase," he confirmed.

Jarvis admitted that Yamaha had been forced to spend a lot of time and effort to develop the technology, currently not applicable to road bikes, to get around the ban on dual clutch technology and keep pace with Honda.

"If Honda hadn't invested a huge amount of money to develop seamless, we wouldn't have invested a huge amount of money to do it. But that is the nature of competition. You have to react. If we want to compete and win, in some cases we have to respond to our competitors, but we are always looking to advance technology.

"Today maybe [it looks like] seamless will never arrive on a streetbike, but can we say that 10 or 15 years down the line? Maybe it will."

Repsol Honda team manager Livio Suppo also commented on the balance between road and race technology.

"It's very difficult. For example, today many production sport bikes have electronic suspension and here it is not allowed. It would be better to have rules in racing that are linked to production, but it is a difficult compromise."

Despite pushing hard for the new gearbox Rossi, like Marquez, stated that he would prefer if the rules required a 'normal' manual gearbox, while Lorenzo didn't feel it would make much difference to his riding enjoyment.

"I think we need to stop a little bit with the rules," said Marquez. Rossi agreed: "For me the very fast gearbox is good and great to ride, but I like manual."

"I had a lot of fun racing scooters so it would be no problem for me," said Lorenzo. "You still have the brake, throttle, lean. So if in the future it goes that way [fully automatic] it would be no problem."

Meanwhile, Honda will again test a prototype version of its 2014 RCV during Monday's test when, according to Rossi, Yamaha will have "something new that we could not test after Brno [race] because of bad weather."

Thursday at Misano also saw Forward Racing officially announce the use of the 2013-spec Yamaha engine, frame and swingarm as a privateer entry for next year. The team's two riders are still to be confirmed, with Aleix Espargaro and Nicky Hayden linked to the project, alongside current Forward riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti.

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Source : http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/195622/1/yamaha-to-use-seamless-gearbox-at-misano

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