Year of issue
| Power over
| Top speed
Valentino Rossi enjoyed the triumph. The Yamaha team rejoiced no less (if not more): the driver brought her the first victory in a long 12 years of participation in MotoGP. According to Valentino, victory became his goal as revenge! A thirst for revenge was born in the soul at the moment when a year ago he left Honda. Do you know why you left? Honda executives insisted on reducing the role of the rider (Rossi himself!) In working on the MotoGP Honda V5 motorcycle. That's it! But you didn’t know about it in Russia … But meanwhile, the Yamaha team, which had taken over the champion’s arms, was desperate to succeed, on the contrary, posed (if not to say, raised) the most difficult task for Valentino: to turn the loser YZR- M1 in the world champion. And during the year, with the support of the new head of the racing division of Yamaha Macao Furusawa, the Italian energized himself and "did it!"
Revenge is a dish to be enjoyed cold …
Sitting on the seat still warm from Valentino during a test session for journalists on the Valencia track, I gathered, focused, to understand how Rossi and the factory Yamaha racing team managed to turn the dull YZR-M1, which did not impress me a year ago, into bike leader. It took me a complete mobilization of experience, the organizers assigned two 15-minute sessions to the understanding process.
But I’m a grated kalach and I know: in order not to make a mistake, you need to compare. And the day before I drove five laps on a motorcycle Loris Capirossi - Ducati Desmosedici V4.
This is fundamentally different from the less powerful, but more “precision” Yamaha - they are at the different poles of the development of MotoGP motorcycles. Muscular, powerful, fast, but fickle, Ducati seemed pleased to anneal the Michelin rear tire at any speed, in any of the first four gears. But I spent a lot of energy fighting the bike in the steep turns of the Valencia circuit. Yamaha is neat and accurate, riding it is like comparing time with a Swiss watch, and not with the chimes of old Big Ben.
When you sit on a Yamaha, it seems lower and smaller than the Ducati (about the latter it would be more correct to say that you are sitting not on it, but in it, surrounded by plastic). The M1 is a little wider, lower and more obedient to the GSV-R Suzuki V4, which I again had a bit of a break in advance a week ago on the same track. Even compared to the Kawasaki ZX-RR (and I also tested it), it seems smaller and hardly longer. By construction, Yamaha is closest to Kava. Not only the frame design, but also the engine design. This is because since January last year, Yamaha switched from five valves per cylinder to four.
… Mechanics launched the YZR-M1 with a rolling starter - spinning the rear wheel. They did not need to lock the slip clutch, as on the Ducati. I managed to notice the high idle speed of M1 at around 3000 and a distinctly rough sound of the engine.
The next surprise. Unlike all MotoGP motorbikes, even the Suzuki super-superbike, Yamaha starts off easily - like a roadman. There is no need to slip the clutch, there are no jerks of the transmission, there are no failures or a sharp reaction to the gas handle. He moves off - and goes: a minimum of fuss, a maximum of speed. Recall the events of the past championship: unusually good starts for Valentino guaranteed a good prospect in the season. M1 - a controlled and responsive bike, instantly breaking from the start, the start flag will just drop. In the middle of the season, the Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection system was installed. It is programmed to limit the speed in first gear after the engine is started, and up to 5800 rpm. These revolutions are enough to gain 80 km / h at the exit from the pit lane. After the first switch to the second limiter is disabled. Now, if necessary, you can use the entire speed range in first gear. And you will need it for sure: say, at Valencia - two times on each lap.
But first, about what this motorcycle does not do anymore, when compared with the 2003 M1 (Carlos Cheka was chasing it).
In the lower four gears, the motorcycle is no longer "kidding". Until now, the front wheel was torn to the skies and hung at ear level, while I was desperately trying to keep the throttle open and shift gears “up”. He no longer rolls into turns. When you sharply slow down, it does not fall into turns - this happened because of an incorrectly distributed weight. At the exit from the turn, it does not leave the straight line - which arose earlier due to an excessively hasty increase in power. And, finally, the motorcycle no longer strives to giggle on every bump - until the kangaroo’s habits were modernized, the suspension was too stiff.
Could not take this opportunity and asked Valentino:
- What was your reaction to the 2003 Yamaha when you drove it for the first time on the Sepang track in January last year?
- Very tough motorcycle, especially suspension tuning. It reminded me of a Formula 1 car: low, steadily holding course, but it is difficult to change direction on it. I thought it would go better with new tires, but when the motorcycle started to move, the wheel lost its grip on the surface - it was hard to control it with any rubber … The engine didn’t work too - it accelerated too sharply, and this complicated control in corners. We changed the suspension to improve the feel of the front and rear of the motorcycle.
We understood one more thing: we had to deal with “agility”: I felt that the motorcycle was changing direction too slowly. Yes, he has a lot of advantages, but still he is slow.
- What marks would you make to the Growler motors introduced in 2004?
- The first version worked well, but somewhat slowly. The second is much better: the engine now has good performance.
The engine capacity of the first racing YZR-M1 for MotoGP, released in 2002, was 920 cm. Initially, the designers sought to make a narrow small bike with a good power-to-weight ratio. This was achieved by installing an in-line 4-cylinder engine using technology that was familiar to the company. As a result, we got a light chassis with cylinders tilted forward by 15 degrees for compactness and favorable weight distribution. But the success of the Honda RC211V has refuted the Yamaha’s belief that MotoGP’s full-engine power cannot be used.
In mid-2002, the engine was brought to a full 990 sms (the maximum allowed by the technical requirements of the World Cup). They increased the diameter of the cylinders and the stroke of the pistons. In 2003, designers rejected the originally installed carburetors in favor of fuel injection, mainly to reduce fuel consumption - it became an important indicator. By the next season, the 24-liter gas tank "lost" up to 22 liters. Initially installed throttle slide valves with Yamaha's own engine management system, but with only two Marelli nozzles per cylinder. Starting from the races in Le Mans, a full electronic Magneti Marelli electronic injection system was installed on the Rossi bike with a smaller electronic control unit borrowed from Formula 1 cars. Prior to this, the system was used on motorcycles Abe and Melandry.
In 2004, the Growler engine appeared - with 16 valves, ignition moments close to 60 degrees of crankshaft rotation on two cylinders, then a gap of 300 degrees follows before the next pair works - this is to improve traction and (theoretically) extend the life of tires. The YZR-M1 engine is still unusual in that the crankshaft rotates in the opposite direction. An intermediate shaft installed between the crankshaft and the clutch with the counterweight transmits the rotation to the gearbox already “correctly”, plus it serves as a balancing shaft - after all, the vibration caused by uneven ignition must be suppressed somehow. The crankshaft is integral. A short chain leads from it, leading to the intermediate shaft, and he, in turn, drives the two upper camshafts. Each titanium valve has two springs. Two-ring pistons mounted on titanium connecting rods. On few MotoGP bikes, there is still a titanium exhaust system Termignoni 4-2-1 with a silencer. But Yamaha can afford such a heavy “punishment”, since the YZR-M1 barely fits into the weight limit (too light).