Rossi was there at the beginning of the 2004 M1 birth
He did no develop the bike........that's contradicting Masao Furusawao. Rossi de-briefs on the 2004 M1 is the reason the M1 is what it is then and now. He does not know the mechanical or engineering side and what or how to build a part or engine, but he sure as shit directed then towards developing the bike exactly how he wanted it. Thank God that Masao listened and did as he Rossi wanted.
Looking back at the M1. I remember the first version had carburettors...
Oh yes. 2002. For 2003 I recommended to change from carburettor to a fuel-injection system and chain-driven camshafts.
I had always approached problems as a kind of outsider, a consultant, looking in and recommending this, this and this. But doing it is different. It was such a big shock when I jumped in to MotoGP in 2003. 'Wow! This is all my responsibility'.
And the results that year [one podium] were terrible. 2003 was hell!
I thought many things were wrong, but I was new to racing, so it was just my own ideas from logical thinking, analysis and experience. Reality is not necessarily the same. So some people were sceptical. Looking at me and thinking 'we understand what you are saying, but reality is different.'
It can be really hard to convince everyone to go in the same direction. So I did some trick. I came up with a pretty good idea - the crossplane crankshaft [utilising 'big bang' technology] - and then right after I joined MotoGP I started a design. Half a year later the first prototype ran on the racetrack near the Yamaha headquarters.
Everybody was looking and the first thing the test rider said was 'this bike feels slow'. So everyone looked at me, thinking 'Hmmm. You are the guy who thought of this...' And then he said 'But the lap time is so fast. It just feels slow because it is very, very smooth and stable.'
That was Christmas time in 2003. Then Valentino Rossi came to Yamaha and rode for the first time here [at Sepang] in January 2004. He is really a genius. He rode the crossplane bike for just five or six laps and then came back and said 'this bike is the best one'. Even though it was slow, because the power was not so much.
I had prepared lots of combinations for him to try: Four-valve system, five-valve system, crossplane, single plane. And he pointed to the crossplane crankshaft bike with four-valve.
The problem we have had is Yamaha is losing the game for over ten years. So we have to change.'
So the four-valve system and crossplane crankshaft was the best, but it was also a brand new engine design, which is why the power was so slow. But despite that, Valentino still pointed to that engine and said 'this is it'.
Is that a lesson you want people at Yamaha to remember, that something might not necessarily produce the best numbers on a design simulation, but the most important thing to remember is the human connection with the machine?
Right. And you need to remember that Valentino was kind of like a King. We all huddled around him when he came in after riding to listen to what he had to say - would he give 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' to our ideas?
So when Valentino gave the 'thumbs up' for four-valve and crossplane crankshaft everybody knew it was the way forward and worked in the same direction.