Yamaha expected to unveil new gearbox for 2013

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 19 December 2012 17:00

Yamaha is expected to equip its factory YZR-M1 machine with a new seamless shift gearbox to aid Jorge Lorenzo in his quest to win the MotoGP world title for a third time in 2013.

Honda and Ducati have been using the system since 2011 and it has been high on Lorenzo’s wish list for some time as he prepares to defend his crown alongside Valentino Rossi next season.

Although Honda and Ducati claim the seamless shift gearbox only gives a minimal advantage of around 0.1s per lap, it is the stability under acceleration when shifting up through the gears that offers an improvement over the Yamaha system that was used in 2012.

Lorenzo hasn’t publicly stated his desire for the 2013 YZR-M1 to feature a seamless shift gearbox, but he clearly hinted at it being an area of development that needed looking at it during a recent exclusive interview with MCN.

He said: “Last season the bike had less wheelie in acceleration and we had more torque in the slow corners with the 1000 and this helped us be faster on the exit and on the straight.

"So we didn’t lose so much compared to the Honda. They still have a medium advantage with the gearbox and that gives them an advantage in some fast corners like in Qatar or Phillip Island. When they shift up the bike doesn’t move, so this is an advantage they have.”

Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha boss Wilco Zeelenberg confirmed to MCN at the end of the season that improving the gearbox was a clear winter target for Yamaha’s engineering department.

The Dutchman said: “We have enough power but we need more drive. Going through the gears is one thing because Honda has this special gearbox, which gives them a good benefit.

"With lean angle going through the gears they don’t have a problem and that’s where we are trying to improve.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow has voiced his desire to see Yamaha develop a new seamless shift gearbox for the 2013 world championship campaign.

The British rider told MCN: “We still have the same gearbox from a long time ago and Ducati and Honda have the seamless shift gearbox. I’m not saying our gearbox is no good but it can be improved.

"We also know how expensive these things are to do and it is not my decision. Don’t get me wrong because I can improve as a rider as well but the gearbox would be an area to look at.”