Electronics update improves acceleration for Ben Spies

By Matthew Birt -


 07 June 2012 10:01

A revised electronics package helped give Ben Spies improved acceleration performance with his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine during yesterday’s Motorland Aragon MotoGP test.

Spies put in more crucial development miles on an upgraded Yamaha motor and new triple clamp, but arguably the biggest step in performance came from revisions to traction control and anti-wheelie systems.

He set the second fastest time of 1.49.442 to finish 0.255s behind factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Improving acceleration has been one of the key targets for Yamaha’s race department in 2012 and Spies believes he made significant progress at the Motorland Aragon.

His team boss Massimo Meregalli confirmed to MCN that Yamaha’s traction control and anti-wheelie has at times been cutting too much power under hard acceleration.

That has had an impact on corner exit performance and he told MCN: “It is a case of how you transmit the power to the ground. Sometimes the electronics can cut too much and we lose a bit of acceleration. In that area we have made a step.”

Spies confirmed that Yamaha had been working on fine-tuning the electronics to make full use of the power available with its new 1000cc YZR-M1.

The former World Superbike champion told MCN: “It is such a fine line between having too much traction control and too much wheelie control in and it slows the bike down but it is easier to ride.

"It is really difficult to fine-tune it to get the absolute best acceleration out of the bike. The bike has power but it is how you tune it to get the most out of the bike and that’s what we worked on here.

"We were able to keep the bike quite tame when it spins a lot and to save the tyre. But where we really need it to drive it seems like we have got more power or we are able to use more power.

"I did lots of laps on old tyres and I did a race distance on the tyres and I was still able to go within a second of my fastest lap, which is really key.”

Meregalli also confirmed that Yamaha’s new engine, which was first tested in Catalunya on Monday, has offered a small performance gain in top speed.

Spies and Lorenzo both said they could barely tell any difference between the current motor and new one, though data proved a small step in speed.

Meregalli added: “The engine is better, so the next one we use in our allocation will be this spec. It could be Silverstone but I am not 100% sure and it will be available to both of them. 

"We have some more top power because we have gained some more speed. In Catalunya on the straight compared to the previous spec engine we saw an improvement of about three to four kilometres per hour."

Spies exclusively used the new spec motor at Motorland Aragon and he said: “It is an improvement but a very small improvement and as rider you want more speed.  I believe we have got more coming for the end of the season and Yamaha is working hard that’s for sure.”

Spies was just happy to be regaining some confidence after a tough start to 2012.

He’s scored a best of eighth place in the opening five races and his poor run of results continued in Catalunya last weekend when he finished 10th after crashing out of the lead.

He bounced back to finish second in the Catalunya and Motorland Aragon tests and said: “The last five days on track have been really good for me in terms of getting back to the level where I need to be and where I can be.

"In all that time on track I made one mistake and it just sucked it was in the race but that adds to my luck this season. I’ve had good pace in Catalunya and now in Aragon, so that’s been a big positive.

"I just felt good on the bike here and it is nice like I was in Barcelona to be in the top three and right there with Jorge.”