Yamaha’s failure to roll out a new seamless shift gearbox for Jorge Lorenzo ahead of the final six races of 2013 did not play a key factor in his narrow MotoGP world championship defeat to rookie Marc Marquez.
While HRC has been using a seamless shift gearbox since the beginning of the 2011 campaign, Lorenzo and factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi had to wait until the Misano round last season before the YZR-M1 transmission was upgraded.
With the new gearbox at his disposal, Lorenzo won four out of the last six races, and he only missed out on successfully defending the title by four-points.
But the Spaniard’s factory Yamaha team boss Wilco Zeelenberg denied the long wait to race the new seamless shift gearbox, which improves stability while upshifting, had any significance in the outcome of an enthralling title fight with Repsol Honda rival Marquez.
Zeelenberg said that it was imperative Yamaha rolled out the new gearbox only when 100% confident in its performance potential and reliability because a technical failure would have been disastrous for Lorenzo’s championship prospects.
The Dutchman told MCN: “The gearbox helped a lot, especially with motivation because it is very nice to ride the bike with the seamless. But by the Aragon race we had improved the package quite a bit and Jorge wanted to prove that. Actually the bike was better before that but unfortunately Jorge was not fit enough to show it. Development goes on and it is easy to say we waited too long but it was a long project.
If we had gone too soon everyone would have said we screwed up with a DNF that cost us the title. We were winning races without the seamless and we are still winning races with the seamless. We won four races with and four without the new gearbox. It was not the only important thing this year."