Yamaha has exclusively revealed to MCN more details of its plan to lease a YZR-M1 engine package for the 2014 MotoGP world championship.
In Texas last month, the Japanese factory confirmed its plan to lease YZR-M1 engines for a maximum of four riders in an initial scheme to run between 2014 and 2016.
Interest in the project started to intensify during last weekend’s Spanish MotoGP race in Jerez with Yamaha getting firm interest from teams and chassis suppliers.
Yamaha intends to lease its YZR-M1 for a cost of around 800,000 Euros (£675,000) and insists it is not in direct competition with HRC, which will offer a complete production RC213V racer to buy for around 1m Euros (£845,000).
Both Yamaha and Honda have introduced their new projects as an affordable but more competitive option to the current CRT machinery, which sees teams running production-based motors in prototype chassis.
In an exclusive interview with MCN, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis outlined some details of the package the Japanese factory intends to supply.
The motor will be close to the spec used by its satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and will run pneumatic valve technology.
Honda’s production RC213V racer will not feature pneumatic valve technology and Jarvis said: “The engine that we will provide will be very close to the Tech 3 type of engine.
"It will have pneumatic valves and effectively be a full factory spec engine. That’s something I doubt other constructors will be able to do. That’s why we run a lease and not a sales project because we will be putting available top technology.
"We can’t and will not let that technology get into the hands of any third party and that’s why the engines will remain sealed and we will do all the maintenance ourselves.
"Starting in Jerez we have had some discussions with some interested teams and also some interested chassis constructors. Our programme will be to work with teams and not work directly with a chassis constructor because the choice of the chassis constructor will be down to the team.
"But they are obviously interested to understand what will be the Yamaha package and what will they have to do themselves and what will Yamaha take care of.
"Interest has started and I believe the Yamaha package will be the most competitive new option.”
Under new rules due to come into force in 2014, factory outfits must run a standard Magneti Marelli-supplied ECU. But to be allowed to continue running their own software they will be restricted to running 20 litres of fuel.
Yamaha’s YZR-M1 engine package will run the spec ECU and software, meaning teams that run it will be allowed to run 24 litres of fuel.
They could also use 12 engines, but Yamaha says it will supply five, which is the same number it can run for its factory team and Cal Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad.
So if you have the asking price sat in your bank for 2014, what would Yamaha offer for your money?
Jarvis said: “The package would include three engines. You will need two bikes running anyway and you need a spare engine at all times. That engine will be maintained twice by us, so we will be providing five engines within a season.
"We will provide a full set of gears that should be enough to run for a season and it will include the spec ECU given free by Dorna. Crash damage will not be included. So if there is a major blow-up due to a huge crash then the team will need to pay extra for that.
"If there is a technical failure to the engine due to a design fault by us we will provide extra engines.
"We choose five engines because that is enough. That’s what we run for the factory team and the Tech 3 team. The regulation allows up to 12 engines but for us we know that we can guarantee the reliability so five is enough.
"But should a team commit their own mistake that requires them to have a sixth engine, we will be able to re-build another engine at their cost. But we are pretty sure that for more or less the cost of 800,000 Euros we can run an entire season with a very high spec bike.”
Testing of the spec ECU and software with the engine is about to commence in private testing in Japan, with Yamaha setting an end of June deadline for confirmed orders of its YZR-M1 engine package.
Jarvis added: “We are currently speaking with Magneti Marelli to understand the new spec hardware and software parameters. We will then go track testing in Japan to make sure we reach a good level and then the further tuning will be up to the team themselves.
"The important point for us is that the window of discussion is only open between now and the end of June. We need to have decisions by the end of June in order to prepare and be ready for the end of this season.
"A chassis manufacturer probably needs at least four months to build a chassis around the engine. We will be doing testing very soon of that lease engine with the spec ECU and spec software so we should be all ready by the middle of this season.
"But then we need to know how many engines we need to produce and with which team and chassis we will be working with.
"We will be ready to supply dummy engines and all the specifications required for them to get the bike ready for the test immediately after Valencia.”
Jarvis scoffed at reports that Yamaha would also plan to lease its own customer chassis with the engine.
That had never even been discussed and he said: “That is not an option. If we do that then we are more or less supplying another Tech 3 machine. We will stick to engines and the unit we will make available will have full technical data and support.
"But it will exclude the airbox, the exhaust pipe, the radiator and oil cooler but it will be an engine that will be synchronised and tuned to the spec ECU and the spec ECU software. So it will be something that can be bolted straight into the right chassis.”
Yamaha needs to recruit additional staff to carry out maintenance at its headquarters in Italy. And one additional engineer will be present on site at all 18 races.
Jarvis said: “We need to hire more people for engine maintenance back in Italy where the engines will be maintained and we will have one dedicated engineer fully available at every Grand Prix to support the customer teams.
"We have 10 engineers from Japan at every race anyway to support the factory team and Tech 3 team and that will be expanded to 11. We need to staff up and that’s why we also need to know by June so we can plan ahead and recruit who we need.”