Smith and Espargaro impressed with new Yamaha gearbox

Published: 12 March 2014

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have both hailed the benefits of Yamaha’s seamless shift gearbox ahead of the start of the 2014 MotoGP campaign.

Smith and Espargaro tested the new transmission at the second Sepang test and during last weekend’s Qatar night session, and both say it makes their YZR-M1 machinery easier to ride over race distance.

Improved stability on upshifts is also a major advantage of the seamless shift system, which Yamaha has been using with factory duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi since the Misano race last September.

Now Smith and Espargaro have had the opportunity to gauge its advantages, they are confident it will be a big boost in their bid to fight consistently inside the top six when the new season starts in Qatar on March 23.

Smith told MCN: “Rather than a big step, it just makes our job easier. In terms of performance it is difficult to say what is the difference. Over one lap I’d say absolutely nothing but in terms of race distance and energy expended it is a benefit. And it certainly helps keep the grip and a more balanced bike. I’m certainly finding it easier to do the lap time on old tyres.”

Reigning Moto2 world champion Espargaro, who is currently recovering from a broken left collarbone he suffered on the final night of testing in Qatar, told MCN: “I thought that the new gearbox would give me 0.5s or more (laughs) but it is not true. It seems like you are much faster but it is not like this. It makes your work a little bit easier. When you are in the middle of the corner and you change up the bike is more stable and you have less wheelie and the wheelie you have is more controllable. And the traction control has to work less. It is easier to ride the bike and at the end of a long run you feel better physically. It takes time to understand it but it is very good.”