MotoGP Sepang test: Yamaha confident new engine can challenge Ducati

1 of 1

Yamaha is confident that a winter engine upgrade has moved them closer to the blisteringly fast top speed of world champion Casey Stoner’s factory Ducati machine.

Valentino Rossi continued to log crucial development miles on a new YZR-M1 motor in Sepang this week, happy that Yamaha engineers had increased top speed by over 3mph with a new pneumatic valve engine.

Yamaha confirmed on the final day of a three-day test session today in Malaysia that another step in performance will come with a further upgraded four-cylinder motor at the floodlit IRTA test in Qatar on February 28, 2008.

The new spec motor is again designed for top speed and critical mid-range power, both key strengths of Stoner’s dominant Ducati GP7 last season.

Valentino Rossi’s team boss Davide Brivio said Yamaha was satisfied with progress after Rossi completed his first proper race simulation on the new 2008 YZR-M1.

It was also his first serious race distance run on Bridgestone tyres and Davide Brivio said: “The engine has made a step but we don’t know if it will be enough.

“I guess we have reduced the gap to Ducati and to fill that gap completely would be a dream.

“The dream would be to have the same top speed as Ducati, but if not at least be as close as possible to be able to fight and not get passed on the straight so easily like in Qatar and China last year where it was very difficult to watch.

“To stay in the slipstream and try to fight is the target. Yamaha is making a big effort.

“The engineers have a lot of positive pressure after two years of not winning the championship.

“This has been a positive test because we have learned a lot about the performance of the bike and the tyres.”


Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt