Yamaha boss confident in 2010 bike

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Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa is confident the new YZR-M1 machine can continue the Japanese factory’s domination of the MotoGP world championship in 2010.

The YZR-M1 has been the dominant machine in 2008 and ’09 with Italian star Valentino Rossi fending off the fierce challenge from Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Yamaha took a clean sweep of the rider, team and manufacturer titles in 2009 and the indications are that the YZR-M1 in-line four-cylinder will be harder to beat than ever.

Nine-times world champion Rossi topped the timesheets at five of the six days of winter testing and he was delighted with off-season developments.

Rossi had feared Yamaha would be struggling for engine performance in 2010 with new rules permitting him to use only six engines throughout the entire 18-round championship.

But Yamaha has found an increase in performance with an increase in durability as well.

Furusawa told MCN: “So far our bike has upgraded pretty good but still we’re working. Racing is all about competition and if a competitor reaches our level then we have to improve again.

"Valentino is pretty happy and the bike is fast, so I hope this situation carries on. Mid-range has improved and so has peak power. The engine is faster than the engine we started last season with.

"It’s not needed much money, just a stronger brain. Our goal was to double the engine life.

"Mileage now is around 2000ks and it’s really hard to make an engine work like a production engine. We have reached some targets and we’ll change the target again.”

Furusawa though did admit that Yamaha’s quest to double engine life while not sacrificing crucial horsepower had not been without problems during testing in Japan.

He added: "The engine dyno has been very busy and sometimes it is not always successful. We have broken con rods and pistons. I can’t say how many times but now the piston is very difficult.

"In the past I would say we didn’t care about durability. Maximum durability was one race and the engine would be changed.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt