Engine upgrade vital for Yamaha, says Jerry Burgess

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Yamaha’s domination of the 800cc MotoGP era could end in 2011 unless major improvements are made to the performance of its factory YZR-M1 engine.

Valentino Rossi’s legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess reckons the Japanese factory will need to improve horsepower and acceleration to have a chance of winning the last 800cc crown in the face of stiff competition from Ducati and Honda.

Yamaha has claimed the title for three years in succession and dominated MotoGP with Rossi and new world champion Jorge Lorenzo since the beginning of 2008.

But towards the end of the 2010 campaign Lorenzo urged Yamaha make big improvements to its YZR-M1 engine, which was slower than rivals Ducati and Honda.

The Spaniard is also looking or better acceleration to improve rear grip next season after a golden 2010 saw him claim nine victories.

Burgess told MCN: “Jorge has said that if he doesn’t get a faster bike it will be very difficult for him next year. The Honda has been working extremely well and so for the first time perhaps not having Valentino on song for the whole year is already starting to hurt the development of the Yamaha. 

“The Ducati outright speed is only a couple of kilometres higher than the Yamaha but the acceleration is very good.”

Burgess has moved to Ducati with Rossi, who quit Yamaha at the end of the season after winning the MotoGP crown four times for the Japanese factory.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt