Yamaha plan to continue racing 800cc YZR-M1 in 2012

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Yamaha intends to continue racing its prototype 800cc YZR-M1 machine in the MotoGP world championship in 2012, MCN can reveal.

The Japanese factory is the first of the big four to signal its intention to shun the opportunity to build a brand new 1000cc prototype machine when new regulations are implemented in 2012.

MotoGP will allow four-cylinder bikes with a maximum capacity of 1000cc to compete in the premier class in 2012 as rights owner Dorna desperately tries to bolster plummeting grid numbers.

But plans for an exclusive 1000cc grid in 2012 appear in tatters already.

Cash-strapped factories are reluctant to commit huge amounts of money in developing a brand new 1000cc engine and requested that the current spec 800cc four-strokes also be allowed to compete in 2012, as was exclusively revealed by MCN from Malaysia over three weeks ago.

Rules were approved accordingly in Barcelona earlier this month with different weight limits and fuel tank limits for both 1000cc and 800cc machines in a bid to ensure both will race on an equal level of performance.

Yamaha race boss Masao Furusawa told MCN: “The timing is very bad because of the economical situation and if we change the engine size it means double the costs.

"But we can’t start the project and from the standpoint of cost savings I don’t like to change the regulation from 800cc to 1000cc. From the standpoint of the costs I would like to continue racing 800s.”

Furusawa though hinted that Yamaha could change its policy depending on the strategy of rival factories like Honda and Ducati.

He added: “It depends on the competition. If our competitors make a better engine than us then we have to change.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt