Jerry Burgess happy with Yamaha engine performance

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Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess reckons Yamaha has achieved its double target with the new 2010 factory YZR-M1 engine.

With a team now restricted to using only six engines for the entire 18-round world championship, Burgess is confident Yamaha has achieved durability targets that will require each engine to last for three races in 2010.

And the Aussie said it was crucial that Yamaha had also extracted more performance out of the new YZR-M1.

Rossi voiced his concerns at the end of last season that Yamaha’s engine was too slow compared to Honda and Ducati when engine restrictions were implemented for the latter part of last season.

But Burgess told MCN that the new 2010 in-line four-cylinder engine is faster than the one Rossi started last season on.

He said: “It’s encouraging with the new engine but to say we’re there yet, I’m not sure.

“I know to have the power we have got with the durability is excellent, but it means nothing if it’s not as much as the other people have got. Speed has looked pretty good but we will have to wait and see where we are closer to Qatar.

“We ran an engine for a whole day with no noticeable power loss but now we can’t have a power loss at 400ks anymore. We have to go right through to 2000ks with full power.

“The target was to get durability but if you’re concerned about top power you’re probably using the higher part of the rev range, so to conserve engine you might be looking to make the engine have more torque in the middle of the rev range to give you better acceleration.

“That will still give you good top speed rather than using the higher rpm and hence the high friction or high wear part of the engine to achieve the same.

“Improving mid-range is the logical way to go about getting the durability we’re trying to achieve. We are certainly back to where we were before Brno last year.

“Clearly when Yamaha agreed to the new regulation they knew it was going to be a difficult challenge but they knew they had to put their heads down.

“Valentino did have questions about the engine because historically, up until the beginning of last year Yamaha didn’t have the sort of engine that some of the other companies had.

“But we certainly had it in the beginning of last year and to the point when we had to extend the life of the engine.

“We can make the power now but we have to make it with the longevity. From what I’ve seen we’re heading in the right direction.

“Yamaha knew they were going in with six engines so the development was towards that. Previously we’ve had a load of engines, put one in, recycle it and refurbish it and put it in again.

“Now we don’t have that luxury so components had to be redesigned to go for 2000ks and not 600.”

One of the key issues for Burgess and other MotoGP technicians is working out a strategy for using the engines to make sure they have the most competitive package for race day.

He added: “The managing of the engines for the first race in Qatar will be easy. We’ll put two new ones in each bike.

“Certainly as one engine start to age you can use that solely for practice and perhaps put the race engine in, use it for the race and take it out and put the other one back in for practice.

“So effectively you’d be keeping your race engine under 1000ks, which should give you five races. That’s more than you need because if we got full power to 2000ks, a warm-up and a race you’d do about 180ks.

“So as you go through the season I’d imagine we’d manage the engines for whatever we feel gives us the best opportunity on Sunday.

“I don’t fine the regulation too bad. I’m not saying there won’t be issues and you’ll have to manage it well.

“It’s the first year I’ve ever gone Grand Prix racing where I’m thinking about the last race before we start the first.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt