Yamaha focus on improving rear grip in 2011

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Improving rear grip has been a key winter development target of Yamaha as the Japanese factory seeks to continue its domination of MotoGP without talisman Valentino Rossi in 2011.

Rossi and 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo both expressed concerns that a weak point of last year’s factory YZR-M1 was rear grip, even though the bike won 11 races and the world crown for the third successive season.

Lorenzo and new factory Yamaha recruit Ben Spies will get their first chance to test a revised YZR-M1 in Sepang tomorrow (Tuesday) when pre-season testing resumes in Malaysia.

And both will be hoping rear grip has been improved as they look to take on the formidable challenge posed by Rossi at Ducati and Casey Stoner at Honda.

Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha team boss Wilco Zeelenberg told MCN: “We clearly had some issues to improve and it starts with grip and of course we’d like to improve engine performance a little bit.

"It is everywhere a little bit because it is not like we have a big issue. But we all ride with the same tyres, so if we can create more drive out of the same tyre then we have a big advantage.

"It is a combination, so it is electronics and mechanical drive from the chassis but also from the power delivery. In all three ways we’ll try and find some improvements but the priority is to improve acceleration grip.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt