Valentino Rossi has hinted at a radical solution to Yamaha’s current engine woes, admitting after another disappointing race at his home circuit of Misano last week that now might be the time to re-examine their engine configuration. Currently alongside Suzuki as the only manufacturer using an inline layout, Rossi publically pondered after Sunday’s race whether a switch to a V4 would make a difference for them.
Coming home in a distant seventh at a race that means more to him than any other, and with teammate Maverick Viñales only a few places better in fifth, the duo were once again left despondent after a recent test at the Misano circuit filled them with hope. But with riding temperatures on race day meaning that they were once again left struggling with traction, the bane of the bike for nearly two years.
Currently in use by Honda, Ducati, KTM and Aprilia, the V4 configuration has traditionally been able to deliver its power in a way that gives better traction. In theory negated by the Yamaha’s big bang firing order that helps to mimic the characteristics of a V4, Rossi nonetheless admitted that at this point in a difficult few years he’s happy to consider anything for next season that might help ease their woes.
“It’s possible that the engine is the problem for us. Ducati and Honda have learned a lot form Yamaha over the years, because their engines used to scream a lot and be very aggressive. They’ve made their bike more like ours, but maybe the problem could be with their V and our inline four.”
But while Rossi is hoping for something more radical to come along next season, he also admitted that Yamaha’s big failing at the minute seems to be an inability to react to their opponents. Struggling for the best part of two years, he all but conceded that their last chance to win a race this season and break Yamaha’s longest-ever losing streak could well have slipped by.
“It’s miraculous that I’m still able to be third in the championship considering everything! In the last three seasons, we’ve started them at a quite good level, but in the second part we’ve suffered more. If you look at my results, I’ve always had a lot more podiums in the first half. It looks like Ducati and Honda are able to defend the bike in a better way and we need to understand why.”