Yamaha To Radically Revise The 2011 MotoGP Bike?

Yamaha have just about cleaned up during the 2010 MotoGP season. The factory secured the 2010 World Championship with Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard scoring a record points total along the way, with the Japanese manufacturer also wrapping up the constructors' title, and the factory Fiat Yamaha team taking the team title. In addition, Ben Spies took Rookie of the Year aboard a satellite YZR-M1, finishing 5th in the championship, and with Valentino Rossi taking 3rd - despite missing races due to a broken leg, as well as racing with a long-running and debilitating shoulder injury - Yamaha finished with three riders in the top five.

All in all, then, little reason to change Yamaha's 800cc M1 MotoGP machine, given the startling level of performance that the bike has already displayed. But when Spanish journalist Diego Lacave, editor of the magazine Motoracing, wrote an open letter to Jorge Lorenzo on the website Motocuatro, claiming that the Yamaha will be the bike that gets the least amount of development for the 2011 season, Lorenzo's crew chief Ramon Forcada was quick to deny any such suggestion. Lacave was guilty of only looking at Yamaha as a company, not at the culture which that company has, Forcada explained. "I've worked with the Japanese enough to understand their attitude," Forcada wrote in an email to Motocuatro. "They either decide to leave, like Kawasaki did, or they stay and accept all of the consequences."

Forcada had a mountain of emails from Japan cluttering up his inbox, he claimed, discussing all of the changes to be made to the 2011 Yamaha M1 based on the data found at the Valencia test. The changes to be made would include modifications to the chassis, the engine, the aerodynamics, the electronics, the suspension, and possibly even the brakes. "What other aspect is there to evolve the bike in?" Forcada asks.

From the evidence presented to them, Motocuatro concludes that the 2011 M1 could be a very different bike to the one that was raced in 2010. Though the word which Forcada uses remains "evolution" rather than revolution, there still appears to be plenty of room for improvement.

Forcada's intervention suggests there could be a surprising amount of work going on for the 2011 MotoGP bikes, despite this being the final year of the 800cc formula. All four of the current manufacturers are expected to bring heavily revised 1000cc - or at least, larger capacity - versions of their bikes for the new 1000cc era from 2012, but that will not apparently prevent them from working on the '11 machines. Ducati MotoGP project leader Filippo Preziosi is at Jerez for the next three days, where test riders Vito Guareschi (still working in his role as test rider, despite now also being promoted to team manager) and Franco Battaini will be taking the data provided to them by Valentino Rossi at Valencia and working on geometry and weight distribution during the combined Moto2 and MotoGP rookie test in Southern Spain, while a range of new parts are being prepared for the next test at Sepang. Meanwhile, Suzuki are believed to be pouring money into major modifications to their GSV-R machine, after an utterly dismal year in 2010. Only Honda appear to be close to leaving their machine alone, although work continues on the electronics, and Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will be working on revised chassis and engines when testing continues at Sepang in early February. Despite the imminent demise of the 800s, the development war continues.

Back to top


is everyone in agreement that all the teams will go to 1000cc 2012.
is that assumption based on the rev limit.
I cant get my head around any advantage the 1000cc will have without a rev limit. due to the 81mm

can someone enlighten me please.


I believe Ducati said they were "building a bike for the new rules"
they are not saying "we are building a 1000c bike" though!!

To be honest I can't see any new manufacturers wanting to come into this class if they're forced to build an engine with fixed bore/stroke dimensions (if they are a full 1000cc)

The 2 main problems I see is fuel consumption and rpm

As far as I can figure, a 16,000rpm 1000cc engine (about max revs with an 81mm bore) will use more fuel than a 18,500rpm 800 . So why would you bother if your already struggling to get the 800 to the end of the race on 21 litres?

If rpm = horsepower, then the company that has the most money and access to the best materials will be able to rev it's long stroke 1000 the hardest (not mentioning Honda's name here) but with higher revs and more power you're back to fuel consumption again

Unless there's a revision of the rules, I reckon most of the teams will be running 800's (or something between 800 and 900) in 2012

maybe you can help me a bit further, its the 81mm that beats me.
is it possible to build an L shaped engine, (by which i mean a long and short stoken - not equal lengths)
im thinking similar to the cross plane shifting stress on the crank more than power to rear wheel.
could it be timed to fire so you get the same effect as a cross plane crank. this way you could bring the 800 up to 1000cc and only have to change either the front or rear cylinder length. ?
or would there be too much unbalanced stress. ?

Sorry for going off track

So if the 1000s in 2012 is voluntary, at what point does it become mandatory, if ever? Has that been outlined? Are there different fuel regs for different capacities?

does RPM really equal HP? I thought CCs equalled horsepower. Also a lot is being made of the 81mm bore, what is the significance of this? Is it smaller than a typical bore for a liter bike?


the 81mm is the maximum bore size, and as the cc is measured by the bore size and the length of stroke. it seems to me the 800 is already at the max performance while still being able to use the power. the 21 litres of fuel is the same for 1000cc, and as pointed out the bikes already struggle with it.

I was also thinking if the moto2 bikes are also running 81mm bore, is it possible to just lengthen the barrels to use the same bike in MotoGP. which kind of brings me back to the L shape !!

Yamaha has previously stated that its 800cc will remain in 2012, so i'd b very surprised to c them change this and go to 1000s. All this development for 2011 might be in preparation for they remaining 800 in 2012, IMO.

That may be the case, or they may find they can increase displacement somewhat without having to redesign the bike...  continuing the "evolution".

It has been a while since I read it, but Ducati was looking at smaller displacements for a while. Something around 930cc. That was last spring I believe. Not sure what ever came of the testing for that motor. Maybe it they didn't even build it. Just did some M&S? I don't know.

With the restricted fuel, it seems 1000cc maybe won't be the obvious solution.

I see this as nothing more than Yamaha/Lorenzo's play to say that the 2011 Yamaha is all developed by Jorge to attribute whatever success to Jorge and distance the bike from Rossi. Since the M1 is Rossi's baby the only way to refute the assertion is to assert something slightly plausible and utterly unverifiable.

Common sense says that the bike is not going to be a complete overhaul from 1 year to the next. Certainly not a complete overhaul. More logically a quick cursory view of the Yamaha/Rossi years shows that the bike does not go through a complete overhaul in one year. If memory serves correctly, the M1 only made 1 enormous leap (Rossi's first 990 yr) then 2 material refinements (to the 800 michelins then to 800/bridgestones).

This is a great ploy but it will not stick. Jorge is fast but in fact and in perception, he is inheriting a Rossi's bike.

Rather than some kind of mind game/ploy I think it really is nothing more than a factory doing the 'usual' round of updates from year to year on what is arguably the best all-round motorcycle.

Based on what happens next year, most Rossi fans will have 2 viewpoints:

1) If Lorenzo (and Spies) are successful, it is only because they are riding on the bike that Valentino developed.

2) If the Yamahas don't fare as well, it is only because Lorenzo and Spies are not good development riders and should Rossi have stayed, it would have fared better.

Both are possibilities!

Though to give Rossi and company all the credit is a disservice to all those hard working and hated engineers with computers that make these fabulous machines that take all the fun out of racing by neutering the best English speaking normal-sized riders. (I think that about covers it for everyone right?)

Right on about being the standard procedure. That great Rossi video going through all the M1 models described how there were updates all around championship winning and non-winning bikes similar to those described.

Jorge is fast but in fact and in perception, he is inheriting rossi's bike. so i dont get it, how come he was consistently faster than the guy who had the bike made all around and for him? isnt it ironic and rather tragic to get beat by this kid riding a bike you built to suit you? c'mon, lets get away from all of this. Rossi is inheriting a bike that has won the most races in the 800cc era and should as well be going fast from the start. yet he is struggling. changes and development is a constant factor in bike racing else your competitors will just leave you way behind...and that's what yamaha will do with lorenzo. they cant keep riding the same bike rossi left behind for the next 20 years as there are always areas to improve and go faster. every manufacturer is looking to improve and evolve and so is yamaha with lorenzo in the saddle heading up development. and so what does it matter if Rossi developed the yamaha? we all know he's the best development rider in the business yet that counts for nothing at the end of the day-what matters is the world title. so lets focus on the end results of the racing rather than who developed what. let's see how Rossi tackles the fickle ducati in time enough to win the title next season

Why do we keep confusing riders and engineers? Engineers build bikes and riders "rides" these bikes and provive feedback. To say that Rossi is the best development rider simply means that he gives great feedback and expresses with precision what the bike is doing and what he wants the bike to do according to his riding style. Engineers take the information and DEVELOP better parts to accomodate the #1 rider-hence the importance of being the #1 rider. Yamaha engineers, with the feedback of Rossi, built and DEVELOPED the M1 as we know it today. Rossi probably don't understand a quater of the things that are going on inside the bike. Please stop giving all the credit to Rossi and his crew. In any discipline talent matters, including engineering. Fu...wa did not just signed Rossi, he also assembled a very talented engineering team. Not having a great development rider is probably not the reason why Honda is not winning more often. It could just be that Honda engineers were slow to fix issues(they did poached some of Yamaha'guys), or simply that Stoner, Rossi, and Lorenzo are consistently faster than Pedrosa and Dovi over a year. We shall see next year when Stoner is racing on the Honda.
Lorenzo appears to be able to tell exactly what the bike is doing and what can be improved to keep up with the competition. The engineers will go to their lab and try to come up with better parts. They already know they need a stronger engine and better rear traction. I personnaly believe that this year the Honda was faster than the Yamaha. Everyone is improving all the time. Just look at the time required to complete a race, it keeps falling year after year. They also make improvements troughout the year. It's like a see-saw battle. Yamaha started strong this year, than honda took over, followed by Ducati, and they all finished more or less together. The difference was Lorenzo and Yamaha stayed at the fromt for a longer period.
Do you honestly think Rossi would go to Suzuki? Suzuki engineers have been a step behind for the past 8 yars or so.

If you listen to some of these Rossi boys you would think Rossi goes to the factory everyday and sits at a design board or does CAD, runs a CNC machine, fabricate parts, does the carbon weave and baking, bench test engines, programs the engine management, etc. He does none of that. He rides the bike and gives feedback. That's it. Nothing more. It's up to the engineers and designers to make a bike what it is.

No one cares about "winning on Rossi's bike" except Rossi fanboys. Winning on "someone else's bike" has never been a big deal until this year perpetrated by the Rossi-philes looking for any straw to hold on to and looking for any credit to give to their hero. It's not "Rossi's bike" - it says "Yamaha" on the tank. Jorge has been there 3 seasons - the Yamaha engineers and designers have used Jorge's data in the development of the bike as well over the last couple of years. They don't just toss out Jorges data and the debrief notes from him.

Yamaha wouldn't waste millions on a "ploy" to shut up Rossi fanboys who look for anything to discredit Jorge. If anything they are looking to maintain their dominance that they have enjoyed over the last couple of seasons.

Will be interesting to see. Sub-limit capacity (or fewer cylindered) bikes have been tried before - Aprilia 410, Honda v3, Honda v2, Proton v3, Ducati 851/888/926, et al - but have all basically met with failure eventually. In the case of 2012 however, the lower capacity is supposedly driven by the loathesome fuel limits, so it might be a different story.

Still, history says that if someone brings out a 930, it will sooner or later end up at 999cc just like all the bikes that are getting in its way round the corners and jumping away down the straight.

There has been no significant change in the M1 since 2004 and none is likely in 2011. Why would you change the sweetest handling machine on the grid with precious little time to test and develop? As far as I was aware Lorenzo just wanted a little more engine. This is nothing more than a bit of nest feathering ego play. Games, games, games.

Forcada and Lorenzo proved everything they needed to 2010. They are at least the equal of Rossi and Burgess.

Yamaha is used to winning with Rossi (and now Lorenzo), and they'll want to continue that. So they'll develop the bike properly; they've got the resources to do that. Not to mention (still) having a rider who can win on it.

Back in '05/'06 . . . somoewhere in that timefrane, Fu . . wa was asked what made Rossi so good in bike development. He said that Rossi was able to identify the bikes issues AND rank the issues in the order they needed to be FIXED! That was CRITICAL in being able to develop the M1 into the dominating bike it is today. Fu . . wa also said that Rossi's ability to not only identify the bikes problem issues, but RANK the bikes issues into an order, was very unique.

I don't believe for a moment that Forcada is putting a 'spin' on anything.
For the first time scince the 800's inception,Yamaha are free of cow towing to the No.1 rider and crew's input/demands. With Rossi and crew out of the equation they can focus fully on what Lorenzo AND Spies deem as areas to be improved upon for themselves and the bike.
Nothing radical I expect,but Major Revision 1 pending. Masao Furasawa is no longer project leader,so expect the new broom to sweep clean,within Yamaha engineering philosophy.Expect to see quite a revision of the M1.Reckon the cobwebs have already been dusted off.
By the same token,one can presume that HRC are taking a hard look at Valencia testing data/feedback from Stoner/Simmonchelli.
As for Ducati,well,no wonder they have Battaini and Guareschi testing in Jerez this week. Upshot is that young Karel Abraham's input may confuse the issues even further.

I think that you may have a very good point there. This year marks a very radical departure of key personnel at Yamaha. Not only have Rossi and Burgess gone, but the M1's 'Godfather', Masao Furusawa has also retired.

This means that a lot of new people will be coming into the project, all keen to make their mark on it and anxious to prove they are worthy successors to the guys whose shoes they are filling. This has the potential to be either very good for Yamaha or potentially quite bad. There is always the danger of changing things just for the sake of it, and this is the main thing they will need to guard against.

I remember after Yamaha's dominant season in 2005 that a degree of hubris set in at Yamaha and they made retrograde changes to the chassis that caused severe chatter on new tyres. That took nearly half a season to fix and effectively cost Rossi and Yamaha the 2006 championship. I sincerely hope we don't see history repeat itself this year.

Hello everyone, new poster here.

Of course the bike has changed every year since the first M1 and it will keep on changing. It is normal. Maybe not the fairings but it will definitely change or evolve. Did everyone forget Rossi threatening to jump ship when Stoner kept leaving him in the dust? Yamaha made a lot of changes back then and his complaints mysteriously disappeared once Lorenzo started outperforming him on the same bike without his setup.

Newer tire constructions (theoretically) come into play with the (potentially) added torque of the bigger motors and chassis permutations, and as Bridgestones contract expires at the same time, so too may tire suppliers. Ducati has had a very hard time getting heat into the front Bridgestone, which seems strange as they were one of the early adopters of the Bridgestones, whereas Yamaha seemed to have that figured out early on. Although the Yamaha seemed to do quite well on either the Michelins or the Bridgestones.

The larger displacement engines should, by necessity require lower RPM ceilings to reign in potentially catastrophic mean piston speeds. I think that was the FIM's whole reason for enforcing the 81mm bore was to limit RPM, which at 16K rpm would put piston speeds well north of the magical 25 m/s mark. That is where the supercomputers come in and try to figure out how many times a lap they can safely curtail fuel flow to the injectors and still give the rider some sense of control while giving him maximum acceleration, all without running out of fuel by races end.

A rider has to be able to relay as much tangible information as possible to the Engineers in a very limited time-frame to make those changes. Rossi is very good at this but as you can see it is far from a one man show in todays Motogp paddock. If a rider is spending all his testing time trying to get comfortable on the bike as opposed to developing the bike and its subsystems that is just not conducive to product development so it is in everyones best interest to have a 98th percentile package delivered to the rider at the off. At least that's the theory!:)

And I can't wait to see Mr. Stoner destroy a perfectly good race bike and say how he should have won because he had the pace. Whaat, it's happened before (on a Honda).

Not a Stoner fan?

He also says fairly regularly that the bike has had the pace to be a winner and he just wasn't able to capitalise on it.

I think that is where he is coming from.

...this site has load of good comments but sometimes I believe we all forget how good, talented are ALL those riders in MotoGP. Someone more, someone little less (still more than 99.9% of the rest of the planet).

Stoner does crash, never the less he is a very fast talented driver. I personally don't like it that much and I also thinks that at times he whines (corkscrew) but I have full respect for him. And the "falling" is part of the package. Like Rossi not being fast on FP / starts (but less dominant than Casey at times). Or Dani dogfights skills (though he is improving a lot).

Every rider has top features and something they are not so good at. But I believe that all of them are great riders. Some may rank higher in likeness (which is personal thinking of course) like for me "Capirossi, Hayden, Edwards, Spies, Rossi if not considering his tax issues" and some maybe lower.

This is not specifically directed to bmerdude62 ... it's more generic, I just think there is too much "against" some one ... Stoner, JLo, Rossi or who else for that matter.

Yes he's had his share of trips through the kitty litter. But remember he did keep it all together and became a World Champion in 2007 in the Premier class. At only 25 he still has a fair few years in which to hone his craft and eliminate some errors in judgement.

To condemn him as the doubters - like our '62 vintage Beemer rider - do for 2006 is pure naivety. 2006, Casey's first year on a satellite Honda on third rate Michelins Rossi wouldn't use on a trip to the shops. He still set a pole, a fastest lap and took a second place and 8th overall. Doohan only managed 9th overall in his first season of 500's. Casey's not done yet of the championship winning front by a long shot.

Spies said it best and probably echoed the thoughts of most of the grid with his - and this is paraphrased 'the only thing that scares me is Casey of a Honda' comment. Enough said really.

Sure Casey is 25 and has time to grow out of the errors in judgement.

However, he has been involved in world championship grand prix motorcycling, never mind his national level activity, for eight seasons, which is a whole lot of time to grow out of the errors of judgement.

Now Casey Stoner has been riding on the limit of the Ducati all season and this has lead to him mis-judging the limit and crashing. Now when we look at his former world champion teammate Nicky Hayden and compare him to how he was in 2006 on a 990 Honda to a 800 Ducati in 2010 and look at the amount of crashes he had between those two years then the hand of reason would point to the Ducati being a very difficult bike to ride which requires a certain riding style and setup to achieve any notable results. You speak as if other riders could've achieved greater results on the 2010 Desmo. I think Stoner's first test on a RC212V says it all.


And all of that notwithstanding, Stoner currently sits eighth on the all time 500cc/MotoGP winners list. One more win to equal Rainey, and two more to equal Schwantz with what we can reasonably assume will be many years ahead of him. Not too shabby in perspective......

I'm sure with a factory Honda and Bridgestones we will see the incidence rate of "front end" loses drop despite his propensity to push it (the front end that is :).

He does need to watch his consistency if he wants to win more championships, but as Mick Doohan famously stated many years ago (and I paraphrase) "You can teach a fast rider to stop crashing, but it is very hard to teach a slow rider to go fast"