On the eve of the final MotoGP test at Jerez, Yamaha used the opportunity to officially present their MotoGP team and livery for the 2012 season. The bikes are similar to last years, but with more white, giving a cleaner look, but once again, Yamaha have no title sponsor. Asked at the presentation whether that would be a problem, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told the media that Yamaha was not in racing to make money, but to promote the Yamaha brand, something which is more difficult with a title sponsor.
Both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies praised the new 1000 Yamaha M1, saying they really liked the extra power and acceleration, the one area in which they suffered against the Honda last year. But the top speeds the bigger bikes made possible frightened even Jorge Lorenzo, the thought of running maybe 360 km/h at Mugello was "too much" the Spaniard said. Expectations were high for both riders, Lorenzo's team boss Wilco Zeelenberg saying that he expected the Spaniard to finish one place better than he did in 2011 - Lorenzo ended the 2011 championship in 2nd place - and given the results of testing so far, that seems to be a realistic goal.
Yamaha M1 project leader Kouichi Tsuji told the presentation that the bike had some 10% more horsepower from the extra 200cc engine, but that the biggest challenge facing his design team had been dealing with the fuel limits, which remain at 21 liters. The whole design focus had been increasing efficiency, to get the most out of the meager fuel allowance. Tsuji also denied that Yamaha were using a new gearbox, saying they had focused on other areas - reducing the tendency of the bike to wheelie, among others - and that they had closed the gap to Honda by employing a "new technology" in the engine.
Yamaha Factory Racing 2012 Begins in Jerez
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 22nd March 2012
Yamaha Factory Racing 2012 officially launched this evening during a special event at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The event was attended by nearly 100 invited media, selected MotoGP guests and the entire Yamaha Factory Racing team.
The event began with a guided tour through Yamaha’s newly designed pit garage and refreshed hospitality unit. Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, along with senior Yamaha Motor Racing and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd management were then present to unveil the 2012 1000cc YZR-M1 machines in their striking new livery for the assembled audience.
Jorge Lorenzo - Yamaha Factory Racing Rider
“It’s very exciting to be here so close to the first race. I love the new livery and Yamaha’s hard work has given us a very competitive bike to fight with this season. It’s good to be here at a different track to test against our competitors before we start next month. It was a pleasure to see so many of our MotoGP media friends here to take part in the launch, nice to see so many take their picture with my bike!”
Ben Spies - Yamaha Factory Racing Rider
“I’m loving the new bike, man it’s great to be back on a 1000cc machine! The riding style is much closer to my natural way of riding which makes it a lot more fun. The colours look great so I’m ready to get out there tomorrow for our final shakedown before Qatar.”
Lin Jarvis - Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing
“Firstly I’d just like to say a big thank you to all of the media that turned out here for our press conference at Jerez today. For us it was a pleasure to see so many of the media here showing attention and focus on the new MotoGP season which is only two and a half weeks away. We were delighted to be able to unveil our new bike, new colours and new pit garage and hospitality. We’ve made a major refreshment of all our materials for this year and we’re very excited to be at what we consider today to be the start of the season. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days at this test, having had two successful tests at Sepang we’ve moved to a new circuit with new demands. We’re quietly confident our bike will perform well here, then after this it’s flat out and ready to go for the first race in Qatar!”
The riders will take to the track tomorrow in the new livery for the last official test before the season begins on 8th April under the floodlights in Qatar.