Yamaha Video: Kazutoshi Seki, The Man Behind Valentino Rossi's Electronics

The role that electronics plays in MotoGP cannot be underestimated. Every aspect of bike performance depends on how well the the systems monitoring the bikes read the data, interpret it and then modulate the power as it is applied to the road through the rear tire. Despite their performance, the systems which provide that control are kept carefully hidden from the public, and the people behind those systems remain anonymous.

Yamaha has sought to change this, producing a video spotlighting the work of Kazutoshi Seki, the engine control engineer for Valentino Rossi. The two have worked together at Yamaha since 2004, when Rossi first joined the factory, and again since Rossi's return after his two-year hiatus at Ducati. The video provides an insight into the role which Seki plays in helping to set up the bike for Rossi, and puts the passion and commitment the Japanese engineer pours into the sport. Despite being produced by Yamaha's global marketing department, it is a beautifully produced 14-minute portrait of one of the men so crucial to racing at this level. For more background on Seki and Yamaha, see the story behind the video on the Yamaha corporate website.

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this is what makes my day(No i'm not a Rossi fan)but its the Technology that really makes my day to see how it works and to see how they use what they gain from the bike and just maybe I could learn from that. awesome vid. thanks for sharing.

Really a humbling video. We spend so much time trying with excruciating effort to come up with reasons and explanations for why the bikes do well or poorly. Watching this video has been kind of a slap to the face reminding me that there are so many things going on to design, build, test and set up the bike that maybe just maybe sitting half a world away watching the race on TV that we actually know allot less then we think. Wonderful video and bring on the championship and 2014! Looking for Yamaha to take it up a notch.

For sharing it here otherwise I may have missed it.
Great video .... it shows how crucial are electronics nowadays but it gives also a "human" side of it with Kazutoshi Seki passion.

I still want more tech info (yes, I know its too sensitive to share) but this is one of the best m/c videos that I've watched. Seki has a really nice personality and his Japanese character is great too. I was also struck by VR's personality and leadership - and if, after watching the track action, anyone say he's lost it I'll.......disagree!
I wonder if it's now OK to celebrate 3rd? No!
Great PR - they are beating Honda if this is their new 'product range'.

Really well put together and very entertaining. Thanks for sharing this David, I enjoyed watching it!

Thanks for posting this David. Really good to get a very small peak into what actually happens at a race weekend. Really REALLY enjoyed that.

of Casey Stoner. Not that I want to kick open a door here and unleash the hounds of negative comments, but....he has got to be given credit for riding that Ducati beast without the rider aids that that Japanese factory riders have had for sometime. I realize Ducati has electronics and a team of engineers, but I just think that Casey had them turned off for most of the time.....

Interesting, nicely shot and edited, tells a nice story of an obviously intelligent, talented and enthusiastic guy...... but as per basically all MotoGP PR it contains absolutely no technical information.
You'd have thought they could show something a little more than the ECU and the data transfer plug, but no.
Helps span the time till the next, and sadly last, race though.

So that I do not sound like an ingrate (I assure you I am not) thanks David for posting this video. But I don't know if we got something really new from this because most of the visuals (except the one where Valentino Rossi rides to the motor home on a Yamaha scooter and the insides of the motor home and the ladder being closed and pushed inside the slot at the rear of the truck) have been seen by most of us who watch the GP weekends on TV. I understand that not much can be put out in the form of data in public domain because of the sensitivity that is involved in it. So much as I tell myself, that this video has a nice warm feeling and is devoid of the competitive buzz of MotoGP I still do not really understand the point of making it. So what is it about? I am not ungrateful David and other readers, but can someone tell me if I am missing something here? And I ask this in all sincerity. If some one points what I have missed I will be grateful. Thanks in advance.

I have been in the sport for 43 years. I participate, I build, I repair, I race. I watch every aspect of MotoGP I can find. And I found this video fascinating. The story was, in my eye, more about the human input and passion. We see the rider and the crew chief, and a bunch of other faces. Now I know who it is standing over Rossi's bike between practices and pit ins. I have a name, a face, and an understanding of what this man has done to help the rider achieve the best result. It is the combination of Robert Pirsig's two views of quality. The classical view of the machine working at it's absolute best for that moment, and the romantic notion of quality in the passion of the people who who put their souls into the work. It's the passion of a man doing everything he can to contribute to the victory. We generally can only assume this because we don't know the backstory. We now know at least one.

You pretty much nailed it kburns. As a passionate spectator, seeing the race is one thing, but I really love learning more about the people who make all this happen. What motivates them, are they nerdy tech gurus, are they loud mouthed and boisterous... as usual in life, it takes all kinds, there is no stereotype.

In fact, this is why I come to these sites... I want to know more about the sport. It gets tiring sometimes debating every week who was too aggressive, who was not aggressive enough, etc. etc.

This site in particular gives a little glimpse behind the curtain, and lets my mind wander from my daily cubicle prison, and live a little vicariously through them.

Kburns, your take is interesting. I am not sure if I am with you on your take on Robert Pirsig's view on the two kinds of understanding 1) which is romantic and superficial where it only describes what we see and 2) the deep analytical where you go beyond appearances into what makes the appearance work. But this I will say is only incidental to what you and I have to say so it really does not matter. I am fully with you that a passionate fan/follower of racing should go behind behind the scenes and understand every possible component of racing.

Here in India, Star Sports used to have a pre-race build up with Jonathan Green (now full time commentator of WSBK along with Steve Martin) anchoring the show and featuring Fred Merill till his death and later Clive James McNeil. McNeil used to share a lot of technical stuff about how disc valved Aprilias were doing better than the reed valved Yamahas when Tetsuya Harada was being beaten consistently by Max Biaggi on the Aprilia and also discussions were centred around how Honda was generating more power in the 500cc motorcycle because of a single crank shaft compared to the twin crank shaft set up of the Yamahas. Today all that is gone. No build up, no technicalities discussed, we just start with the race. There was one commentator whose second name was Nichols (cannot remember the first name - was it Richard?) who used commentating as an opportunity to talk of why Michelin tyres were offering a greater advantage over Dunlop in the premier category and also about screamer and big bang engines and how they laid down power.

Today, with no offence to Nick Harris and Gavin Emmett, commentary is only about homilies and platitudes that are mouthed week after week and one doesn't get to know anything about technicalities. In that context, when I saw the video, I was a little disappointed that it added nothing really substantial to my understanding of racing. But you may have a point, we are able to put names and faces to processes which otherwise will be just processes. But I still bemoan the fact that racing would have been much better to watch if there were pre-race shows that discussed even motorcycle fairing and their effect on aerodynamics, configurations of engines etc.

The whole racing thing is now dumbed down. I appreciate what David is doing with this site. I return here on a daily basis to see the technical inputs that he brings through his articles. What I was trying to say with my first post was that we get to know more technicalities from his writing than from the video. But you have a point and that is well taken.

I'm on the fence about the electronics. There is no doubt that TC is needed, trying to manhandle a 260 BHP machine on a contact patch the size of a credit card would be almost impossible to do so without it. I guess my problem comes in with the corner by corner manipulation of the machine.

In days past (and to an extent still today), sacrifices were made in certain sections of the track to gain a benefit on another part of the track. With the corner by corner programming, those sacrifices become less and less, which I feel is a good part of the problem with the processional racing. Giving the riders less room for error, and with the ability for the top guys to run perfect laps constantly on the edge, leads to the dilemma we are at today.

I love the prototype concept, I love the unobtanium and I enjoy watching the riders doing what I can only dream of.

I agree Chandra. We have Neil Spalding on Eurosport here in Europe and I value his comments and clarifications more than any other current commentator. Steve Parrish has some good insight on BBC, but is a bit too basic - I thought he was going to repeat Brundle's efforts in F1 but once he left Parrish stopped (he seems to prefer lightweight banter to serious commentary). I would greatly enjoy it if we had more serious output and, perhaps, some secondary teams could generate TV exposure for themselves and their riders etc by opening-up to TV and other media (such as David!). I vaguely recall David commenting that Dorna block this sort of initiative, but if it was done outside of the races at their workshops or a car park (!) away from the circuit/Dorna's stranglehold(travel etc costs for the media Co.'s will be a factor here, I know). Or perhaps Dorna could just allow it.......


I read your site mainly through an Android tablet.

I read this story a couple of times but could see no video. There was the highlighted link to the 'Stroy behind the video' linking to the corporate Yamaha website but the actual video was absent.

Is this due to my choice of Android device- I checked my tablet and a friends phone and neither managed to show the video neither did they show a space for the video to be displayed nor a link.

Switching to my laptop clarified this as an Android issue but I wonder if there is anything that can be addressed from MotoMatters position?

I may have waited to long for many readers to read this comment and would be happy to repeat this post in a newer story, should one appear. I suspect it may be useful as it is possible it is the devices I have tried or, indeed, my own ineptitude.

Thank you.


Good point. I think it depends on which browser you are using on Android. I have just embedded a Youtube video using the Youtube embed code (which uses an external iFrame). I suspect that is the issue here. I have no idea how to fix this easily, but I shall add link to the Youtube video directly in future.

Video on Youtube is here.

For (mild) interest, I use Opera but experienced the same problem with Dolphin and Boat. I guess all are 'guilty' of not being Chrome or Firefox.

Posting the link, essentially, solves the issue.

Thanks again.

Rossi's new crew chief then?
With Burgess off to spend time at home, mess around with his cars, and, hopefully, write a book in 2014 was this release telling us something else too?