Yamaha MotoGP project leader Takahiro Sumi is taking the 2020 YZR-M1 in a direction which will enable Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi to fight in a pack instead of relying on getting away at the front to win.
Vinales, and Rossi less often, has more or less only been able to stand on the podium when he has clear air in front to use the corner advantage the M1 has but Sumi says the bike needs to be more versatile.
“Winning a race by escaping at the front, it’s only one way to do so. But if the ideal line is disrupted by the rider in front, the speed cannot be shown,” said Sumi.
“In other words, it’s hard for the riders to fight. That’s where we are still missing. We have to work to regain our strength in the races. We are working on that. Of course, the engine is a big place.
“To beat your rivals on top speed, this is what Yamaha did not have in the past. I think the philosophy of the manufacturer appears in the way you try and get more speed, either just by increasing horsepower or improving the total balance of the package.
“We don’t have an engine to match Ducati. That’s why I adopted the philosophy: ‘Let’s make a bike that is second to none 100 metres either side of each corner’. And instead of modifying the frame, we developed an engine to improve in the corners.
“Because it’s hard to get top-end and mid-range performance at the same time, the 2019 model was aimed at improving the area from cornering to acceleration.”