PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUGUST 15 – Valentino Rossi confirmed today at the pre-Red Bull Indy Grand Prix press conference that the Yamaha team tested its seamless gearbox during a private test at Brno in the Czech Republic during the summer break. And he likes it.
Thought both World Champion and Rossi were asked about it and both had comments, Rossi was more candid than his Spanish teammate.
“Yes,” Rossi answered while confirming the team’s test of the much talked about part. “We tried the new gearbox in Brno, and the feeling was very, very good.”
So the next big question: Would the team use it this weekend at Indy?
“We like a lot,” Rossi said. “But, you know, is a lot of work to do. I think it’s still not ready. I mean, I don’t know when is possible to use. I hope as soon as possible.”
So what’s the difference between the new and old transmission?
“For me in one lap doesn’t change a lot,” Rossi said. “I mean about the lap time. We try… we try to make some comparison. A lot of people speak about two-tenths for a lap – I think is less than two-tenths. But the big improvement is I think in the 20 or 30 laps because the bike become a lot more easier to ride, more stable, more stable in acceleration, but also more stable in braking, in the next braking. For me, it’s better for the tires, less stress for the tires, and also is very good for the riders because the bike become more easy to bring at the limit and more difficult to make a mistake. So I think it’s something very important for the race distance more than for one lap.”
Continuing to praise the new gearbox, Rossi expressed that both he and Lorenzo were eager to run it during a race weekend. Sooner, rather than later.
“The feeling is fantastic,” Rossi praised. “It’s a great emotion to ride with the gearbox, and acceleration is very good. When we can use, you say? Sincerely, I don’t know. Me and Jorge push a lot for to have as soon as possible because is very good. And now it’s a little bit bad feeling to come back to the normal one because the normal one feels very fast before you try the seamless. But the Japanese say that we have to be quiet, the gearbox is a critical point. We have to be ready 100 percent, but I hope as soon as possible during the season I hope, yeah.”
Would the riders have to make any changes in their styles to adapt to the new gearbox?
“The riding style,” Rossi inquired back? “You can use the gear for ride the bike more than before. I mean that if you need to change the gear, also on the very edge you can do. You don’t have to modify the style, but you can use some tricks for use the maximum gearbox to go faster.”
The question also came up as to whether the seamless gearbox would require a different engine type – outside of the team’s engine allotment. If so, it would definitely delay the implementation of the new transmission.
“Yes, I read this in the newspaper but sincerely, I don’t know,” Rossi responded. “I don’t know if possible to put the gearbox already on this engine or we have to wait for the last engine. Seriously, I don’t know. If we have to wait for the last engine for sure, we speak about the last two or three races, not before.”
Video of Rossi’s off-track excursion on the last day of the test had one of the journalists questioning whether he had encountered an issue with the gearbox.
“No, no, no. It’s just that I was tired and…,” Rossi paused as the conference room filled with laughter. “And I don’t have enough power for to come back in the pit.”