Yamaha’s Seamless MotoGP Transmission Set For Debut

Cycle News Staff | September 12, 2013
  Valentino Rossi will use Yamahas seamless transmission in Misano this weekend.

Photography by Gold & Goose
As they say in racing, when the flag drops the bull*$%stops. Now let’s see if the same holds true with seamless transmissions.

After months of talking about it and testing it, Yamaha is set to debut its seamless transmission tomorrow in the opening practice session at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in an effort to catch the Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in the MotoGP World Championship.

And Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi couldn’t be happier about it. In fact, it was Lorenzo who broke the news in today’s pre-race press conference.

“It will be here for the weekend,” Lorenzo said. “We can say that. Tomorrow.”

After testing the new gearbox in the Yamaha M1 at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic, Rossi said that the seamless transmission likely wouldn’t show a magical improvement in lap times. But he did say that it will help the rider maintain those lap times at the end of the race when the tires are at their worst, etc. And the tight and twisty Misano circuit might be the perfect place for the new tranny.

“We will try the new gearbox from tomorrow and we are so happy,” Rossi said. “For sure it is important and very good for the rider and a big help. For sure here at Misano is a track where you use a lot the gearbox so we hope it can be a good advantage for try to fight with the Hondas.”

Team manager Linn Jarvis said there was no thought of holding the new gearbox back for further development.

“Not really, not with the pressure of these two,” Jarvis said today while pointing at his two riders. “If it’s ready for Monday, it’s ready for this weekend. Obviously, this is very important for us. We have a deficit to Honda in terms of points and we need to use whatever we have to try and challenge them and make the best results we can in the last six races.”

Lorenzo seems to be chomping at the bit to use the new transmission – which Jarvis confirmed fits in the existing engine cases so has no bearing on the use of the team’s engine allotment.

“We try in Brno and to be honest when I tried it I was smiling because it was a nice feeling not to feel this dropping of power for the milliseconds. You don’t feel it on the seamless – it is like a scooter, an automatic bike. The point you feel the most is when you have to shift up with some lean angle… the bike would move and with this gearbox the bike doesn’t move and you save more the tires and are in more in control of the bike.”

For Rossi the race is more than just another MotoGP. The legend grew up about a six-iron from the racetrack.

“Is a special track for me because I grow up here and the first time I use a real bike in a circuit was at Misano,” Rossi said. “So the track for sure change a lot, but it is my home Grand Prix. Is a special track and I like the track and do good results, especially with the Yamaha but also with Ducati last year was the best result and was a great race for me. So we have to try and improve the result over the last three races and try to fight with the top three guys.”

To make the weekend even more special, Rossi will be on hand to witness his half-brother Luca’s Moto3 debut.

“I’m very, very happy for Luca and I can’t wait for the result,” Rossi said. “I know that for him it is very difficult, the first race in the World Championship, first wild card, but is very important. He has to understand to growing up with these experiences when you go on the track with the best guys in the world, you have to learn the way to improve your riding style and try to be improve for the second part of the season.”

For his teammate Lorenzo, it’s a matter of building on his last-lap victory at Silverstone.

“Is a good time because we arrive from a nice victory in Silverstone and also we arrive in Misano, which is normally a good circuit for me – I finish either first or second in MotoGP,” Lorenzo said. “It’s a circuit I like and I think we are in good shape at this moment.

“In Indianapolis I try to win, but it was impossible. At the end of the race I didn’t have the tire to win and also my physical condition was not perfect. At Brno, I was a little bit better in physical condition, but they were better than me at the end. I try in all the races, but in Silverstone I try also all the race and when Marc [Marquez] attacked me I could respond, at least, and fight with him until the last lap. He was injured also after the warm-up so now we have to see how he can be at this track without injured. I feel strong and let’s see what happens with the new bits that we have – if it is better or not – and keep trying.”