The 2005-specification Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1s made its public debut in its new livery today, during a press conference attended by team riders Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards and team director Davide Brivio. The reigning World Champion and his new team-mate were the guests of honour at Yamaha's '2005 Motor Sports Press Conference', which took place in Tokyo. Brivio and Senior Management representatives from Yamaha Motor Company joined the two riders on stage to talk about Yamaha's plans for MotoGP in 2005 and beyond.
Rossi, now in his second season with Yamaha, talked about his year so far and his goals for the forthcoming season. "We have done a lot of test runs during the off-season. Things aren't quite 100% yet, but the machine and the engine are already much better than last year. It's nice to see the M1 in its final 2005 livery. I hope I can win the title again this year on this new bike, but winning is never easy! I was very happy to win nine races in last year's Championship and I think that is a good target for this year too. I hope everyone will be cheering for me!"
Rossi's new team-mate Edwards, who recently turned 31, spoke about his return to Yamaha after a seven-year absence. "I was last with Yamaha in the 1998 season in the World Superbike Championship and I am very happy to be back. I saw how good the MotoGP team and machines were last year, so I was excited when I got the offer to come back to the Yamaha side. I am also glad that there will be a US round at Laguna Seca this year for the first time in a while. I hope to have a bit of an advantage there, but I will be giving my best shot in all the races."
Brivio, who enters his fourth season as the Yamaha Factory Team Director, commented on the new bike and the task facing the riders. "We're very pleased with the look and design of the new bike, as well as with its performance so far during testing. This is going to be a very exciting season and a big challenge for both riders. After this we are flying directly to Phillip Island for our fourth test of the year and we hope to continue the good work we've been doing so far."
Senior Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Company Tsuneji Togami, Senior General Manager of Motorcycle Engineering Operations Masao Furusawa and Shigeto Kitagawa, head of the engineering department in charge of developing the 2005 YZR-M1, were three of the Yamaha Motor Company representatives present at today's Japanese event.
Mr. Togami launched the press conference by stressing the importance of Yamaha's race activities for fulfilling Yamaha's corporate mission of "We create Kando - Touching your heart", saying, "Through our motorcycle racing activities we want to stimulate the motorcycle racing scene, to bring motor sports closer to people and to help raise the next generation of people who will lead these sports into the future."
Mr. Kitagawa then highlighted the four key goals of the YZR-M1 development project in 2005 as improving the balance of the machine's handling stability, boosting acceleration performance and top speed, balancing high power with fuel economy, and making the machine more robust in terms of its adaptability to different track conditions.
He also explained the 2005 M1 boasted a more compact engine design to further concentrate the weight around the centre of gravity before describing the progress made with the Delatbox frame, which has been redesigned for improved torsional balance, laterally and longitudinally. The redesigned air intake layout was also introduced as offering improved aerodynamic attributes. "Besides winning a second consecutive rider title," he commented, "We also intend to go for the 2005 manufacturer's title with the new YZR-M1."
Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards now fly directly to Phillip Island, Australia for three days of testing from 9th-11th March, before returning to Europe next week for the first of the two official IRTA tests in Barcelona.