It was only right that the rider who has had most direct interest and influence on the development of the M1 MotoGP machine should be one of the first to ride the finished 2007 R1 - containing the DNA of the M1 itself.
Valentino was clearly enthused by the abilities of the newest R-series product, finding it well suited to the fast layout of the Losail circuit in Qatar. "First impressions are great," said Vale. "I think it's a good step from the previous R1. The first difference in the feeling on the track is from the engine. It has a lot more power from the bottom; when you open the throttle the engine is more eager to accelerate. From that point of view it's a lot easier to ride. Also, there is a very different feeling from the chassis. The bike feels a lot smaller, more compact, so there is a gain in agility; it is also more precise at the entry of the corner."
Rossi also sensed the improvements that the adoption of the new YCC-T throttle has brought, especially as it is another offshoot of the MotoGP experience. "This system helps a lot because the connection between the throttle and the engine is a lot closer - and is better," he asserts. "Like this the bike gives more feeling during acceleration and it is easier to open the throttle earlier and go faster. Now, in MotoGP, this aspect is very important because the horsepower is high and the way the engine delivers power is most important thing to make a good lap time. Especially when the tyres start to slide. They have taken these ideas and adapted them for the R1. In acceleration the engine is more closely matched to the throttle, so it is more easy to control the power."
The influence of the two-stage variable inlet YCC-I system is also plainly evident to Rossi, as it plays its part in smoothing out the engine's delivery. "This is a big advantage because I think when a bike has this amount of horsepower normally we need to work a lot with the engine, but on this bike the acceleration remains very easy to use. The power arrives at a very constant curve. This is important for the track but especially for the road, where you ride more slowly, where you can have some bumps and surface changes. So the feeling of the throttle is very important." Rossi even goes as far as to say that the cornering abilities of the R1 are up there in M1 territory. "It is very close to the M1 - it is possible to go through the corners very fast.
The bike is stable in braking and the front gives a good feeling for corner entry, so you can go in very fast, and the position of the bike at maximum angle is comfortable for the rider. You have a lot of feedback from the tyres, from the surface, to understand the limit and the amount of grip of the track. Also the clutch is very important on the MotoGP bike so they have taken the technology from the M1 for this part as well. This aspect is very different from the previous bike, because the slipper clutch needs to be used in a different way. But it never locks the rear tyre and never starts vibrating. So, it is possible to enter the corner much faster." Rossi: "the first impressions are great" Valentino Rossi and Toyishi Nishida ons
Toyishi Nishida - project leader YZF-R1;
The man in charge of the development of the new R1 is project leader Toyishi Nishida, and during the launch of the new machine in Qatar, Insider caught up with him to find out why racing was the driving force behind the new R1's design. All the wide-ranging racetrack influences in the R1's design are a result of a firm philosophy to continue the no-compromise design of the original R-series machines. As Project Leader Toyishi Nishida explains, "My priority was to get a much higher level of riding pleasure, particularly on the racetrack, and also make improvements to the power curve. So the technical mentality was to get much greater feedback from the road and much higher controllability on the exit of the corners. And, of course, to get much higher RPM performance."
Of all the individual advances learned from the MotoGP experience, Nishida put special emphasis on two particular engineering initiatives. "The R1 was inspired by the M1 in the YCC-T system and also the rigidity balance of the new chassis," said Nishida. Going into more specifics of what really makes the R1 the ultimate racetrack machine while maintaining the usability in every possible traffic situation, Nishida explains, "The three main areas were the engine, the chassis and the bodywork."
It was not just about top end power with the engine, even though the original aims of more revs and a higher output were successfully achieved. "Regarding the engine, we focused our improvements on the mid-range torque and making a smoother power delivery right up to high RPM. In terms of the chassis package, rider feel was prioritised to make the riding experience more rewarding and we focused on improving feedback from the road," said Nishida, before confirming that the new R1's bodywork changes are a lot more than a makeover. "In terms of bodywork we focused on achieving much smoother airflow, and more efficient cooling effects," he said, in summation.
YZF-R1 - State Of The Art Race Technology;
In the winter of 1997, a new force arrived in the one-litre sportsbike world, the Yamaha YZF-R1. It was an instant icon; a unique 'no compromise' machine for road riders ready to accept the challenge of the racetrack. A machine, like all other Yamaha R-derivations ever since, that came with racing in its DNA and the spirit of competition living in every component.