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Yamaha Withdraws Request

To Unseal Moto GP Engines

Yamaha has withdrawn its request to

unseal the engines to replace internal

components which they believe caused

issues for Maverick Viñales, Valentino

Rossi, and Franco Morbidelli at Jerez.

Yamaha had made a formal request to

the MSMA, the MotoGP manufacturers’

association, to open the engines and

swap out defective parts.

Initially, the suspicion fell on sensors

inside the exhaust port, but it is now

believed that the problem was caused

by the valves. Yamaha had set out

its reasons to make the change in its

submission to the MSMA.

Under the technical regulations, the

manufacturers are allowed to unseal

the engines to replace parts only if they

can get unanimous permission from the

other MSMA members, and that such a

change does not confer a performance

advantage and is necessary on safety


That is where Yamaha’s case appears

to have fallen down. The other

manufacturers were not convinced by

Yamaha’s explanation, and asked for

more information to be able to make a

decision on approval.

This put Yamaha in a very delicate

situation. They would have liked

to change out the parts, but to get

permission to do so, they would have

had to reveal a level of technical detail

which could have given away too much

information to their rivals.

Instead, Yamaha has decided that they

can manage the rest of the season on

the engines they have.

The fact that the Red Bull Ring was

the toughest track for engines left on

the calendar may have influenced their

decision.After Spielberg, the factories

face the front straight at Barcelona once,

and a double header at Aragon, though

Aragon’s fast back straight is downhill.

Yamaha’s predicament is in part a result

of the dysfunction inside the MSMA. The

manufacturers’ association has long been

unable to agree on anything, with the

disagreement between Ducati and the

other manufacturers at Qatar 2019 over

their use of the rear swingarm spoiler

being the final breach.

With no goodwill between manufacturers,

they are not inclined to give each other

any leeway in situations such as this.

Naturally, this is likely to come back and

bite the other manufacturers in the future.

If another manufacturer suffers a similar

issue to Yamaha in the next few years,

and it is a factory which denied Yamaha’s

request, Yamaha are likely to treat them

in exactly the same way, and deny a

request to unseal engines.

Yamaha must now juggle their remaining

engines for the rest of the season.

Three engines have been withdrawn

for allocation: 1 each for Rossi, Viñales,

and Morbidelli, all three having suffered

issues at Jerez.

The engine in the bike which was

involved in the crash between Franco

Morbidelli and Johann Zarco has

not been withdrawn: the engines are

designed to withstand crashes, but the

extreme temperatures at Jerez may

have put the bikes outside their operating


That leaves Rossi, Viñales, and Morbidelli

with four engines for the remaining ten

races, and Fabio Quartararo with five…

The engine lists to be published by Dorna

on as we type may reveal a little more.

However, the engine lists only track

whether engines ARE used, not whether

they CAN be used.

Only in the next few weeks will we learn

whether Yamaha will use them for the

races, for practice, when there is least to

lose, or leave them crated as a backup

option in case one of their other engines


Interesting times for Moto GP fans!

More BMW News

Tom Sykes will spend a third season with the

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK racing team, signing a

one-year deal with the German outfit this week.

He will be joined in the garage by Michael van der

Mark, who will take his first season on the BMW

S1000RR next year.

The re-signing of Sykes is no surprise, though the

real news here might be the shifting of Michael

van der Mark from the Yamaha squad to the

BMW outfit.

A riding star in the World SBK paddock, Van der

Mark might be the added extra that could make

the BMW World SBK project a real contender in

the World Superbike Championship, though the

Sykes and the S1000RR have made marked

improvement with each outing.

“Tom has been part of our World SBK Team

from the very start and is an important pillar of

this project”, said Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad

Motorsport Director.

“We are pleased to be able to continue along the

common path in 2021, which we embarked upon

with the first tests back in December 2018. This

gives us continuity, which is very important for the

successful development of a project.”

“We have already achieved a lot together, and

the goal is now to definitively close the gap to the

front-runners. Tom’s extensive knowledge of the

BMW S 1000 RR and his input will play a key role

in achieving this.”

Source: BMW Motorrad; Photo: WorldSBK

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