until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Yamaha facing more misery and confusion in Austria

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Factory Yamaha MotoGP trio Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi and Fabio Quartararo look set to follow up a tough weekend at the Czech Grand Prix with two more hard races at the Red Bull Ring, if day one of action in Austria is an indicator in their form.

Once again beaten by Franco Morbidelli on the 2019 machine, as they were in last Sunday’s race. The SRT Petronas rider completed Friday in fifth while team-mate Quartararo was 10th on his newer bike, Vinales 11th and Rossi 13th.

In his end of day media briefings Vinales reverted to 2019 form, too, admitting that he didn’t know what was going on and suggesting that the issues carried over from Brno are more than just Yamaha’s usual disadvantage at tracks with long straights where horsepower is key.

“We’re working hard with Michelin because right now we’re completely lost” :: Maverick Vinales

“We’re trying to analyse why we’ve got such a difference in performance from Jerez to Brno and now here,” said Vinales, who had been second in both Jerez races.

“I didn’t have an incredible feeling with the front and a bad feeling with the rear, and it’s very strange.

“It’s totally different from Jerez; it feels like we’re riding a different bike.

Maverick Vinales

“Now we’ve got to work hard and improve the bike, and at the same time try to understand where we are.

“I don’t want to point the blame at the tyres because the others are using the same and are quite fast, so we need to understand how to make them work.

“We’re working hard with Michelin because right now we’re completely lost.

“It’s like it has been in the past when the bike just doesn’t work from one track to the other and we need to learn the lessons of the past and fix it quickly.”

Those problems are being further hindered by Yamaha’s ongoing engine woes.

The team has used almost all of its allocated five engines after only three rounds of the championship, with Vinales, Rossi and Morbidelli all losing one engine each to technical problems.

It seemed that Yamaha got a grasp on the issue at Brno, where it didn’t suffer any further problems.

The issue is rumoured to stem from a faulty sensor rather than an internal problem that would have been difficult to fix with sealed units, but the riders have nonetheless been handed another obstacle in the form of an RPM cap introduced until the problem is solved.

Valentino Rossi, 2020 Austrian Motogp

That was confirmed today by Rossi – although he also conceded that given the issues elsewhere that he too is facing, the horsepower problems are perhaps the least of Yamaha’s woes.

“The top speed for us is always a weak point and has been for a long time,” he said.

“On paper this track is a difficult one for us because of all the long straights, and on all the speed charts we are in a very low position.

“So it looks like our bike has other strong points, but we’re still suffering on speed.”

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