Yahama has released several chassis photos and details regarding the YZR-M1 GP racer — the machine that Yamaha will campaign in the top class of the GP roadrace series next year. Below are links to a discussion by Yamaha of the development of the machine, and Yamaha’s published technical specifications (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to see these). Despite a report by Cycle News to the contrary, Yamaha does not state that the YZR-M1 is already quicker than its highly-developed, two-stroke 500cc GP machine — at least, as far as lap times are concerned (it does accelerate harder). Yamaha does state that development is going according to plans, however.
Interestingly, the YZR-M1 engine (which displaces “less than 990cc” — 989cc, for all we know) weighs 10 percent less than the R7 engine (749cc) campaigned in the World Superbike series by Yamaha with Noriyuki Haga last year.
Yamaha does indicate that tests have shown that tire life can be managed effectively for race distance, which is a significant goal for Yamaha and other manufacturers developing these GP monsters that easily exceed 200 horsepower. Yamaha also claims to be taking some unique steps towards management of four-stroke engine braking . . . allowing smooth downshifts that do not upset chassis balance entering corners.
One of the PDG files referenced below contains quotes from riders Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa, and John Kocinski — all of whom like the bike (although Biaggi’s comments reflect his lack of four-stroke racing experience).