The Jerez circuit saw, what was perhaps the most anticipated livery launch yesterday, when the factory Yamaha team launched its deep-blue M1 along with teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
The 2013 season promises to be an exciting one, not just for the team, but also for Vale fans, as the nine-time world champion will attempt to challenge the championship and regain his form. But it also throws up many interesting questions regarding the dynamics between the two riders. Lin Jarvis, Managing Director at Yamaha Racing, however said in a press release, that things will be exciting, but not in the way we think. “The situation has changed a lot since 2008, obviously because 2008 Valentino was the established star and Jorge was the newcomer. There was a kind of a different dynamic between the two riders and for us it was unknown what Jorge would do. The difference now is that the roles have to some extent have been reversed because Jorge is the World Champion and Valentino is returning to regain his form and to challenge again. Am I excited? Absolutely! Is it the same? No, I think it will be different this year, but equally exciting,” Jarvis said.
Technically, there haven’t been many changes to the M1, Jarvis said. The only change has been to move from 6 to 5 engines. The big change, however, he said, will be in 2014.
It is obvious that the riders themselves feel that the competition will be very different from what we saw in 2008. In a press release, Vale said, “I changed my perception of Jorge especially in the last two years. I had a lot of troubles but Jorge was always very friendly with me and also when he noticed I was coming back to Yamaha he was very happy, so I think that we can be a good team in the next two seasons.” Lorenzo almost echoed Vale as he said, “Probably our relationship is better than three years ago. Now we are a bit older, more mature, especially me, as I was only 20 when I arrived in MotoGP. We do not have to be friends, as motorcycling racing is not soccer or basketball, but if the relationship is good this is much better for us but also for the team. We will try to stay calm and to push together in the same direction.”
Speaking of his experience with the M1, Vale said, “A child with a candy is exactly my feeling now! Going on the M1 again was a great feeling for me and the first tests were pretty good. We are not yet ready but no so far from being ready for the first race.” He also said, “The M1 is a great bike because it has a perfect balance, is very friendly with the rider, easy to be brought to the limit. For sure we have to work a lot in different areas to be on top, because our competitors improve all the time. I think we need to improve the speed and the stability in acceleration, to exit faster from the corners.”
Lorenzo said, “The engine is probably the weakest point we have now. Little by little we are trying new things that hopefully will allow us to increase our speed and accelerate more when I exit from the corners, which is the area we lose a little compared to our competitors. Anyway, compared to 2011 we are much better.” Lorenzo has decided too, to forgo the #1 on his bike, preferring Rossi-style to go with #99. It perhaps may have as much to do with luck, as with the fact that fans relate to #99 more easily.
The competition will be intense this year. There is much to prove, achieve and fight for. The Yamaha Racing team has its work cut out. There are 17 days to go to the first race of the season. Till then, it is all about testing the bike, pushing it to its limit and getting it ready for 2013.