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Davide Brivio talks about the situation of the M1 project

Davide Brivio talks about the situation of the M1 project

Davide Brivio talks about the situation of the M1 project

Davide Brivio was appointed Team Director of the Marlboro Yamaha Team in December 2001. Brivio has joined the team at an interesting time as riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa prepare to campaign the new four-stroke YZR-M1 in the inaugural MotoGP World Championship. But things haven't all been going according to plan. At the IRTA tests at Valencia and Estoril last week Yamaha's new bike ended up behind some of their two-stroke adversaries. has spoken exclusively to Brivio at the team's four-day private test at Mugello: After the results of the IRTA test in Spain and Portugal it seems that a lot of the media has been quite critical of Yamaha and the M1?

Davide Brivio: That's certainly true in Italy where I read the sports and motorcycle press. As I said after Estoril, it is true that those tests were not as expected for all of us - the riders, the team and Yamaha's engineers. It was the first time that we had been head to head with some of our competitors for this season and we had expected to be topping the time sheets. However, there are no championship points for being fastest in testing. Our goal is fight for this year's World Championship and we are still two tests and 16 races away from the end of that. Everybody involved in our project is positive and these tests have given us more motivation. We have a great bunch of people in the team and in Yamaha and we all believe in what we are doing and in the M1.

mgp: So what seems to be the main problem?

D.B: What became apparent is that the bike, with the existing chassis, wasn't turning well at Estoril and Valencia. They are tight tracks and the M-1 four-stroke is 15kg heavier than the 500s. We were waiting for a new chassis to come from Japan for the riders but it did not arrive in time. We have to remember that Max and Carlos only tried the M1 on four occasions during last season and not for a full test, but just to give some feedback to the engineers. Their main priority at that stage was still the 500. That changed in November and December when we went to Phillip Island and Sepang for full-on 2002 tests. At those tests both riders could concentrate 100% on their own new bikes and both wanted the same thing, some engine changes plus the chassis changes to help the bike turn better. We have now been testing the new chassis here and it seems to make a big difference. It is basically a change to the balance of the bike. The four-stroke engine characteristics and heavier weight do make this a very different bike to the 500 that provided the base for the original M1 chassis. We will also have new engine parts to try at the next tests at Barcelona and Suzuka and so we expect to be ready and competitive for the first race. We're under no illusions, however. We all know how important Suzuka, Welkom and Jerez will be to get a good start, and we've just got to make sure we give the riders the best possible bike. It's a very long season and we know how hard it is to win a World Championship. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.

mgp: Before the IRTA tests in Europe Checa and Biaggi and the M1 were widely touted as the favourites for the championship in 2002. What's happened?

D.B: We still believe that we can win. It's true that there was a lot expected of the M1 and we had certainly built up our own expectations. Yamaha had a policy to be fairly open about the development of the M1 from an early stage. The company was very much in favour of the switch to four-strokes and started work on the M1 project as soon as the general rules were decided. We made this public from an early stage and, despite never giving out lap times, it became widely known that we had some pretty good test results. With hindsight the test results maybe looked better because of the nature of the circuits. Brno and Sepang, for example, are fast flowing circuits that suit the four-strokes. This clearly showed the potential of the M1 and meant that some of the media considered us favourites. But, of

500cc, 2001

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