Yamaha goes 'seamless' to take the fight to Honda at Misano

Misano Press Conference
Thursday, 12 September 2013

The GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli got underway today with a packed pre-race press conference featuring Repsol Honda Team’s championship leader Marc Marquez, Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, Repsol Honda’s Team Principal Livio Suppo, as well as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Managing Director Lin Jarvis.

The main talking point for Marquez was whether his injured shoulder from Silverstone has improved: "I feel quite good, nearly 100%. It’s not perfect, the shoulder, but I have good memories at Misano. Every year I ride quite well and it looks like Honda is quite good here. Brno and Silverstone are big circuits with fast corners. This is smaller, but I usually ride quite well on small circuits."

Yet it was Lorenzo who trumped Marquez by announcing the arrival of the seamless transmission, putting them level with the Honda’s gearbox: "It [seamless transmission] will be here for the weekend. We can say that. Tomorrow! After a nice victory at Silverstone, normally Misano is good for me, I have always finished first or second in MotoGP. I like the track and I think we’re in good shape."

Rossi, for whom this is his home-circuit, has good memories of the track: "Yes, this is a special track for me because I grew up here, and the first time I used a real bike on a circuit was here. It’s my home Grand Prix, so it is a special track and I like it. I have had good results in the past, especially with the Yamaha but also with my best result for Ducati last year. We have to improve on the results of the last three races and try to fight with the top three guys.

"We will try the new gearbox from tomorrow and we are so happy. For sure it is important, it is very good for the rider and a big help. Misano is a track on which you use the gearbox a lot, so we hope that will be a good advantage when fighting with the Hondas."

Iannone, who has had an injury-plagued time in his first year in MotoGP™, is pleased with his progression nonetheless: "Yes, many, many [injuries]! But, okay, it’s a very difficult season for me this year. My last injury with the shoulder is a big problem for me, last three races very hard, much pain, but with the Clinica Mobile I have been trying different solutions and last week I worked very hard to try and improve my situation. I am very happy with the development of it and I think it is ready for this weekend, I will try to do my best."

Suppo confirmed not only that the Honda "production racer" is proving competitive in tests, but also agreed that the championship on a whole was heading in the right direction. He also had to rebuff questions regarding a possible return of Casey Stoner: "Sure. We have to find a way to find teams reasonably competitive machines for reasonable prices. It’s not easy because the level of factory machines is very high, but we are trying. Yamaha is doing similar things and it’s good.

"Of course, when you speak about Casey everybody is interested in knowing if he will be back one day, but there is nothing more to it at the moment. He is enjoying it [testing] and for sure for any manufacturer something like this is a dream for testing. We are very, very lucky. For sure, he loves riding the bike because you can’t replicate that. So he is happy to go there testing, no media attention or anything. I think he loved the competition but he just wanted to be in his kind of isolated world, and that is the case with the tests."

Jarvis on the other hand spoke about Yamaha’s plans for next year, and joked that it was rider pressure that brought the seamless transmission in for the race: "Earlier today we announced the renewal with Tech3 for another two years, which is very important with them using the factory-spec bikes. Just now we have come from the Forward Racing press conference; we have a one-year programme to provide them with our solution to the ex CRT class. We will provide them with the package. They are not ready with their riders yet but the project is taking fruition, so that is new and exciting. In addition to that it is our second home race based in Italy – a really busy time to the year. And now we introduce the new gearbox we have been waiting for a while, so it’s a very exciting weekend.

"[The transmission was brought in now] with the pressure from these two! But if it’s ready for Monday, it’s ready for now. We have a deficit to Honda and need to do everything we can to challenge them over these next six races."

The day before, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith, Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, as well as Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli, all participated in a 5km uphill bike ride up Mount Titano to the Old Town of San Marino, supported by four members of their personal team. Starting at Fonte dell’Ovo, it was Pirro who came out on top with his team, starting his home race weekend in the best possible way.

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