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Jarvis: “We must keep winning races”

Jarvis: “We must keep winning races”

Yamaha’s Lin Jarvis chats to about how the factory team reversed their fortunes, Rossi’s hunger and the epic championship battle.

Yamaha Factory Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis chatted to about the current championship battle between his two riders, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and how he thinks the season could play out:

Lin, it must be the dream position to find yourself in, with both of your riders tied on points of the top of the MotoGP™ World Championship standings?
“Sure, we are very fortunate to find ourselves in this situation at this stage. I am very, and we collectively, are extremely happy to be in this situation. Long may it last.”

What’s been the key to turning it around?
“Well, I think that basically these are the benefits we are seeing of something we started in the first half of last season really, as a result of Honda’s domination. Racing is often cyclical by nature because when one gets defeated, you have to dig deeper, you have to find solutions and work extremely well to come to the top again. I think the defeats of last season, the first ten victories of Marquez were pretty brutal and really thats when we obviously started to work hard to improve the bike. That’s been something that we already saw the benefits of in the second half of last season, where we were able to get more points than HRC both with Lorenzo and with Rossi. I think that the fortunate thing is that we were able to continue the evolution of our bike throughout the winter period, we had some good test,and our riders have also stayed in very good shape physically and mentally. After being defeated so definitively last year, we realised that the bike needed to be improved in its weak areas. In particularly in braking, mechanical grip, corner enter and acceleration. We knew the areas we had to work on and our engineers did a very good job in the second half of last season and in particularly the winter. The riders, on the other side, did their part of the job and they really arrived at the beginning of this season in great shape, very fit, very hungry, very lean and very competitive and I think that these are the main two points that have resulted in this situation and of course our competitor faced some difficulties. Marc particularly struggled with the bike in the first half of the season and also Dani struggled with his arm pump injury, which possibly could be related to the nature of the bike. It is quite a handful, it takes a lot of physical effort to ride the Honda, which probably compounded his issues. Due to those issues and problems, Marc was then forced to override the machine to compensate for its shortfalls, and he made three very important mistakes, when he fell three times. Thats the fortunate side of it. Part of it is hard work, responding to the problem on both the engineer and rider side. The other part is the fortune that Honda made some errors in the winter during testing and created a bike that was a bit of a handful for their riders.”

The new M1 definitely seems to play to your riders strengths, Lorenzo at times has almost looked unbeatable…
“I think that this has always been Yamaha’s philosophy in general with our racing bikes and with our production bikes, man and machine in harmony is what it is all about. At the end of the day you can create a machine that is ultimately super powerful, with super high technology, but if the rider doesn't have that feeling, and if doesn't give the feedback to the rider and it’s not manageable, it’s not easy to ride, then the rider cannot perform at his maximum level. This is something Valentino has been very sensitive to over the years as we have worked with him, to develop a bike with a good solid base that he can feel comfortable on. That’s resulted also in Jorge side, as we have seen and know so well, when he is in that particular zone, when he feels completely at one with the machine, he is very, very often close to perfect and almost unbeatable. We have seen that in five races this year where he has lead from start to finish. In the five races he has won this year, he has never not led across the line. So for some of the races, it may not produce the most exciting spectacle, but for the connoisseurs of motorcycle racing to watch him in action is quite special. So here we are, 7 races to go, both riders on equal points, and 8 race wins so far for Yamaha. The target now is basically to just keep doing what we are doing, but we are not making the mistake of thinking Marc Marquez is out of the game. There are a lot of points available still, if Marc can pick up 9 points on the leader at each of the last races then its enough. Therefore we must keep winning races, which I am quite confident we can do. We have several circuits coming up that favour our bikes and riders. So I am quite confident, but you always have to be aware, because in motorsport anything can happen.”

Could the championship battle go all the way to Valencia?
“Yes, I think it definitely could, if we see the way the leadership has swung from basically Vale had an advantage, Jorge closed it down, Vale opened up another advantage, and Jorge’s closed it down. If we look at the last six or seven races, nobody has been able to break away and open up an advantage. So if we look at the next six or seven races, we could find ourselves coming into Valencia in a very similar situation. I certainly hope we don't end up in that position, I am sure the spectators would be happy if we did, but I personally would like it to done one race before Valencia. But I think it’s almost impossible for the championship to be decided before Malaysia.”

Is this the hungriest you have seen Valentino Rossi, as he hunts for that elusive 10th title?
“Yes, I would say so. To see him comeback after effectively five years of defeat, with his last championship win back in 2009, is incredible. To be leading the championship up until the last race, its quite phenomenal for somebody of 36 against these younger riders who has been through a period of difficulty for several years. This season he is riding exceptionally well, eleven podiums, plus the four at the end of last season, so his consistency is excellent. His motivation is huge, his attention to detail is still the same, and for me personally he is riding as good as he ever has in the past. The way he has been able to adapt his style over the years is incredible, there are very few riders, racers, pilots, skiers, any sportsman that are able to make that significant change to adapt themselves to a new style, to a new requirement at the latter stages of their career. I think thats the phenomenal thing and that shows his passion.”

How do you see it unfolding at the British GP?
“You are always hoping for a 1-2! For me I really believe we can get another double podium and one of our riders can win the race. I would say that the circuit is more favourable to Jorge than Valentino, we know that he has been strong there in the past, and had some great battles with Marc. I think Marc will be strong there as well, but if Jorge can replicate the form he had in Brno, I think he can win the race. Double podium for sure, I just pray it wont be raining!”


MotoGP, 2015, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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