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The new MotoGP machines

All against Vale

Can Valentino Rossi win races with the Yamaha? It looks damned like it. In the tests in Barcelona and Jerez, he outshone the competition.

Loris Capirossi raced through the light barrier at an unimaginable 347.4 km / h. The new fabulous speed record on the home straight in Barcelona made the Ducati Desmosedici bearish-

lich. The elemental force of the desmodromic V4 engine could of course only be optimally released on the straight
bring the ground. In the final statement of the official
MotoGP pre-season tests at the end of March on the Circuit Catalunya, the little Italian had to be content with sixth square.
Valentino Rossi was ten km / h slower and ranked eighth on the top speed list with a comparatively modest 337.5 km / h. But that didn’t bother the 25-year-old megastar in the least. On his very last flying lap, the world champion roared wildly to the top of the ranking and made the sensation perfect.
While the stunned Honda managers dropped their jaws, the enthusiastic Yamaha mechanics raised their fists and were delighted with the Z4 Roadster, which BMW had advertised for the fastest in training and the Rossi immediately
his crew gave away.
The grim premonitions of the Honda managers began to be confirmed in a cruel way: that the drivers don’t depend on the crowd, and neither does half a dozen good drivers, a talent of the century like Valentino Rossi who had migrated to Yamaha
can replace. The stacked deep and declared that he had
the world title for this year is not yet in sight.
Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that. It is now clear: The new Yamaha YZR-M1 is much better than its reputation. Rossi also proved this in further tests in Jerez, where he also set the fastest time. Since the 2003 season finale, there has been a new, more manageable chassis, in which the engine housing is coupled to the backbone profiles of the frame with forearm-length struts and in which the swing arm is no longer reinforced at the top, but in the lower area, so there is room for the under Seat
to create advanced tank. For the first Rossi tests, Yamaha then brought a new engine with four-valve heads and a "big bang" ignition sequence.
After that, a few tuning tricks were enough and the Yamaha’s bad habit of folding the front wheel in a corner without warning was eliminated. Rossi’s crew extended the wheelbase by 30 millimeters and the vehicle height increased by 13 millimeters. On the rear wheel went
lost some traction, with which Rossi could finally drift to his heart’s content. At the front, however, additional adhesion built up, also because of the new 16.50-inch front tires from Michelin with more contact surface in the lean position. Rossi knows: If the Yamaha technicians can find a few more horsepower in the new engine, which has a good 220 hp and whose speed has been increased by 500 rpm to 16,000 rpm, it can win races.
That Honda for its Repsol works driver Alex
Barros and Nicky Hayden produced more potent engines that also rotate 500 revs higher and equipped all six of the branded drivers with new chassis, the world champion need not be alarmed. »If we continued to ride the old Rossi motorcycles, I could be at the forefront on every route because the data for the set-up are known. But with the new chassis, we’re starting from scratch everywhere, ”explained Honda newcomer Colin Edwards, preparing for a lot of coordination work during the GP practice sessions.
The Suzuki drivers are happier with the progress made on the GSV-R with a V4 engine. The capricious working system to reduce the engine brake was refreshed with new parameters. Now all that’s missing is power: The Suzuki has around 220 hp, Honda and Ducati let the tires smoke with at least 245 hp.
Motor power is also Kawasaki’s problem,
where Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann in Barcelona with comparatively discreet 326.2 and 324.9 km / h over
drive the home straight. The fact that they were able to reduce the previously notorious Kawasaki deficit in lap times to 1.08 and 1.4 seconds is thanks to the new Bridgestone tires and the compact, handy and directionally stable chassis.
How difficult it is to conjure up performance is shown in the Proton project by Kenny Roberts senior. Despite extensive modifications, the five-cylinder engine has failed to overcome the 200 hp hurdle to this day. King Kenny’s second son Kurtis fell badly during his first tests in Valencia and suffered a concussion, which is why he did not play in Barcelona. In addition to a healthy son, the team boss also wants healthy engines and would like to install the new, 235 hp KTM V4.
At AT.prilia performance is not the only problem-
lem, but above all the way in which it unfolds. »Between 12,800 and 13,000 tours comes suddenly
the entire torque. The best way to do this is
Describe the machine as a 1000 two-stroke, ”explains the fearless Irishman Jeremy McWilliams, who is about to
Broken a few ribs on initial tests.
His new team-mate Shane Byrne beat the three-cylinder in Barcelona to 16th place, but many decisive improvements, such as more flywheel mass on the crankshaft, are reserved for a new RS Cube version, which will only make its debut at the Mugello Grand Prix on June 6th.

Yamaha YZR-M1

Magnificent: with one
Yamaha presented in parade in Barcelona
the new bikes and theirs
Pilots. In addition to superstar Valentino Rossi, Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri and
Norick Abe on the M1

Honda RC 211 V

Retrofitted: The Repsol Honda factory drivers Barros and Hayden
drive higher-revving versions of the V5 engine. New chassis for more traction
are also Gibernau,
Edwards, Biaggi, and Tamada are available

Ducati Desmosedici

Nice and fast:
The red V4 racers from Bologna are not on the straight
to keep. New to the 2004 model are
including fairing, exhaust system and rear swing arm

Proton KR V5

The same concept as Honda, but less power: the Proton with a V5 engine has
barely 200 hp ?? despite changes to
Cylinder head, ignition
and injection

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR

Express mate: The handy chassis of the new Kawa was made by Eskil Suter in Switzerland
built. The switch to Bridgestone brought enough grip sweaters. The engine is still missing a few horsepower

Suzuki GSV-R

Newly programmed: The revised control system against the engine brake makes the once unruly Suzuki tame at the corner entrance. There is not enough power when accelerating

Aprilia RS Cube

Angry as ever: The three-cylinder Aprilia unfolds its power like a 1000 two-stroke. In June, a new model of the RS Cube is to be presented at the home Grand Prix in Mugello

Tip tip hurray: Rossi clearly ahead of Gibernau and the rest

For exactly 50 percent of the MOTORRAD readers who bet on the 2004 MotoGP Champion in the Grand Prix Toto, the matter is clear: Valentino Rossi will also be world champion on the Yamaha. Let’s see which driver is actually ahead at the end of the season and which readers
then win the two prizes: a replica of the Agv Rossi helmet each.

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