Yamaha has a very long history of inline 4-cylinder 4-stroke engines. A more than typical distribution for the sports bikes from the Iwata manufacturer, which has based its MotoGP prototype on this type of engine right from the very first steps. The very first 4 in line for what at the time was the newly established top class category of the world championship, took its origins from the engine that powered the Yamaha YZF R7 in SBK, a bike that enchanted on the track with only Noriyuki Haga, who also made a key contribution to the development of the first M1.
The first version of that engine didn’t even reach the full displacement of 1000 cc, but according to well-informed sources it stopped below the 900 cc wall. Even the very first example of the M1 was powered by a battery of carburettors, instead of by an electronic injection system. Injectors arrived shortly after, but while the M1 continued to excel in terms of chassis aspects, maximum power remained an Achilles heel of the project.
Biaggi managed to win two races in 2002, only to then switch to Honda under the colours of Team Pons. It was then Valentino Rossi who brought prestige to Yamaha in MotoGP in its golden age between 2004 and 2009, with a tradition then continued with Jorge Lorenzo and his three world titles between 2010 and 2015. Subsequently, the M1 continued to prove to be competitive, but since 2015 only one title has arrived with Fabio Quartararo in 2021 and in 20 years of development it now seems clear that the 4 in line is destined to give way to the V4s, as demonstrated by the rest of the starting grid.
The last card Yamaha must play to try to save its engine is called Luca Marmorini, a former Ferrari and Toyota engineer in Formula 1 and a great engineer, called upon to try and get the M1 engine to make a leap in quality before laying down its arms. But in racing, it always depends on who wins and although Yamaha wants to remain tied to tradition, a change seems inevitable in the medium term.
The engine for the 2023 M1 made an excellent debut at Misano, putting more than a smile on the faces of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli. The Frenchman decided to sign with Yamaha for the next two years as well based on the promises made by Lin Jarvis & Co, i.e. to have a competitive bike on par with the best of the lot, something that has just not happened in this 2022 season.
After the Misano test, however, Valencia and a second opportunity for the Frenchman to test the new engine arrived and the balance was decidedly less positive, with Fabio complaining that he hadn’t seen any substantial steps forward and wiping out in one fell swoop the excellent sensations of Misano. At this point the scenario regarding the future seems very linked to what will happen at Sepang with the first tests of 2023, because then the engines for the season will have to be decided and if Yamaha fails to put together an engine at the same level of their rivals, it would become really…
Read More: MotoGP, Yamaha tempted by the V4 in MotoGP for the M1: “We’ll think about it” 2022-12-28 12:02:13