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Max Bartolini’s Mission at Yamaha: Bridging the Gap with European Rivals Through Evolution and Innovation

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Technical head Max Bartolini offers a straightforward analysis on improving Yamaha

"I'm in the process of figuring out Yamaha's operations to leverage the remaining strengths"

Max Bartolini's entry into Yamaha this season has been perceived as a critical move for the company to make forward strides once more.

The decline of the leading MotoGP team in the previous year is being tackled, and securing Bartolini as their new technical director was a significant victory.

After two decades at Ducati, Bartolini moved on to tackle a significant role in addressing Yamaha's challenges.

Evolution or Transformation

Bartolini responded to inquiries about whether the Yamaha M1 needs a complete redesign or merely minor adjustments to fix its flaws.

"I'm attempting to grasp Yamaha's operations, aiming to leverage the remaining strengths, which might not be apparent at the moment," he shared with Sky Italia.

"We're subsequently attempting to comprehend the possible actions."

"Obviously, with the engine design continuing to vary, the motorcycle is fundamentally distinct."

"Hence, numerous ideas previously implemented at Ducati prove to be quite challenging to adopt in this context."

"Nonetheless, numerous other aspects are prevalent and capable of being transferred – I refer to the aerodynamic adjustments or the methods employed in electronics, which have the potential for enhancement and upgrading from our current practices."

Bartolini stated, "We've pinpointed the regions where enhancements can be made."

Closing a disparity of approximately 0.7 to 0.8 units requires a significant period and is distributed throughout various sectors.

"We're in the process of creating content, aiming to merge my purely European expertise with Yamaha's contributions."

"The concept involves merging the strengths of both approaches to effectively bridge the divide in a timely manner."

In the world of MotoGP, it's observed that Yamaha and Honda, the two powerhouse brands from Japan, are currently lagging behind their three European counterparts. This includes Aprilia and KTM, brands which, notably, do not share the same legendary status in racing history.

Bartolini mentioned that in certain areas, they might not have fully realized the significance of the innovations introduced by the Europeans, especially Ducati, along with KTM and Aprilia.

"However, this issue has now been recognized, and efforts are being made to invest resources to bridge this discrepancy."

"It's evident that initiating substantial investments in certain sectors a year or a year and a half behind schedule necessitates a period to bridge the disparity. This is entirely expected."

"Aerodynamics enhance the bike's force, essentially elevating its performance threshold," Bartolini elucidated.

For cyclists, maneuvering a bicycle designed for aerodynamics may feel the same or potentially even less comfortable.

From my perspective, the present-day MotoGP motorcycles and the current generation of riders are operating so close to the edge that the advantages gained from effective aerodynamics are significant enough to account for a noticeable improvement in time, measured in tenths of a second.

Measuring them precisely is challenging, but without comparable loads or aerodynamic impacts, it's tough to compensate for the disparity created by aerodynamics in other aspects. Nowadays, aerodynamics are essential.

2027 Rules

Yamaha is working on enhancements for their struggling motorcycle, aware that the landscape may shift in 2027 when new rules are set to be implemented.

Yamaha is allocating resources between adhering to current regulations and planning for upcoming trends.

"Bartolini acknowledged that this is clearly considered."

"We're working towards advancing in line with the upcoming 2027 rule, which, for the most part, closely matches the existing regulation."

"We're focusing our investments on ephemeral items like reducing mechanisms, while also grasping the true principles of aerodynamics to enhance it."

Grasping the principles behind the engine and the chassis is knowledge that can be applied all the way into 2027.

"Funds are allocated towards technological advancements expected to be in use within the next three years."

Yamaha aims to introduce a satellite team into the 2025 racing lineup.

Incorporating an extra pair of cyclists and their bicycles would provide crucial information and accelerate the advancement of their project.

Bartolini stated, "Given the intensity of the championship, despite having the advantages and the capability to let the official riders compete, the reality is they end up competing minimally.

"Primarily, they are human beings who need time to recuperate; it's not feasible to expect them to cycle non-stop. Moreover, accomplishing this task becomes challenging when time is of the essence."

"Having a satellite team is crucial, as it enables broader experimentation across more riders, and also allows riders to benchmark and refine their strategies and areas for enhancement."

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