Yamaha Factory Racing Team

MotoGP – Viñales fastest on day one at Losail test

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Yamaha factory rider Maverick Viñales enjoyed a positive first day’s testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, finishing the session in first place.

Viñales tried various tweaks to the basic setting, gradually improving his feeling on the bike as well as his position, slotting into second place, behind team-mate Valentino Rossi, with more than three and a half hours to go.

He spent the remaining time of the session concentrating on his riding style and setting a consistent pace – he set a 1’55.053s on lap 50 of 64 laps in total, and ended the first day in first place with a 0.051s margin over his closest rival.

He said: “We had no confidence to push in Thailand. Today it looks like we improved in that area. In the beginning I didn’t feel well with the bike, but after trying some set-ups we felt better and I could push the front more, and step-by-step the lap times became lower. We are trying to make the bike the best we can. I started to feel better and better every time I exited pit lane today.

“On the last run I was doing many laps, focusing on my riding style and it looks to be going well. The bike is very consistent and I was able to ride well, but we still need to work on the corner speed, turning and acceleration, so we need to stay focused and keep working. Anyway, in the area that we wanted to improve, we improved – that’s positive.”

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MotoGP – Yamaha factory duo top the timesheets on Day 2 at Sepang

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The Factory Yamaha MotoGP squad enjoyed a positive second day of testing any Sepang,  finishing the second day in first and second place respectively.

Similar to yesterday morning, the MotoGP riders waited for the track to dry before they ventured out just before 12 o’clock local track time.

Viñales had a busy schedule again. His strategy remained the same as for Day 1: put in a lot of laps to work on tyre wear. He initially headed out on the same bike as yesterday to get a feel for the conditions, before he gave the new fairing a try. Throughout the second day of testing the Spaniard noticed improvement in the consistency of his lap times. He put his YZR-M1 to the test during the final stages of the eight-hour session and posted a 1’59.355s on lap 66/68 for top billing, with a 0.035s margin.

Trying to make up for lost time due to the overnight rain, Rossi also made strides in the afternoon. He only needed about half an hours’ time to drop a 1’59.766s, set on lap 12, to take over at the top of the timesheets. Back into the rhythm, he proceeded work on his bike’s setting as well as the tyre wear. He spent a long time in second place on the provisional timesheets, until the pace quickened at the end of the day. The Doctor joined in on the action and briefly went top with a 1’59.390s attempt on lap 38/39, before his teammate pushed him to second place.

Today’s efforts see Viñales and Rossi also hold first and second place respectively in the combined day 1-2 standings, leaving them in a positive mindset to complete the testing schedule tomorrow.

Viñales  said: “The second day went really well. I felt really good with the bike. We’ve been working especially on the electronics, but there’s still work to do. We have a long way to go to set up the electronics correctly, but I’m happy with the steps we’ve made. We tried to work in hot conditions, especially around midday and we’ll follow the same plan tomorrow. We’re trying to improve a lot in hot conditions, to solve the problems we had last year. I think it was a positive day and I’m ready to work some more tomorrow.”

Rossi was equally positive. He said: “I’m happy about the second day because we worked well and finished our programme for today. We tried some big and small details and some things were good and some things were less good. For example, I like the aerodynamics, and I was able to improve my pace and lap times. I think I did my personal best here in Sepang today, because a 1’59.3s is good. It’s very tight, all the top riders are very strong, so that will be interesting. I’m very happy to be there at the front. I like the fairing more than last year’s because I have more protection and – because I’m a bit big and tall – that’s what I need, so that’s good. The ducts – that are not wings – are good because the bike has less wheelie and that gives us more front contact. It looks like we’re also quite fast in the straight and so it was a good day.”

Endurance racing – Yamaha Factory Racing Team writes history with third consecutive Suzuka victory

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The Yamaha Factory Racing Team wrote an incredible page in the endurance racing history after taking their third consecutive win at the 2017 Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours.

It was a double celebration for the manufacturer as the The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team secured the 2016-2017 FIM Endurance World Championship title after a strategic race performance.

The race itself saw lead rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga initially swallowed by the lead pack into Turn One as the race got underway, but the experienced test rider quickly began fighting his way back to the front to sit just behind the #634 bike going into the second lap. Never more than 0.1 or 0.2 seconds behind, the hunt ran on until Lap 16 when the local hero took the lead briefly before hitting heavy traffic with backmarkers and some light rain on parts of the track.The first hour was soon up and Nakasuga returned to the pits to hand the YZF-R1 over to teammate Alex Lowes.

The British rider was quick to get up to pace and was soon leading a highly competitive pack by a little over a second. Hard work saw that build to nearly four seconds before it was time to hand over to the team’s third rider, Michael van der Mark. The Dutchman put his head down and was working hard to maintain the lead built by Lowes when disaster struck for the chasing #634 bike, giving the Yamaha Factory Racing Team a big time gap at the front.

From then on, the trio were never troubled by the competition, keeping up their dominant weekend-long pace and building up to a lap clear of the rest of the pack by the end of the race. Lowes took the honour of the last hour’s ride, slightly calmer than his previous stint that saw him break the race record not once, but twice. First smashing the standing 2:07.943 with a 2:07.402, then later delivering an unbelievable 2:06.932 lap.The factory YZF-R1 crossed the line in first to the delight of the thousands of Japanese race fans present, writing a historic page in the endurance racing book with the second ever consecutive triple race win by one team in the history of the race. Nakasuga added to the honours by becoming the first Japanese rider to ever win the Suzuka 8 Hours three times in a row.

Alex Lowes said: “I’m really happy to win the Suzuka 8 Hours again, it’s a fantastic event. I was a little bit nervous in the last hour; because these two guys did a fantastic job, we had a little bit of a lead which makes you a little bit more nervous because it’s easy to lose your concentration. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team did a fantastic job, I really enjoyed the bike, I enjoyed the experience again and I’m looking forward to coming back next year to do it again!”

The GMT94 Official EWC Team started the eight-hour race from 15th on the grid with Niccolò Canepa lining up for the Le Mans dash to the #94 YZF-R1. The Italian started climbing through the order just 30 minutes into the race despite the less-than-ideal conditions with intermittent rain falling in sections of Suzuka Circuit’s west course.

The Italian then came in for the first pit stop, passing the bike to his veteran teammate David Checa, who kept up the pace set in the first hour.As the hours wound down, the French team were able to reel off consistent laps in the 2’10s as they focused not on winning the race, but on controlling the point difference to their championship title rivals.Third team rider Mike Di Meglio made a strong impression on his Suzuka debut in the Endurance World Championship, bringing the team as high as eighth before a 30-second stop-and-go penalty relegated them back to 11th.

This was still well ahead of their main title rivals, however, and the team carried on with their strategy and focused on maintaining their pace. As evening fell on the track, Checa went out for the final stint, coming in for a brief pit stop before taking the checkered flag and clinching the Endurance World Championship title, the third one to the team’s name.