Yamaha MotoGP Project Leader Kazutoshi Seki Talks 2023 Yamaha M1 - "We Will Consider A V4 Engine In the Future"
For years now, the Yamahas are struggling with top speed and acceleration compared to the more powerful engines of Ducati, Honda or even Suzuki. This is set to change for 2023.
Talking to motogp.com, Yamaha project leader Kazutoshi Seki discussed the changes the Japanese manufacturer has made for the 2023 bike.
“We know that the riders want and need more top speed from our bike, sow e have been eager to get the maximum performance from our engine.”
“There are many reasons that our engine was less powerful. The engine durability for example, but also the character of the engine are things to consider. “
“If we only concentrate on maximum power, the engine will be aggressive so we tried to optimize the engine. It is very difficult to find the right balance.”
But, although difficult, the first changes for 2023 seem to have convinced riders and the team. Yamaha brought a full on 2023 bike for the official Misano tests, giving Fabio Quartararo the possibility for direct feedback on the newly developed bike.
Misano #MotoGP test, day 2 11am. Things to note: Marc Marquez moves into the top 10 for the first time, 0.526s from the top. Quartararo, maybe with prototype 2023 M1 engine, has 1.05mph less top speed than the fastest bike. In the race he was 2.2mph down pic.twitter.com/40wHZzk9GH— Mat Oxley (@matoxley) September 7, 2022
Top speed comparisons show significantly improved performance from Yamaha and most importantly, Yamaha superstar Fabio Quartararo is happy with the results.
“The first steps with the 2023 bike were good. They worked a lot on acceleration and top speed so I am pretty happy with what we got so far”, states the current Championship leader.
The World Champion is happy with the results – Image provided by Motorsport Images
However, having solved the lack of power issue, there is still one huge problem, the Japanese manufacturer has to deal with – rideability for all riders.
Obviously, with the RNF Yamaha Team making the change to Aprilia for 2023, there are two riders less to care about, but having a second rider fighting for top positions has to be the overall goal for 2023.
Franco Morbidelli has complained since taking up the seat at the factory team that his riding style does not suit the Yamaha.
Another dissapointing result for Franco Morbidelli at Misano – Image provided by Motorsport Images
For 2023, the Italian would like to change that and knows that this also requires a certain concession from Yamaha. Morbidelli summarizes the Misano tests on the new bike in a nutshell: “The engine feels good and the chassis feels good as well.”
For Kazutoshi Seki, it is clear what the goal for the future must be: “The next step is to adjust the bike so to make all our riders competitive.”
Regarding the possibilities of a further engine upgrade before 2023, the Japanese explains: “There is still room for more potential and to improve out inline-4 concept.”
This brings him to a sensitive topic for Yamaha. After hiring various external engine engineers for Fabio Quartararo’s extension, including some with F1 experience, a switch to the V4 engine concept is on the cards.
For a brand that has been competing with a classic inline-4 concept ever since, this would be a big step. Seki explains:
“If the other engine type [V4] has more benefits we will consider a change in the future. However, I think we are going in the right direction.”