Set-up report Jerez Round 3

Setup

Round: 3 
Date: May 9-11
Circuit: Jerez Circuit
Country: Spain
Track length: 4423 m
Opened: 1985
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 42.193 (Valentino Rossi, 2002 - MotoGP)
MotoGP lap record: 1' 42.920 (Valentino Rossi, 2002)
Last year MotoGP winner: Valentino Rossi
GP250 lap record: 1' 44.444 (Daijiro Kato, 2001)
Last year GP250 winner: Alfonso Nieto
Circuit tel: +34 956 151100
Circuit web site: http://www.circuitodejerez.com

2002 MotoGP race summary
For the second consecutive year Norick Abe left the Jerez MotoGP World Championship round as the top-scoring Yamaha rider. In 2001 it was a second place result the Japanese had produced; while in 2002, during the third round of the title chase it was sixth. For Carlos Checa (Yamaha) his home MotoGP ended on a low when his YZR-M1 was effected by electrical gremlins, which brought a premature end to his race only a few corners from the flag. Up until that point the Spaniard was sixth, in a two-way battle with Abe.

His Yamaha teammate Max Biaggi managed to produce a strong start to the 27-lap race, and was challenging for fourth place by the second lap when he was flagged for a jump-start. Unaware of the signal to pit for the stop-and-go penalty Biaggi was black flagged three laps later. It was the first of two jumps starts for Yamaha; the second board displaying the number 19 of Olivier Jacque a few laps further into the race. Ironically both riders started the race along side one another on the grid. The Frenchman came in for the ten-second stop-and-go penalty – returning to the fray in 17th place before eventually finishing 11th.

Up front it became a Honda affair with Tohru Ukawa initially setting the pace after his four-stroke teammate Valentino Rossi received a shunt from Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) that pushed him back to sixth. But the defending champion wasn’t deterred and carved through the field to eventually take his second win of the season. Daijiro Kato (Honda) put in his best MotoGP performance to take the runner-up slot, while Ukawa eventually settled for third after a magnificent scrap with fourth placed Loris Capirossi (Honda).

YZR-M1 Set-up Report
After an intense opening two rounds the 2003 MotoGP World Championship moves to Jerez, Spain, for the first of ten rounds to be held in Europe. A circuit that pulls in the largest crowd by far during the 16 round championship, over 200,000 last year during the three day event, Jerez has a reputation for some hard and close racing. It’s a result of the undulating 4423m layout, numerous hard braking areas and countless camber changes; making chassis balance the primary concern – especially during heavy braking. For this reason it’s necessary to maintain stability over the countless bumps that infest the entry into almost every turn, while also providing front-end feel to inspire confidence to really attack the track.

The front forks will need to deal with the high braking loads yet they must also offer enough movement while almost fully compressed to ensure that it is the suspension that absorbs these bumps rather than the front tyre. Increasing the spring rate will prevent the front of the motorcycle from diving too quickly under heavy deceleration – a result of the weight transferring forward – while the fork compression damping will be set to allow enough high-speed movement to deal with the repetitive bumps.

Fork rebound on the other hand is dialed in to slow the return of the forks to their full length. This will help prevent understeer as the rider makes the transition from brakes to throttle and the weight transfers to the rear of the motorcycle. These steps, along with reducing the rear ride-height, will ensure the back wheel stays planted on the tarmac, in turn improving braking stability.

With a full year of development Yamaha’s 2003 Deltabox frame now supports this desire for braking stability with a more neutral geometry and an improved engine braking package. This in turn increases rider confidence to attack the corners harder, while still offering the ability to flick the bike in and carry the high corner speeds necessary to achieve a fast lap.

The rear spring rate will be set slightly firmer to prevent the bike squatting under power through the high speed corners and the resulting cornering forces, while overall feel will be ensured with less compression damping – aimed at helping riders gain the best drive off the positive cambered turns.

Yamaha riders Marco Melandri (Fortuna Yamaha Team) – who will be making his return to the fray after missing the opening two rounds due to the leg injuries he suffered in Suzuka – and Olivier Jacque (Gauloises Yamaha Team) will also benefit from the more aggressive fairing package first used by Alex Barros (Gauloises Yamaha Team) and Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team) during the Suzuka MotoGP. The new fairing offers a better aerodynamic package that has had a positive effect on not only the top speed, but the M1’s handling characteristics too.

Meanwhile the inline-four, four-stroke engine will be tuned to offer strong midrange throttle response, to get off the high speed turns efficiently, along with increased top-end to ensure a completive top speed. To help with the latter Yamaha has opted to continue with a modified version of the extended airbox intake first sampled in Welkom two weeks earlier, which increases airbox pressure markedly.