Set-up report Valencia Round 16

Setup

ROUND: 16, VALENCIA GRAND PRIX
November 2, 2003
Circuit: Valencia
Country: Spain
Track length: 4005 m
Opened: 1999
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 33.211 (Max Biaggi, 2002 - MotoGP) 
MotoGP lap record: 1' 33.873 (Alex Barros, 2002)
Last year MotoGP winner: Alex Barros
GP250 lap record: 1' 36.398 (Shinya Nakano, 2000)
Last year GP250 winner: Marco Melandri
Circuit tel: +34 96 2525220
Circuit web site: http://www.circuitvalencia.com

2002 race summary
After setting pole position, expectations for Max Biaggi and the Yamaha YZR-M1 were high at the final round of the 2002 MotoGP World Championship. Yet, despite all efforts, the Italian was unable to continue his pace setting speed and opted to settle for a safe podium result. Biaggi’s third place, however, was easily enough to secure him second overall in the inaugural MotoGP championship.

It was a tough race with only 14 entries making the finish – a war of attrition that began with a start-line incident involving the stalled Carlos Checa (Yamaha) and Jose Luis Cardoso (Yamaha). The race itself was a contest between Brazilian Alex Barros and world champion Valentino Rossi, with the Honda duo playing out a close game for the second half of the race. A mistake under braking from Barros looked to have allowed Rossi past on the last lap, but a brave pass allowed Barros to regain the advantage over the line and claim yet another win. Behind third placed Biaggi, Daijiro Kato (Honda) took fourth.

Set-up report YZR-M1
Valencia offers good camber and an abrasive surface, but it’s slightly undulating layout, stop and go corners, bumps and a tight design have led to many front end loses. For this reason riders will be chasing confidence in this key area, followed by stability under brakes and the agility to deal with a circuit that is more suited to a 250 than a 230ps four-stroke.

As a result Yamaha has opted to use the Valencia Grand Prix as a platform to introduce the latest generation Deltabox chassis, which has been designed to offer improvements in the aforementioned areas. The new chassis package, which will be used by Fortuna Yamaha Team riders Carlo Checa and Norick Abe – the latter filling in for the injured Marco Melandri – is not only a further evolution of the main frame, but it is complimented with an upside-down rear swingarm unit.

The new main frame is based on the recent M1 Deltabox concept but with modifications aimed at centralising the static weight around a concentrated centre of gravity point. In theory this should improve agility and stability during aggressive braking. Meanwhile the chassis flex characteristic of both the main unit and the swingarm now offer improved feel and predictability from both the front and rear of the motorcycle.

Regarding the geometry and suspension set-up, the YZR-M1 will sport a geometry that will see the front lifted slightly, compared to most other circuits, and the rear lowered. Combined with the right front spring rates and preload, all controlled by the rebound, this will allow for improved stability under brakes and a planted front-end.

With good camber, except for the penultimate sweeping turn, the ability to drive the M1 hard off the turns is essential. To ensure this is possible the rear suspension preload will be set to prevent an excessive amount of rear-end squat, while still offering a plush enough ride to provide good, consistent traction. Combined with the characteristics of the new upside-down swingarm and the improved torque curve the initial drive off the final corner should see some impressive top speeds down the main straight.