The sixth round of the MotoGP led to two of the Movistar Yamaha M1 engines to fail, an unusual occurrence made even more peculiar by the fact they happened at the same meeting on the same day, however they led to different consequences for their riders.
Double trouble for Yamaha at Mugello
Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo’s engine failed in the warm-up prior to the race. Despite this he was able to go on to win the race dramatically as he used the slipfrom Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) to steal the win from the Spaniard as he managed to cross the line just ahead of him. However for Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi, his engine failed during the race when he was challenging for the lead against his teammate. He was forced to retire from the race as smoke began to bellow out of his M1 in front of his fans at his home GP.
Both Lorenzo and Rossi were present at the pre-race press conference ahead of the seventh round of the 2016 MotoGP season set to take place in front of Lorenzo’s home crowd at the Circuit de Barcelona.
ECU issues caused Yamaha engine failures
Yamaha have revealed what went wrong with both of their engines after they were both “returned to YMC for investigation”. The cause of the failures was said to be an “electronic issue related to the rev limiter which ultimately resulted in valve and piston damage”. Both riders’ engine failures were said to be the same fault and all blame was placed on the electronic control issue; all machines in the MotoGP now run on the same ECU to ensure a fairer race.
The team have now decided to “set the rev limiter using last year’s data” in the same way as they did the previous year with their own ECU, however they declared that they “could not be aware that the software worked in a different way” in order to prevent the failures occuring. As a result of the failures Yamaha have now “withdrawn both engines from the allocation for the season”.
Rossi was said to be running on the “freshest” of the three engines allocated to him and so Yamaha felt “there was no reason to consider replacing it” after Lorenzo’s had failed in the warm-up session before the race; they were unable to discover the issue with Lorenzo’s in such a short timespan before the race.
Accidental over rev ended Rossi’s chances
Yamaha said Rossi’s engine failure was “caused by an accidental over rev in acceleration that occurred jumping over a crest with full throttle at the end of the straight”. They claim to have “learnt from this incident” and have already acted by modifying the rev limiter setting so it will not concern them at Catalunya. The other engines will only be used during practice “until their life cycles are completed” however Yamaha confirmed they will “still have enough engines for the remainder of the season” and that they have “devised a countermeasure” and so they do “not need to intervene with (our) remaining engines that are not sealed”.
Rossi remains in good spirits despite DNF
The engine failure meant that Rossi had to retire from second position in the race much to his disappointment, and that of his teams and the many fans that surrounded the Italian circuit for his home GP. Rossi joked about how “in motorsport when an engine is broken” that is usually comes down to “an electronic issue or a one-dollar part”. Describing Mugello as “particular” because of the “jump at the end of the straight”, he feels that the rev limiter which he said “is not very precise like last year” mixed with the “small jump on the hill” caused the engine to break and that “it’s a shame” however he seems reassured that it will not happen again this season.
Rossi appears to remain optimistic as he discussed that Yamaha have two engines more than they did last year and despite losing some RPM he feels “the performance will be the same”. He mentioned that “the other engines that have already been used have a lot of kilometres and they are okay”. He is describing Mugello as “unlucky” and does not appear to fear a reoccurrence.
Italian missed out on a good battle
He felt that it was “a great shame” as he seemed disappointed that he missed out on “a fantastic race” at the end. What he described as “a very good battle”, he mentioned in the press conference ahead of the seventh round how he “wanted to be there” to make it more interesting with him in the mix against Lorenzo and Marquez. Despite not finishing he remains positive about the Catalunya GP. The Italian said, “I was competitive and I was fast so we have to try the same again” as he is hoping to collect much needed points he missed out on after collecting his second DNF. However he remains confident ahead of Catalunya, claiming that this is one of the best circuits of the season and reminisced about his past visctories here.
Lorenzo discusses championship
During the press conference Lorenzo discussed that the 2016 MotoGP Championship battle is the closest there has been for a long time. He feels, “Marquez is strong, Rossi is strong and Iannone is also there” and he spoke of how he is aware that there is “a lot of riders with a very competitive shape at the moment” including the Team Suzuki Ecstar duo Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro.
He remains focused on the championship and feels he made a “good start” despite collecting a DNF and finishing second twice, as he has won three of the first six rounds. The seventh round at Catalunya is the home GP of the Spaniard. He said, “It’s a track I love and most of my people are coming to this Grand Prix.” Having lived in Barcelona for a long time he “feels at home” and although he is “still savouring his last win in Mugello” he is hoping to “add more points” and to show his potential as he tries to “fight again for the victory”. He has his eyes set on "the 300 points available" in the championship and feels the bike combined with the the tyres and the electronics is "competitive".
Iannone confident ahead of race in Barcelona
With a Spaniard winning in Italy, the Italians are hoping to retaliate and succeed in Spain. Ducati rider Andrea Iannone was also present at the press conference where he spoke of how he likes “this track a lot” and discussed his success here saying, “In the past I won 125(cc) and Moto2 races”. The Italian ‘Maniac’ said, “I think we have the possibility to fight for the top in all the races, this is the priority”.