martes, 23 de junio de 2015


MotoGP is the queen category of the Motorcycling World Speed Championship, the one arousing the greatest levels of passion, thrill and interest among fans and a competition which since sixties has yielded as renowned pilots as Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene, Jenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Michael Doohan, Alex Crivillé, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner and others during the 500 cc cylinder capacity times with two or four stroke engines, until reaching the year 2000, in which new regulations enabled the brands to take part with 500 cc two stroke engines or 990 cc four stroke powerplants, and after a short period of five years between 2007 and 2012 when the maximum displacement was reduced to 800 cc, the current MotoGP 1000 cc was established in 2012.

Valentino Rossi.

One of the most representative moments during MotoGP races: Valentino Rossi while cornering at maximum feasible speed, bending his exceedingly powerful 1000 cc and 245 hp Yamaha YZR-M1 to counteract the centrifugal force.

But if the highest category of the Motorcycling World Championship had already been raised to amazing peaks by the aforementioned extraordinary top-notch pilots who competed with 500 cc motorcycles, in the year 2000 took place the emergence of an extraordinary pilot who was going to become a milestone in the History of Motorcycling: VALENTINO ROSSI, who three years after winning the 125 cc World Championship in 1997 with an Aprilia RS 125 and two after proclaiming winner of the 250 cc World Championship with an Aprilia RSW250, started in 2000 his professional career in the 500 cc category with a two stroke Honda NSR500, being runner-up (and obtaining his first victory in MotoGP category during the historical British GP Donnington 2000 feat on wet circuit, beating Kenny Roberts Jr and Jeremy McWilliams in a tremendous race) and subsequently winning his first 500 cc World Championship in 2001.

Instant in which Valentino Rossi has just come off a turn and is head down behind the bubble opening the throttle to the utmost as soon as possible without flying out of the track and striving after avoiding any jolt of the motorcycle in its back area.

In addition, there was a synchronic far-reaching fact: the formidable blossoming of Valentino Rossi in the most important competition of speed motorcycling greatly coincided with the debut in 2002 of the new 990 cc MotoGP motorcycles, signing up for the Honda Repsol HRC Team, piloting a DOHC 4 Valve, V-5 Honda RC211V, the first four-stroke model in the World Speed Championship, whose maximum power was 240 hp. reached a top speed of more than 340 km/h and with which he won his second MotoGP World Championship, with an advantage of nothing less than 150 points over Max Biaggi.

Valentino Rossi driving through the course of a bend with his indescribable mastery. It can be seen in the image how the back wheel of the MotoGP bike features more than twice width than the forward one, since it is the driving wheel which has to convey the huge power of the motorcycle on the tarmac, and if it were narrower, the rubber would melt, because it would have less tyre track, because this must be suitable to the quantity of torque and power that the driving wheel is able to transmit.

Valentino Rossi´s exceptional qualities as a pilot, his remarkable charisma both inside and outside the circuits, his intelligence and grasp during races, his gift as a consummate strategist able to read the races circumstances with utter accuracy, his uncommon ability to choose the most suitable instants to attack or positioning awaiting for his moment, his deep study and knowledge of his opponents, his all-out commitment throughout every race fighting tooth and nail on the tarmac and other many sides, turned him quickly into an icon of speed motorcycling and particularly into an exceedingly admired and beloved person for the enthusiasts of motorbike competitions all over the world.

The Doctor at full speed. MotoGP bikes reach an amazingly high figure of rpm, for power is the product of torque x revolutions per minute and it is necessary to play with both factors to get maximum power. On one hand, the torque must be maximized, but such a torque mostly depends on the cylinder capacity, which to all intents and purposes is tantamount to the engine size. A 1 litre engine of a motorcycle sports half the size of a 2 litre engine of a car, but this one delivers roughly 115 hp and only reaches around 6,000 rpm, while Valentino Rossi´s Yamaha YZR-M1, though boasts less displacement and lower torque than a car 2 litre engine, it finally generates a far superior power, thanks to the product of his smaller torque x its much higher and remarkable figure of approximately 17,800 rpm rendered by its atmospheric powerplant.

The 2003-2004 season meant Valentino Rossi´s international recognition within MotoGP, on winning nine races and attaining his third in a row world title in the top category, getting 357 points and beating Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi, whom he respectively surpassed through an advantage of 80 and 129 points.

And the arrival of the 2004-2005 season was to be pivotal in the beginning of Valentino Rossi´s most glorious period in MotoGP, when he signed up for Yamaha and intensively devoted to do a number of tests with a Yamaha YZR-M1 in early 2004, keeping an ongoing dialogue with mechanics and technicians, since he pined after a tailor made for his piloting style motorcycle  featuring an exceedingly powerful engine simultaneously being very reliable, excelling at working smoothness and that he could utterly control both in the full speed straightforward stretches and the bends, so he fought tooth and nail throughout some months until finding the powerplant he needed.

Valentino Rossi´s piloting style has always been characteristic for his smoothness and utter control of the bike even under the most extreme contexts. In addition, Il Dottore is an accomplished strategist able to analyze in tenths of seconds the specific stages of every competition and make the best possible use of them, by virtue of his great experience gleaned throughout years battling at the highest level and his natural flair and intuition for MotoGP races, being first and foremost a Sundays pilot, whose performance reaches its greatest heights during the MotoGP Grand Prix races themselves. in which he has written golden pages of Motorcycling History, making the fans live MAGICAL MOMENTS.

From then on, the symbiosis between Valentino Rossi and his Yamaha YZR-M1 with a liquid-cooled 1000 cc and 245 hp engine sporting in-line 4-cylinder, 4-stroke with 16-valve DOHC crossplane crankshaft (with pistons located at equal intervals of rotation of 90º on it) was perfect, to such an extent that he won on April 18, 2004 the first race in which he took part with this motorcycle in the Phakisa Freeway Circuit at Welcom (South Africa), after a sensational duel with Max Biaggi from start to finish and plenty of mutual overtakes.

Following it, there were unforgettable instants which have remained indelible in the collective memory of the enthusiasts of motorcycling, when an apparently thrilled Valentino Rossi hugged his Yamaha amidst of crying and kissed it, without forgetting a very significant fact: it was the first time that a pilot won two consecutive races with motorbikes of different brands.

Valentino Rossi on his Yamaha YZR-M1 has just overtaken Dani Pedrosa on his Honda RC213V. These are instants in which the excitement and passion lived by the motorcycling enthusiasts are difficult to define with words, because the huge speed of the actions and the noise produced by the tremendously powerful 1000 cc and more than 240 hp boasted by these beutiful machines set up an unutterable binomial.

Since then, Valentino Rossi became the undisputed King of MotoGP, getting four World MotoGP championships with Yamaha (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009) which along his three MotoGP championships achieved with Honda in 2001, 2002 and 2003 make up a total of seven World MotoGP championships won by Valentino Rossi hitherto, so he is with difference the most laureated champion in this queen category, the most influential and the most decisive man in the development of this competition since its format change in 2002 and the progressive increase in capacity of the category up to the 1000 cc.

And worthy of particular mention is the fairly advanced mechanics featured by the 1000 cc MotoGP bikes, which are regarding this side the state of the art within the scope of worldwide motorcycling, with metallic components manufactured with the best available materials and an incredible accuracy of mechanizing, along with exhaust pipes designs that can offer radical differences according to the layout of the engine and the ideas of its creators, always with the goal of optimizing the powerplant performance.

Valentino Rossi´s Yamaha YZR-M1 sports a weight of 158 kg, an Aluminum Delta Box frame, a 1000 cc 245 hp liquid cooled inline four-cylinder with crossplane crankshaft engine and a configuration in which each exhaust port is adjacent to the others at the front of the powerplant, Brembo front brake discs manufactured in carbon and Öhlins shock absorbers. 

But even a more stunning accomplishment is that after a period of three years in which he didn´t manage to be among the first three men in the MotoGP ranking during 2011 (7º with Ducati GP11), 2012 (6º with Ducati GP12) and 2013 (4º with Yamaha YZR-M1), Valentino Rossi was able to proclaim runner-up in the 2014 World MotoGP, only beaten by Marc Márquez, and he presently occupies the first position in the 2015 World MotoGP ranking, followed by Jorge Lorenzo at a distance of 1 point.

Although Valentino Rossi´s 1000 cc Yamaha YZR-M1 features a nominal official power of 245 hp, there are reasonable clues suggesting that the extraordinary tune-up labour, experience and know-how of the Yamaha team of mechanics and technicians has made possible that during the current 2015 year this dream machine bike is already approaching to around 250- 255 hp. 

This is highly praiseworthy, because Valentino Rossi is 36 years old and is competing one on one, with high options of victory, against two extraordinary much younger pilots with superior athletic ability who have already been twice World MotoGP winners: Jorge Lorenzo (a real monster of consistency, mental strength and speed) and Marc Márquez (a man featuring an unboundless bravery, also exceedingly fast, and always going full blast),

Valentino Rossi in fierce fight with Marc Márquez. Another of the great allures of the MotoGP races is the chance to watch live fantastic pilots boasting rather different styles. It can be seen in image the remarkable contrast of driving ways between Valentino Rossi (oozing stunning smoothness and elegance at great speed, the full control over the motorcycle even in the most closed curves and a great consistency lap after lap usually without making mistakes, together with a formidable management of the race tempos) and Marc Márquez (a very aggressive pilot, steadfastly looking for his limit, exceedingly fast, with a boundless standard of physical self-commitment, specially within bends which he has managed to take with a 65º angle of inclination, often touching the ground with his knee and arms and taking more risks than anybody else).

MotoGP pilots are the cream of the crop of world motorcycling, men devoting their existence to bikes and constantly jeopardizing their lives searching for the maximum possible speed.

thanks to his huge experience, the preservation of identical eagerness to win, the love and synergy with his Yamaha YZR-M1 with which he has kept the probably most fruitful romance in the whole history of motorcycling ( together with Giacomo Agostini´s 500 cc three cylinder and unique barking MV Agusta during late sixties and early seventies ) and that he is still able to reach tremendously high speeds with full control taking advantage of his wealth of experience.

Another image of Valentino Rossi cornering. It´s very important to underscore that besides Il Dottore´s phenomenal traits as a pilot, the formidable performance of the YamahaYZR-M1 both in the curves and in the straight stretches of the circuits are the fruit of a strenuous effort throughout years fulfilled by the Yamaha MotoGP team of mechanics and technicians and the YMR-M1 project leader Koichi Tsuji, which began in 2002 with the first prototype based on a 500 cc MotoGP chassis sporting a 4 stroke engine and the transition both from carburettor to fuel injection and from the original braking system to the ICS, period which was followed in 2004 by the selection of the engine with four valve cylinder head instead of five, always within the frame of a yearned for steady improvement in three spheres: chassis, optimization of the engine performance and control and the obtention of the best feasible features of handling and agility.

After all, aside from the abundant World MotoGP championships won by Valentino Rossi with this already mythical bike, the Yamaha YZR-M1 has been and keeps on being one of the most interesting models ever from a technological and mechanical standpoint, since the feats achieved by the Yamaha Team with this machine when it comes to gibe birth to the adequate balance between increasing engine power, handling easiness and rideability have been startling, until reaching the present Yamaha YZR-M1 in 2015, which oozes a huge controllable torque character, complemented by the highly efficient Engine Management System (EMS).

Therefore, the lovers of speed motorcycles races, particularly the enthusiasts of MotoGP, are in for a treat, for the presence in the competition of three great champions like Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez (along with other remarkable pilots like Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso, Bradley Smith, etc) has created one of the most interesting and thrilling competitive contexts in the History of MotoGP, and evidence clearly suggests that there might be truly breathtaking instants and circumstances during the next MotoGP races, with the added allure that entails watching in action specially the best three pilots in the queen category, whose pilotage styles are different.

The Yamaha YZR-M1 acceleration ability in a fraction of a second is spectacular and draws maximum stamina from the pilot, above all when getting out of the turns and in the straight stretches where speeds between 330 and 350 km/h are frequently reached, albeit speeds of up to 365 km/h have been attained in some tests.

In this regard, the first-string Akrapovic exhaust pipes have been one of the key factors to be able to get the best possible performance of the 1000 cc and around 250-255 hp engine, with the added benefit of a cutting-edge technology of materials embodied by the Brembo 320 mm carbon front discs with two four-pistons calipers, and the single stainless steel rear disc with twin-piston caliper.

On the other hand, the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP possesses a great versatility from the viewpoint of the myriad of adjustments in electronics, frame and position of the swingarm which is possible to do, and is the evolutive apex of ideas strated by Yamaha with the original 400 cc Morpho from 1989 and the 1000 cc Morpho 2 from 1991, both of them sporting a variable riding position which meant the conceptual genesis of the aluminum twin tube delta box with multiadjustable steering geometry aluminum swingarm of the Yamaha YZR-M1 in 2015.

The accomplishments attained till now by The Doctor throughout his thirteeen years of career in MotoGP are really impressive, holding the record of victories (83) and podiums (159) in the most important category of motorcycling, likewise being the pilot which has achieved more poles (200) and points (5,118) in the History of Motorcycling World Championship.

But in spite of the great successes achieved, Yamaha has never rested on its laurels and it is evidenced by the seamless gearbox of its own it had to design from scratch (before the superiority of Honda and Ducati in this side during 2013 and 2014 both on accelerating and particularly on reducing), firstly with an only fully operative contrivance when increasing gears, so it went on in inferiority in the braking manoeuvers with respect to those two rival brands, after which the Yamaha Team Moto GP got down to work and developed a full seamless gearbox which is flawlessly synergyzing with the continuous improvements made in frame and electronics of the Yamaha YZR-M1, so things have greatly equalized in this aspect regarding Marc Márquez and Jorge Pedrosa´s Hondas RC213V and Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso´s Ducatis GP15.

Besides, his 9 Motorcycling World Championships, seven in MotoGP, one in 125 cc and a further more in 250 cc, are a highest level sporting feat, above all if we bear in mind the circumstances in which they were obtained and his exceedingly brilliant performances in mythical races in which he was the main character.

A professional path as a MotoGP pilot that hasn´t finished yet, since Valentino Rossi goes on fully fit at 36 and currently occupies the first position of the MotoGP 2015 ranking. 

© Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza