Driving report Yamaha YZR 250
Brother light foot
Yamaha’s world champion bike doesn’t have the most power, but the best chassis ?? easy and problem-free to conduct.
Yamaha has had a hell of a long dry spell in the 250cc Road Grand Prix. After the Tetsuya Harada World Championship in 1993, the brand with the crossed tuning forks first had to leave the field to the superior competition from Aprilia and Honda.
The strong Yamaha performance in the Millennium season amazed many Grand Prix observers. Because it’s an open secret that the factory machines with the 90-degree V-engine are still missing around four to five hp compared to Aprilia and Honda. “But it wasn’t our goal at all to tease out as much top performance as possible from the two-cylinder. We have set other priorities, «replies Ichirou Yoda, Yamaha’s engineer in charge of the Grand Prix two-stroke engines, when asked about the key to success.
So what are the advantages of the world champion machine? MOTORRAD tester Markus Barth was able to find out during an exclusive test drive in Jerez in southern Spain. He completed twelve laps, about half a Grand Prix distance, with the YZR 250. And at the end was full of praise: »You normally have to fight with a racing motorcycle. But the Yamaha drives without any problems, almost like on rails. You can direct them exactly where you want to the centimeter. Neither when braking hard or when accelerating, there is not much restlessness in the chassis. «No comparison to the standard Yamaha, which Barth drove as a wild card driver in several World Championship races in 1999.
The engine of the factory racer pushes off vigorously from 9000 tours and has reached its limit at around 13,500 revolutions – 98 hp, according to the official information, are available at this speed. The competition from Aprilia (with rotary valve control) and Honda (such as Yamaha with membrane inlet) can add a few coals.
Markus Barth’s driving impressions confirm the statements of engineer Yoda, who emphasizes the power of the engine in the lower and middle speed range as well as the good handling of the chassis on the YZR: “That,” says Yoda, “is the one in Grand Prix racing today best compromise. «In racing practice, the Yamaha concept means: Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano can brake longer into the corners and accelerate again earlier than the competition. A plus that quickly adds up to a decisive advantage on modern racing circuits with many corners and short straights – such as at the Sachsenring, where Jacque celebrated one of three victories this season.
So Yamaha compensated for the lack of top performance without any major problems. Live observers like Aprilia driver Ralf Waldmann swear stone and leg that they could not gain an inch against Jacque and Nakano when accelerating out of the corners.
In addition, the good-natured YZR 250 chassis enables an enormous range of lines to be selected. The works drivers drive through the corners on very different paths: Nakano takes a wider radius, Jacque chooses the closer line and usually comes out one idea faster from the corners.
For the suspension elements for the 250, Yamaha does not use the products of the group’s own company Öhlins, but relies on Kayaba. “Öhlins is heavily involved in the 500cc class, Kayaba, on the other hand, can concentrate entirely on our 250cc machine,” says Yoda, explaining this step.
Jacque and Nakano usually set up their machines identically and prefer a set-up that offers them good grip on the front wheel. The Yamaha and Kayaba technicians can influence the balance of the chassis not only by adjusting the various chassis elements, but also by adjusting the position of the engine. Thanks to a multi-adjustable mount, the engine can be quickly moved up to five millimeters in all directions in the frame as required.
Yamaha not only worked hard on the set-up of the motorcycle for this season, some modifications were also made to the V2 unit itself. In order to increase the number of revolutions somewhat, the intake and overflow ducts and the combustion chambers were revised and a larger airbox was designed. Computer-controlled knock sensors monitor the combustion and increase the reliability of the twin in racing.
Despite the meticulous preparation, zero numbers cannot be ruled out. Nakano’s spectacular fall over Tohru Ukawa’s Honda in Estoril or Jacques’ unfortunate appearance in Rio, where he fell off his motorcycle twice during the race, cost the Yamaha stars important points in the final sprint. The Frenchman and his Japanese colleague attack in the 500 World Cup next year. Yamaha delegates the 250cc project to a Malaysian team with riders Shahrol Yuzy and Naoki Matsudo. Whether the success story continues or a new dry spell begins?
Yamaha YZR 250MotorWater-cooled two-cylinder two-stroke 90-degree V-engine, membrane inlet, Yamaha power valve outlet control, bore x stroke 54 x 54 mm, displacement 249 cm3, rated output 98 hp at 13,500 rpm, electronic ignition, multiple discs – Dry clutch, six-speed gearbox Chassis Bridge frame made of aluminum profiles, Kayaba upside-down fork, slide tube diameter 42 mm, spring travel 110 mm, two-arm swing arm, Kayaba strut with deflection levers, spring travel 45 mm, carbon double disc brake system at the front, 0 270 mm, radially screwed Nissin four-piston Brake calipers, steel single disc brake at the rear, 0 190 mm, Nissin two-piston brake caliper, Dunlop Slicks 120-60 / 17 front and 165-55 / 17 rear, tank capacity 23 liters, weight without fuel 96 kg
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