Yamaha sanctioned because of non-compliant valves on its MotoGP M1
Japanese manufacturer Yamaha receives heavy penalty in MotoGP constructors and teams rankings for using non-compliant valves in first race in Jerez (Spain)… Its drivers – three of whom are still in contention for the title – are not penalized. Explanations.
Yamaha cedes first place in the MotoGP constructors standings to Ducati and also downgrades in the team standings following the sanction of the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) on the eve of the first tests in Valencia (Spain), the penultimate round of the 2020 season.
- MNC special file :
- Spanish GP 2020 :
This decision comes after the discovery of the fraudulent use of non-compliant valves on the 4-cylinder of the YZR-M1 during the opening round in Jerez (Spain), won by Quartararo ahead of Viñales and Dovizioso. Morbidelli for his part finished fifth, while a .
By dismantling the engines – sealed for the entire season – the inspectors discovered that the valves did not correspond exactly to those homologated by the FIM before the start of the championship … Yamaha evokes "an internal error" which is obviously not enough to avoid sanctions.
Yamaha got hold of the valve !
"Yamaha Motor Company did not respect the protocol requiring the unanimous approval of the MSMA (the association of manufacturers in Grand Prix, Editor’s note) to make technical changes", announces the FIM which inflicts 50 penalty points on Yamaha in the constructors’ standings, i.e. double the points scored thanks to Fabio’s victory.
The two Yamaha teams are also penalized: the Factory team loses the 20 points brought back by the second place of Viñales, while the private SRT-Petronas team loses 36 points (the 25 from Fabio and the 11 from Morbidelli). Ducati and Suzuki are the direct beneficiaries: see the new rankings below.
Good news, however: the FIM – magnanimous – does not sanction the three drivers concerned (Rossi is not "thanks" to his engine failure). Quartararo retains its second place in the provisional behind Mir (137 points against 123), while Viñales and Morbidelli also remain in the title race in 3rd and 4th positions (118 and 112 points).
This decision will not fail to fuel the debates insofar as riders and motorcycles are generally penalized together in the event of a proven fraud: it is impossible to determine the part of the additional performance attributable to this non-compliance. Likewise, how do you know if the pilot was or was not aware of his employer’s little "regulatory arrangement"? ?
A problem with valves quickly identified
This valve problem also relates directly to the major mechanical problems encountered by the manufacturer of Iwata at the start of the season: one of Viñales’s engines had been returned to Japan during the first tests of the Spanish GP because of suspicious noises, before that Rossi then Morbidelli suffered an engine failure in Jerez and Andalusia.
- MNC of July 21, 2020 : Rossi and Yamaha broken down at the Spanish GP
Faced with these worrying difficulties, Yamaha immediately requested the Association of Manufacturers and Teams (IRTA) to obtain an exemption allowing it to open the seals and physically intervene on its remaining engines. At the time, already, the manufacturer attributed its problems to the valves of its in-line 4-cylinder…
For lack of sufficient information to justify this request, Yamaha was refused this intervention: the manufacturer then let it be known that the situation was finally under control thanks to a lowering of the maximum engine speed, in order to avoid the panic of the valves.
This decision explains – in part – the sawtooth performance of the Yam ‘drivers, heavily affected by this voluntary restraint in the long straights and on strong raises. Especially since the M1s traditionally suffer from a top speed deficit compared to the powerful Ducati and Honda (KTM and Suzuki are also turning them around now) !
MotoGP manufacturer ranking updated in Valencia
- Ducati: 171
- Suzuki: 163
- Yamaha: 158
- KTM: 143
- Honda: 117
- Aprilia: 36
Updated MotoGP Team Ranking in Valencia
- Team Suzuki Ecstar: 242 points
- Petronas Yamaha SRT: 198
- Ducati Team: 180
- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: 157
- Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP: 156
- Pramac Racing: 128
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