MotoGP: While others are in turmoil, Yamaha is a sea of tranquility

The factory Yamaha team is running on all cylinders, with Maverick Viñales adapting well to the M1 and Valentino Rossi quietly gaining speed

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Maverick Viñales has obviously had no trouble adapting to the Yamaha M1 in the first two preseason MotoGP tests, and his speed has everyone already picking him as one of the contenders for the title.Photo courtesy of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Compared with the anxiety from the expectations among the Ducati ranks, and the confusion that prevails in Honda, the Yamaha box is a haven of peace. It exudes the sense that everything is evolving in the right direction and without any fuss.

Movistar Yamaha’s "wonder boy" Viñales has adapted immediately to his new team and the bike, setting himself up to be the great protagonist of the 2017 preseason. Since his arrival to Yamaha, there has not been a test in which he was not at the top of the timesheets. And he’s accomplished this with composure and calmness; there’s been no issues or problems that have confounded him, and he seems to be working well with his new Yamaha crew.

Granted, Viñales' relationship with Jorge Lorenzo's former team—including Lorenzo's former long-time crew chief Ramon Forcada—is still in its honeymoon. Regardless, Viñales never stops repeating that although he's been ending up as the fastest rider in the tests, all of it is the result of the work they are doing on basically focusing on preparing himself for everything he will find in the race. "Especially in the phase of the last five or ten laps, which is where I will probably contest the races with Marc, who is very strong there." It's always about Marquez. The two have been rivals since childhood, when they used to race each other on minibikes in Spain.

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While all the media attention has been focused on his new teammate, Valentino Rossi has been quietly refining and honing the 2017 Yamaha M1 to be the weapon he needs for an assault on the title.Photo courtesy of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Meanwhile, on the other side of the box, Valentino Rossi is still working to finish developing the 2017 M1. It may appear externally that the new bike is not very different from the 2016 model, but the new M1 is quite distinct from its predecessor. While last season, Rossi had to adapt the existing bike to Michelin’s characteristics and quirks, this is a motorcycle whose design is based on the French tires.

For example, last season Yamaha had to raise the M1’s ride height in order to position a center of gravity that generated the load changes when braking and accelerating that the Michelins required. This logically has forced Yamaha to design a completely new chassis for 2017; the bike has been lowered again, but maintains the same center of gravity of last year. As for the engine, it apparently now revs quicker and has gained power. All of the development work looks to be on target and going smoothly.

Rossi may not be the fastest rider in the preseason—as usual—but he's there. His experience leads him to work towards the night of the 26th of March, which is when the first race held in Losail, Qatar, will take place. Until then, the quiet remains among the Yamaha ranks.