Yamaha has unveiled the bikes Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will campaign in defence of the team’s MotoGP title this season.
The reveal of its 2016 YZR-M1 challengers in Barcelona comes as MotoGP ushers in fresh technical regulations, common software and welcomes new tyre supplier Michelin.
The Movistar Yamaha team saw Lorenzo and Rossi stage an at times bitter fight before the Spaniard ultimately took the spoils in 2015.
Lin Jarvis, the Yamaha team’s managing director, said he doesn’t expect the relationship between Lorenzo and Rossi to divide the squad.
“There’s no reason to put a wall in the garage,” Jarvis said.
“One of our strengths is the fact that the team work really well together, the riders are individual competitors against themselves but the team of mechanics and engineers all work really well together.
“If we put a barrier between them it will be to the deficit of the team, the riders and the engineers.”
Software and tyre changes present significant challenges to the teams ahead of the season-opener in Qatar from March 18-20.
Yamaha’s group leader, Kouichi Tsuji, said setting up the bike to make the tyre durable and perform at its optimum represents a significant test.
“We always develop the bike to win races,” Tsuji said.
“Now, we work and develop the bike to make the tyre perform as well as possible.
“That means the biggest challenge will be the common software and the tyre, how we can set-up both together to make the tyre perform as much as possible, that’s a new challenge for us.”
Lorenzo, who will stick with his trademark #99 for 2016, says the Michelin performs completely differently to the Bridgestone.
“Well I’ve been lucky that in 2008 I had my first year in MotoGP on the Michelin, I don’t remember so much how the feeling was,” Lorenzo commented.
“But I understand the way of riding these tyres is quite different to riding the Bridgestone.
“You have to anticipate the braking, release the brake a little bit sooner.
“Theoretically it can be a little bit better for me, but until we practice in more tracks and pass more time we won’t know.”
Rossi, who fell just short of his 10th title last season, says switching tyre suppliers means a new set-up direction.
“The Michelin is very different compared to the Bridgestone, especially about setting-up,” Rossi said.
“Like we saw in the past when we came from Michelin to Bridgestone, we modified the setting of the bike a lot.”
MotoGP is preparing for the first test of the year at Sepang on February 1 before heading to Phillip Island for final testing ahead of the season-opener in the Middle East.