Crutchlow: Yamaha MotoGP bike “needs less power” despite rider demands

Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow says the bike “needs less power”, not more as has been requested by the marque’s MotoGP stable, to be more competitive.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Crutchlow is making a one-off MotoGP appearance this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix for Yamaha in order to evaluate a raft of items to aid 2024 development.

Due to the regulations, Crutchlow is not allowed to test the 2024 engine prototype that was brought to the Misano test and which Fabio Quartararo said he “expected much more” from.

Top speed has been a continual complaint from Yamaha riders, but Crutchlow believes more power is not what the M1 needs.

Instead, development must focus on having a smoother power delivery, which he thinks will improve the Yamaha’s lack of rear grip and improve its top speed.

“It’s all down to the engine,” Crutchlow said on Friday after finishing practice 16th.

“We have the riders asking more power and we don’t need more power, we need a smoother engine.

“This is the biggest problem. Let’s say we have 300 horsepower… let’s say all the bikes have 300 horsepower. On the exit of any corner, you don’t use 300 horsepower – you use 200 horsepower.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“If you want more power, you can turn the power up. So, turn the power up and then you don’t exit the corner [well].

“It’s a matter of needing a smooth engine, because the engine is not smooth. These riders are asking for more power and we don’t need more power – we need less power.

“Trust me, I know what the other manufacturers are doing with how many neutral metres they are using from the exit of the corner and we are using a lot more, and the engine is not smooth.

“So, we need to go in this direction. When we go in that direction, like the '19 bike, the '20 bike, you will see the acceleration of the bike because then at the end of the straight it will be faster because it exits the corner a lot faster.

“Now, we are just spinning [out of the corners]. But they asked for this engine. I already tested this engine last year and I said the engine will create a problem.

“And we have the problem. Now they are asking for more power again and it’s not the right direction.

“So, I have to put my case to Yamaha, luckily we have the new engine guy (Luca Marmorini).

“He knows the direction to go in, I believe. The first step was positive in that direction. When you see the riders accelerating away from you in a corner, the first thing a rider feels is ‘we need more power’.

“But it’s not like that, because they are accelerating with more grip and a lot less power because they have the grip and they can put the power to the ground.

“If you fix it with the electronics, then you go into the traction control and then you are slower. So, then you reduce the power and the bike doesn’t go anyway. It needs to come from the engine character.”

Crutchlow added: “All you have to do is look at Marc [Marquez] versus Fabio in all the race [in 2019].

“The Honda struggled to pass the Yamaha on the straight in places like Thailand because Fabio gets such a good exit from the corner, and the bike was maybe 10km/h slower.

“I believe we have enough top power in the moment. We can have more, for sure.

“But we have enough, we just don’t exit the corner in a good way. And I can sit with the laptop and prove everything with you if you need.”

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