With the MXGP taking a short break before setting up camp in Brazil we thought we would take the opportunity to look at Yamaha’s start to the season…
Yamaha seem to have a plethora of machinery still delivering the goods at decent levels of motocross whether two-strokes or four-strokes. A case in point was the first Grand Prix of the 2014 season when Bike it Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie could and should have comprehensively won the MX2 Grand Prix of Qatar on the carburetted YZ250F.
In the same race Kemea Yamaha’s Petar Petrov set the fourth fastest lap-time on the brand new 2014 fuel-injected YZ250F. Meanwhile over in France David Herbretau claimed the first round of the national junior series (a testing ground for many stars entering the European EMX125 championship) on a Rinaldi YRRD-kitted YZ125 with three of the first eight riders in the classification also relying on the two-stroker.
Anstie’s impact was enormous at Qatar where he steered what was effectively Dean Ferris’s bike that the Australian rode to second position at the Motocross of Nations last summer to two decent starts and was a comfortable distance ahead of Dylan Ferrandis and Jeffrey Herlings in the races when he suffered a mechanical glitch (Moto1) and made a mistake and stalled the bike (Moto2).
The YZ250F – a machine that Team Owner Steve Dixon has developed to help the likes of Zach Osborne, Arnaud Tonus, Michael Leib and Ferris to Grand Prix silverware in the past three years was expected to be resigned to the workshop this season as Yamaha’s completely revised 250 hit European shores. A lack of thorough testing time led to a last minute decision to ship the 2013 YZ to Qatar and Anstie proved that the carburetted engine still has more than enough to do the job.
“I should have had 50 points and a podium, I know I have the speed and the bike to finally prove I can be at the top,” the Englishman, who was the only MX2 rider to attempt and consistently clear the immense quad jump, lamented.
“I’ve been doing GP’s for 25 years now, I am used to the highs and lows, but a bike failure is hard to take,” said Dixon. “We work hard to have the best YZ250F and sometimes things are out of our hands, it all looked good for Max’s second race but again three laps till the end Max he stalled it but the fans on TV thought it had broke again, luckily he was able to get going again but lost a lot of places.”
Dixon also commented that the 2014 version of the bike is ‘extremely promising’ and anticipates the gain of another 4-5bhp once the motorcycle is ready for the Grand Prix gate which could be as early as the Brazilian round at the end of the month or the first European fixture of the year, the Grand Prix of Trentino in Italy in April.
Qatar victor Jeffrey Herlings conceded that Anstie should have bagged the spoils at Losail: “He did a great GP,” the World Champion said. “I barely saw him! I was closing up in that second moto and trying to catch him. His bike is really strong; he has maybe the strongest bike out there. He did a great job but unfortunately DNF-ed. I won and that’s in the books.”