Yamaha YZR-M1: 2013 vs. 2006

02/13/2013 @ 4:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS


It is hard to believe, but it has been eight years since Valentino Rossi raced a Yamaha in liter capacity in MotoGP. Without even getting into the 800cc era that started in 2007 and ended in 2011, it is safe to say that a lot has changed since Rossi’s 2006 Yamaha YZR-M1 and the still unofficially debuted 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1.

While we already have a pretty good idea what was under the fairings of Rossi’s 2006 M1, since Yamaha Racing made detailed high-resolution pictures of the machine publicly available, what lies beneath the fairings of MotoGP’s current crop of prototypes is a closely guarded secret.

That secret must not have been guarded closely enough though, because the eagle eyes at GPone have gotten a photo of the Jorge Lorenzo’s M1 in the buff, and the Pride of Iwata has some interesting secrets to share with us.

Most notably, the 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1 has an almost triangular frame that envelopes the cylinder head of the YZR-M1 engine. Contrast that to the almost pure twin-spar design that the 2006 model’s frame employs, and you can see a real evolution in the M1’s design philosophy, from arms the reach down to the lower parts of the engine, to the full-on aluminum triangle shape.

Almost a more conservative approach to Ducati’s “frameless” chassis design, the 2013 Yamaha M1 clearly builds a great deal of the chassis’s front end off of the motor, though where the Ducati GP11 had only the small subframes off the engine heads, Yamaha has maintained a more standard perimeter-style frame into the equation.

There is certain M1 a bevy of conjecture about how and why the new M1 chassis functions (be sure to read GPone’s own insightful opinion). Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photos of the 2006 Yamaha YZR-M1:







Source: GPone

  • Westward

    I’m a little surprised that they didn’t switch back to Termignoni pipes… As for the Chassis, maybe that is what Furusawa was eluding to with his talks with Ducati.

    Ducati’s failing point to date is in the chassis, methinks. They need to develop their own and not farm it out to anyone else. However, if they do, Kalex would be a better choice than FTR.

    Nothing wrong with the frame-less approach either, it simply needs to be re-imagined. It’s like they stole the idea from the Britten but got it all wrong…

    The 2013 M1 should be decidedly different in the way it handles than the 2006 M1. I think Rossi is going to only surprise the those who are not semper fidelis. But for those who are, it will be just like the days of classic Rossi…

  • Ed Gray

    The frame looks quite a bit like the “monocoque”(sp?) frame of the original NR500 Honda from 1979 or 80.

  • steve D

    i think they frames look remarkably similar. the engine pickup points 2 and 3 look also to be on the 2006 frame in about the same locations. the 2013 frame also has the downward extended legs to pick up the swingarm pivots. looks the same to me……….

  • steve D

    forgot to add: that black piece on the 2013 looks to be some fairing piece. you can see you can see what looks like the actual silver frame just above the seat rail fwd attach on the far side of the bike.

  • Ed Gray

    steve D you may be onto something there. The way it wraps over the top of the upper rad core is not very frame like. and there is a missing frame attachment point that was on the rear edge of the cylinders of the 2006 version. This could also indicate a different stiffness scheme in the frame.


  • BBQdog

    We looked at these 2006 photo’s before and it seems some sort of black covers are laying over the frame.
    Best seen of the last photo in high res version. Looks like some plastic covers not nicely cut with some sort of knife.

  • Ralph

    Termignoni pipes!?
    It’s just a sticker (Leo Vince, Akrapovic etc.) and a shape be it carbon or Inconel, the ‘muffler’ that is.
    MotoGP runs unmuffled since Ducati entered without mufflers/exhaust pipe.

  • The motop bikes don’t run a silencer/muffler but the exhasut systems are changed and tinkered with to find more power and fine tune engine characteristics… Yamaha does run a small silencer and the Desmo does also thanks to Rossi..

  • This is consistent with a team striving for braking stability (longitudinal stiffness) while also striving for more mechanical grip in the corner/at lean (less chatter/more lateral flex) Note this same approach has been utilized on the swingarms for over a decade and is the same approach we use in our monocoque frames.

    A thinner material (z) cross-section gives more lateral flex while the larger surface area in the vertical plane (x/y) retains the longitudinal (and torsional) integrity.

    The standard twin spar frame is very limited in its ability to handle, uniquely, all the different forces as the deltas are great. This is a step towards a monocoque solution that ultimately is best rendered in (do I dare say)… composite.

  • r60

    2006 chassis = less cornering stability
    2013 chassis = more conering stability

    this is why kawasaki moved from the twin-spar over engine frame design of their 1st – 3rd generation zx-10r to the around the engine sides fixed together design of their 4th generation model

  • noch

    very interesting. especially the explanation by @MotoCzysz . what is meant by the “deltas are great”?

  • steve D

    i enjoy discussing structural design like this! alas, i still don’t think those black pieces are structural – i still think they are just airflow guides. i disagree with motoczysz: if the black pieces were structural, they would add to the section moment of inertia in the lateral direction, not reduce it. the classic multi beam design is much easier to analyze and to “tune” than a monocoque structure, especially one of composite. to often the phrase “composites are better and lighter” becomes a mantra rather than the result of a thorough analysis of the exact design scenario. does a composite sandwich F1 chassistub make sense? you bet! does a composite monocoque structure make sense here? my guess is no….

  • MotoCzysz

    @noch Delta = differential; the loads enacted longitudinally verses laterally.

    I am not debating if this piece is structural or not as I cannot tell from the resolution of the photo.  However if not structural, I would image it would look like all the other fairings/covers on the bike (CF or painted) and not identical to the frame (anodized ally) I would also expect it would be more visibly attached and not so seamlessly integrated.

    None the less, @steve D, adding material may add stiffness but more likely and what I was suggesting is the entire frame has been made out of lighter/more flexible (smaller cross-section) material for more lateral flex and the new section was added to maintain the original longitudinal properties/stiffness.

    The one’s that find the next breakthrough will probably not find such on the path most traveled.