Former Yamaha Racing engineering guru Masao Furusawa may have decided not to help former Ducati technical boss Filippo Preziosi smooth the mechanical gremlins of Ducati's GP12 after visiting Bologna last summer, partially out of old-school Japanese loyalty to his former employer.
But that loyalty hasn't prevented Furusawa from shedding revealing shafts of light about the inner workings of Yamaha in a recent interview with an Italian publication. Among the bombshells: Furusawa said Yamaha's racing division didn't want Valentino Rossi to return in 2013, but Rossi's massive commercial value to the team won the internal debate.
In the same interview, Furusawa also predicted Yamaha will suffer in 2013 with Rossi's return since a revival of the psychological war between World Champions Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo is inevitable.
Rossi and Lorenzo's relationship devolved from mutual suspicion to naked hatred from 2008-10, leading to a wall being built between the two riders' work areas in the Yamaha garage.
"I realize it will be good enjoyment for the fans with Valentino and Jorge sharing the same garage again, but it will be a very difficult year for the people who live inside that garage," Furusawa said. "I think (Rossi and Lorenzo) will fight a lot. It will be a good spectacle, but it will also be a big problem for Yamaha. I can't see anyone managing a situation that, in my opinion, will get harder and harder."
Furusawa said internal politics added script lines to the soap opera between Lorenzo and Rossi from 2008-10, mainly due to the shifting affections of Masahiko Nakajima, general manager of motorsport development for Yamaha. That ebb and flow could continue in 2013, especially since Nakajima discovered Lorenzo was negotiating with HRC for a Repsol Honda ride early in 2012, Furusawa said.
"Before Jorge arrived at Yamaha, Nakajima liked Valentino very much," Furusawa said. "Then he began to prefer Jorge, because sometimes it is hard to deal with Valentino. Instead, Jorge was young and easy to deal with.
"With Lorenzo, everything went well at Yamaha until they learned of his negotiations with Honda, back in early 2012. Nakajima was really hurt and changed attitude toward him. He understood that Jorge behaves like the other riders, in the sense that he looks after his interests.
"Valentino's return comes in this atmosphere, and I have no idea what might happen."