Engine Situation Dicey for Lorenzo
by staff
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

All that added weight? Jorge, you sure you want to give someone a ride? After one engine was destroyed in his Assen crash, Lorenzo can't afford another failure.
image thanks, Tech 3 Yamaha

The streaking Dani Pedrosa still will need a break if he's going to catch Jorge Lorenzo in the MotoGP World Championship with three races remaining this season.

He might get it—in the form of a Yamaha M1 engine.

Lorenzo is running the last of his six engines allowed by the rules per season for prototype bikes in MotoGP. Yamaha mechanics placed four of Lorenzo's five available engines--one engine was destroyed in the gravel during his crash at Asse--in the frame of his M1 last weekend at Motegi, trying to stretch engine life. The Assen crash and resulting engine being destroyed was very costly for Lorenzo.

Lorenzo used four different engines last weekend during the various sessions, as Yamaha was trying to mix and match to stretch more mileage.

Engine No. 6 was not used last weekend, but that piece was bolted into Lorenzo's bike for qualifying, warm-up and the race last month at Aragon. Engine No. 5 is nearly maxed out, as it was raced for the third time this season at Motegi. Engine Nos. 1, 2 and 4 each have raced three times this season. Engine No. 3 detonated at Assen when it ran wide open on its side for a few seconds in the gravel trap after Alvaro Bautista torpedoed Lorenzo.

So Yamaha will face a tricky balancing act trying to bleed possibly three races out of Engine No. 6—one possibly detuned for durability. Memories of Ben Spies' Yamaha detonating in a crop-dusting cloud of white smoke at Indianapolis can't be far from the mind of Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis.

If Yamaha is forced to bolt a seventh engine into Lorenzo's chassis, he must start that race from the pit lane. That could be devastating to his title hopes, especially if the red-hot Pedrosa continues his tear.

Pedrosa raced Engine No. 6 for the first time in his Repsol Honda at Motegi. But Honda's engineers got four races out of Pedrosa's Engine No. 1 and five out of engine No. 4, so durability doesn't appear to be an issue for the RC213V.

Plus Pedrosa's engine No. 5 hasn't been raced yet, only used in lower-mileage practice and qualifying sessions at six races.


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