One of the few mysterious stories surrounding the usually buttoned-up Yamaha Factory Racing team over the winter was whether the Crossed Tuning Forks were developing a seamless gearbox to match those built by their rivals at Repsol Honda and Ducati.
At first, Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi thought Yamaha engineers were working on a new, seamless gearbox, which would help keep the M1 more stable under acceleration and slice lap times. Then they weren't sure if the new transmission was under development, even though both riders said they wanted it.
Yamaha boss Kouichi Tsuji finally confirmed Friday during the launch of the 2013 M1 that a seamless-shift gearbox is in the works. But no timetable was given for its introduction this or any season.
"Honestly speaking, we are developing," Tsuji said. "For sure, we are at a disadvantage against our competitors about the transmission, but we have a big advantage from both our riders, much better than a seamless gearbox."
Tsuji said he believes a seamless-shift 'box is worth maybe two- to three-tenths of a second per lap at Jerez but that Lorenzo and Rossi's skill each was worth one second per lap.
The manufacturers aren't willing to bring a technology like that transmission to a race until they know it is bulletproof. HRC was very late to the pneumatic valve era in MotoGP but they refused to race with it until it was a known entity.