Deep Shame For Yamaha As They Ask Honda, Ducati, KTM & Suzuki For Permission To Unseal & Fix Engines


An ad campaign featuring two bitter rivals staring each other down. What could go awry? Eddie Lawson and Wayne Gardner and the infamous 1988 ad. The video portion of the ad was shot at Laguna Seca USGP in April of 1988.
An ad campaign featuring two bitter rivals staring each other down. What could go awry? Eddie Lawson and Wayne Gardner and the infamous 1988 ad. The video portion of the ad was shot at Laguna Seca USGP in April of 1988. American Honda

The western term “Shame” doesn’t really exist per se in the Japanese language although “haji” might come close. Why isn’t there a word for shame in Japanese? Probably because to the Japanese the concept of shame is much broader and much, much worse than what constitutes “shame” in the West. Keep in mind we’re only sixty-odd years away from the era when Japan’s loss in WWII was met with mass “Seppuku”–the form of suicide where one basically field gut themselves rather than live with the shame of losing. Even today suicide in Japan is almost common; Japan has the seventh highest number of suicides in the world.

Screwing up in Japan is typically not something taken lightly.

Especially when the screw up is publicly well known.

While widely dismissed as a simple “sensor error” initially, it’s now common knowledge that the affliction inside the Yamaha M1 engine cases is hard metal parts making contact with more and bigger metal parts, dropping valve parts at high revs, which rarely has a good outcome. Ask Wayne Rainey about his 1983 Superbike season sometime if you want the first person on “life with an engine which can drop valves at any moment”.

Yamaha has petitioned the MSMA (Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association) to unseal their engines and fix what ails them. Yamaha will need unanimous support from the other members of the MSMA to do this.

Politically, this is a minefield because obviously the response from the other manufacturers is going to be “We all knew the rules about sealing engines and making sure the sealed engines were up to the task outlined in the rules.” Suzuki will probably let Yamaha slide but the others? Honda, Ducati and KTM are probably going to make this very difficult for Yamaha; and if they do decide to let them fix their engines they are going to want their pound of flesh.

The white elephant in the room is, of course, Valentino Rossi. Is DORNA going to stand still while the most popular rider in MotoGP has to troll around on the slow line on the racetrack? Rossi’s fans have been quite loud in their criticism of Yamaha when the M1 has let him down previously.

 


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