Yamaha may be celebrating its first 1-2-3 MotoGP finish since 2014, but mechanical troubles see both premier class teams blazing through its engine allocations.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP and Petronas Yamaha SRT are the only teams to have used more than two engines across the opening rounds, and do not appear to have fixed the issue that saw Franco Morbidelli retire from the last weekend’s race.
Had Morbidelli’s bike stayed intact, Yamaha would have been well-positioned to achieve a perfect 1-2-3-4 finish.
Valentino Rossi suffered a similiar race exit during round one, as the Italian lost acceleration suddenly and was forced to retire.
Spanish rider Maverick Vinales used three engines during the last round in Jerez, one of which was withdrawn after FP3. This means that Vinales’ fourth and fifth engines will need to see him through to the end of the season if the team is to avoid penalty.
Petronas Yamaha SRT riders are also facing the same issues, with both Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli onto their third and fourth engines.
The rules state that Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki are allowed to use five engines per-rider during the 2020 season. If a rider uses a sixth engine, they will have to start the following race from pitlane, five seconds after the green light.
This punishment repeats for each engine used above the rider’s allocation.
Following the season opener, Yamaha sent two engines back to Japan to diagnose the issue, and so both units were officially withdrawn and can not be used again.
It is believed that a sensor issue may be the culprit, meaning that the problem could potentially be remedied without the need to break the engine seals, allowing them to return to action.
The engine that left Morbidelli stranded during round two had only been used in three previous track sessions.
“They are checking what happened. My bike just shut off when I was going on the straight and I had to stop. But we really don’t know at the moment,” Morbidelli said after the incident.
“It came out of the blue. I just felt the engine wasn’t going anymore and I shut the bike because I didn’t know what was going to happen. So it wasn’t a real ‘breakdown’, it was just something wrong.”
Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis recently told BT Sport that the mechanical issue is “cause for concern”.
“Obviously we lost two engines in the first race. We’ve just lost another in the second. So cause for concern, for sure.
“We already have ideas from the engines we sent to Japan, obviously Frankie’s will be shipped tonight or tomorrow. But it’s a cause for concern and that’s all I can say at the moment.”
With Quartararo and Vinales holding a significant lead over injured rider Marc Marquez and factory Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, the race is on for Yamaha to solve the issue before the next round in Brno on August 7-9.
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.