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GP Week : Issue 123
There’s something about a Yamaha. It’s been true over several generations and through several different racing categories. The Yamahas often (even usually) lag behind the opposition in many measurable areas. Yamahas are never the fastest or the most powerful, not the lightest nor the most technically adventurous. But they have a knack of bringing out the best in a rider. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. There surely is a harmony that runs like a chord between the various Yamahas and the various stars who have achieved success on them. Past practitioners include riders as diverse as 250 star Carlos Lavado and four-time champion Eddie Lawson to perhaps the best of them all, Wayne Rainey. People who were on paper outclassed, but who rode the wheels of their bikes to prove the opposite. It was demonstrated once again with crystal clarity at Mugello by Jorge Lorenzo. Jorge is not the most spectacular of riders. Used to be, in his wild 125 and 250 youth. But that’s changed now. Even before moving to the top class in 2009 he had developed a trademark of consistent lap times with a knack of getting faster as the laps counted down. His fastest lap on Sunday – 1’48.402, a new record by more than a second – was his 18th, as he closed on Stoner. But from then on until the last lap, when he could slow down, the list of times is astonishingly consistent. He circulated at between 1’46.6 and 1’48.8 every time. Speedwise his was the fastest Yamaha. But at 327.6 km/h it put him only ninth overall and eight km/h down on the fastest, Barbera’s Ducati. On balance, taking everything into account, it didn’t matter. He and the Yamaha made one another unbeatable. The Yamaha Syndrome 26