coffee talk with masao furasawa

i can hear it now. yamaha’s engineering gm, masao furasawa, dressed in drag and talking in a jewpanese-brooklyn accent. i swear it’s the weather… 
 
is it me or does it seem that the teams in the motogp paddock have been unusually candid during the preseason tests? 
 
ducati said they didn’t really change anything while yamaha and honda are looking for a little more power out of their pneumatic valve engines. are the teams trying to psych each other out or is this for realz???
 

furusawa revealed that they picked up 5 hp since last year but they want/need 3-4 more by the jerez test. he also confessed that the use of pneumatic-valves is far from an obvious engineering choice.

“From the theoretical point of view, we don’t need to use pneumatic valves because the rev limit is around 19,000 rpm [achievable with valve-springs].” 

“Basically the engine shape is also still the same and, even though we changed the cylinder head, the centre of gravity location is almost the same as well. Of course some of the internal parts are different, because otherwise we cannot increase the horsepower.”
 
so why did they go with the pneumatic valve system? are they looking to push the rev-limit past 20k or increase reliability?
 
furasawa also adamantly denied development of a “screamer” engine due to the “noise” it generates at high rpm. allegedly the rider can’t feel what the engine is doing with this firing pattern.
 
most of the info about the ’08 honda rc212v has come from former world champ, nicky hayden. according to him, “every nut and bolt is new.” but new isn’t always good. honda is still working the kinks out of their pneumatic engine. in fact, hayden has only ridden this engine publicly once this year at sepang II – day 2.
 
on the flip side, kawasaki and suzuki are staying out of the limelight only exposing their new liveries. not too much technical information has been gathered from these two teams.
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