January 19, 2008 Yamaha unveiled its 2008 YZR-M1 MotoGP machine this week in a large event held in conjunction with sponsors Fiat in Turin, Italy. Last year the M1 was one of the slowest machines on the grid and played a major role in Valentino Rossi’s worst season for a decade, prompting Rossi to roundly criticise the machine publicly and Yamaha to test a V4 configuration and pneumatic valves in the hope of closing the horsepower gap to Ducati’s desmodromic valve system. With Honda employing a pneumatic valve system in its 2008 machine, Yamaha will be the only contender relying on traditional valve springs to close its valves this year. Despite this, Yamaha’s frightfully expensive throttle control system (Rossi) shares favouritism for the title with Ducati’s Casey Stoner (both 6/4).
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