Aside from driver or rider skill, races are won on engine tuning, fuel mapping and machine setup, and racing motorcycles are no different. For the upcoming motocross race season, Yamaha is introducing the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F MX-GP race machine with the ability to be tuned trackside using a smartphone app.

Called the Yamaha Power Tuner smartphone app and designed for devices using iOS and Android, the YZ450F rider or mechanic can make quick and easy fuel and ignition mapping changes to suit different riding styles, track conditions and changing weather. Connecting wirelessly with the bike via the communication control unit’s onboard Wi-Fi system, the app allows for recording of riding location, conditions, bike settings and other necessary information.

Onboard monitoring of variables such as race settings, maintenance and system diagnostics, engine running time and the such can also be accessed via the app. Aside from the amount of detail given to modify the YZ450F’s engine settings, data can also be shared from the Yamaha Power Tuner app with team mates, mechanics and friends, giving greater insight into the inner workings of the motorcycle.

Other changes made to next year’s YZ450F are an updated cylinder head, piston, cam profiles, cylinder geometry and the such – all designed to deliver more power and controllability. A new aluminium bilateral beam frame has optimised engine mounting to enhance the machine’s balance, while claiming to improve cornering feel and increasing overall rigidity.

The YZ450F’s distinct rearward-slanted cylinder design features a rear-facing exhaust and forward-mounted downdraft intake system. New cam profiles as well as a new crankshaft and a stronger high-compression “box bridge” piston design with DLC-coated (Diamond-like-Carbon) pin are also new for 2018, with fuel coming through a new 44 mm diameter Mikuni throttle body.

A lightweight lithium-ion battery is coupled with electric start to give the rider an advantage during mid-race starts when precious time could be lost trying to push-start a stalled machine. Another racing advantage for the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F is the Launch Control System (LCS), that gives quicker, smoother race starts.

Cooling for the YZ450F is improved by making the radiators larger and located more directly in the incoming air stream. To optimise the YZ450F’s centre-of-mass, the exhaust pipe is a wrap-around design that is moved further forward from the previous generation YZ, and has the added benefit of improving power.

The 2018 Yamaha YZ450F is expected to be available for order through Yamaha dealers worldwide in August, 2017. A range of racing accessories for the YZ450F as well as other YZ-series motocross machines, developed by Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing (GYTR), will be made available at the same time.