On The Record: Keith McCarty, Yamaha Racing Manager

Yamaha Motorsports Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty

Riders are not engineers, and we don’t expect them to be. They want to go faster. You can get it from engine performance or aerodynamics or tires or whatever. That’s our job. Every race report Josh Hayes has ever done had “more speed, more acceleration” in bold ink. That’s always top of mind for us.

Things get pricey when you’re building a Superbike. Right now, we’re not even talking about full-blown forks; it’s a production tube with a kit in it. You start changing the entire assembly and that price goes up drastically. They’re nice to have, but they’re not necessary. Our times were maybe a second slower but who knew? Nobody. You just saw close racing.

Most of the electronic parts are now able to “learn” themselves. You set a target, and it can correct itself. That takes a lot of labor out of making a map. In the early days, somebody had to put a number in every one of those squares. It’s very different from the carburetor, where you had pilot jets, main jets, needle jets, slides, cutaways, whatever. Fuel injection is good. The fewer number of parts we now have to carry is a major thing.

Concerns in the past were always around money. Everyone in the AMA paddock is there because they want to be there. They’re not contracted to be there. Money is a big part of it. Our sport vacillated with the economy, so a lot of the rules that were in play were based around keeping it inexpensive. But racing has never been inexpensive. To align ourselves with another structure is a better way to go. I think in time it will be cheaper to do it this way.

There are some really talented kids that are going to be racing the R1 in Superstock 1000. I know the basic package is excellent. We’ve yet to determine the improvements we can make, performance-wise. We don’t know the full potential of this thing.

We’re not focusing on Superstock 1000 guys. They’ve got to work on the process themselves and decide what’s best for them. Since everybody uses different components—exhaust pipes and things like that—they kind of have to find their own way. They’re going to look to us for geometry and things of that nature that will probably be the same for everybody.

The minimum weight limit for both Superbike and Superstock 1000 is achievable with this bike. You’re not going to have a Superstock bike that is 20 pounds heavier than a Superbike. You weren’t able to get there with the other bike so easily. It could be done, but you had better know what you’re doing.

Yamaha has positioned itself well since the decline in the economy. If you look at the 14 new models that Yamaha has in its lineup, there’s no mistake this was planned.

Cameron Beaubier is preparing for his sophomore AMA Superbike season.

We’ve always had a great relationship with Yamaha Europe. Unfortunately, that relationship was inhibited by the rules. They had different rules than we did. Some things overlapped, some didn’t. They were helpful in every area they could be, but it wasn’t like a switch: When we get this, we’re going to win. We got some things we thought were going to be game changers, but it took us two years to take full advantage of them because there were other things for which we weren’t quite ready.

To have nine races on the schedule at tracks we’re familiar with and to get some back, Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta, is a good thing. What that means is there is an opportunity to grow and get other races back. NOLA Motorsports Park would be a really fun one for us. And Mid-Ohio. The fact that we’re going to Circuit of The Americas and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is really exciting. Who wants to go to the races and just watch?

We want to be part of the solution. That’s all we’ve ever wanted to be. We want to win. Everybody in the paddock wants to win. We want to see the spectators come back. I’m a motocross guy, and if you go to a Supercross pit, they’re wide open, people are interacting with the riders. It’s a fun moment.

Our pits are open. Our guys are willing to talk. They’ll show you the bikes. We want to be that team that encourages people to get that feeling of Supercross. After the races, that’s all there is. If you don’t have that good feeling, you’re not coming back.

Wayne Rainey is spot-on saying the path to get to Europe, if that’s your goal, has not been clear. Josh Herrin honed his skills on a 600, came to a Superbike—transitioning from DOTs to slicks—wins a championship and then goes back to a 600 but on slicks with a single-engine rule. The rules have made that class very competitive. If you talk about an injustice to a rider, that was it. Wayne’s idea of changing Supersport guys to slick tires at least puts them parallel with Moto2 guys.

Now the more likely path seems to go from Superbike, which is our top class, to World Superbike and then to MotoGP. To throw them back onto 600s is silly. It doesn’t really show their potential. We have a host of Americans who are probably worthy of getting a shot if they do well.

Wayne carries a big stick in Europe. All of this is happening because Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and the MotoGP paddock want American riders, and they want Wayne to help get them. I’m pretty sure if Wayne says, “You’ve really got to take a good look at this guy,” somebody is going to take a good look at him. Beyond all the things that we can do, you can’t discount what the organization itself can do.

Yamaha testing at Thunderhill Raceway Park near Willows, California

Yamaha Motorsports Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty

Riders are not engineers, and we don’t expect them to be. They want to go faster. You can get it from engine performance or aerodynamics or tires or whatever. That’s our job. Every race report Josh Hayes has ever done had “more speed, more acceleration” in bold ink. That’s always top of mind for us.

Things get pricey when you’re building a Superbike. Right now, we’re not even talking about full-blown forks; it’s a production tube with a kit in it. You start changing the entire assembly and that price goes up drastically. They’re nice to have, but they’re not necessary. Our times were maybe a second slower but who knew? Nobody. You just saw close racing.

Most of the electronic parts are now able to “learn” themselves. You set a target, and it can correct itself. That takes a lot of labor out of making a map. In the early days, somebody had to put a number in every one of those squares. It’s very different from the carburetor, where you had pilot jets, main jets, needle jets, slides, cutaways, whatever. Fuel injection is good. The fewer number of parts we now have to carry is a major thing.

Concerns in the past were always around money. Everyone in the AMA paddock is there because they want to be there. They’re not contracted to be there. Money is a big part of it. Our sport vacillated with the economy, so a lot of the rules that were in play were based around keeping it inexpensive. But racing has never been inexpensive. To align ourselves with another structure is a better way to go. I think in time it will be cheaper to do it this way.

There are some really talented kids that are going to be racing the R1 in Superstock 1000. I know the basic package is excellent. We’ve yet to determine the improvements we can make, performance-wise. We don’t know the full potential of this thing.

We’re not focusing on Superstock 1000 guys. They’ve got to work on the process themselves and decide what’s best for them. Since everybody uses different components—exhaust pipes and things like that—they kind of have to find their own way. They’re going to look to us for geometry and things of that nature that will probably be the same for everybody.

The minimum weight limit for both Superbike and Superstock 1000 is achievable with this bike. You’re not going to have a Superstock bike that is 20 pounds heavier than a Superbike. You weren’t able to get there with the other bike so easily. It could be done, but you had better know what you’re doing.

Yamaha has positioned itself well since the decline in the economy. If you look at the 14 new models that Yamaha has in its lineup, there’s no mistake this was planned.

Cameron Beaubier is preparing for his sophomore AMA Superbike season.

We’ve always had a great relationship with Yamaha Europe. Unfortunately, that relationship was inhibited by the rules. They had different rules than we did. Some things overlapped, some didn’t. They were helpful in every area they could be, but it wasn’t like a switch: When we get this, we’re going to win. We got some things we thought were going to be game changers, but it took us two years to take full advantage of them because there were other things for which we weren’t quite ready.

To have nine races on the schedule at tracks we’re familiar with and to get some back, Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta, is a good thing. What that means is there is an opportunity to grow and get other races back. NOLA Motorsports Park would be a really fun one for us. And Mid-Ohio. The fact that we’re going to Circuit of The Americas and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is really exciting. Who wants to go to the races and just watch?

We want to be part of the solution. That’s all we’ve ever wanted to be. We want to win. Everybody in the paddock wants to win. We want to see the spectators come back. I’m a motocross guy, and if you go to a Supercross pit, they’re wide open, people are interacting with the riders. It’s a fun moment.

Our pits are open. Our guys are willing to talk. They’ll show you the bikes. We want to be that team that encourages people to get that feeling of Supercross. After the races, that’s all there is. If you don’t have that good feeling, you’re not coming back.

Wayne Rainey is spot-on saying the path to get to Europe, if that’s your goal, has not been clear. Josh Herrin honed his skills on a 600, came to a Superbike—transitioning from DOTs to slicks—wins a championship and then goes back to a 600 but on slicks with a single-engine rule. The rules have made that class very competitive. If you talk about an injustice to a rider, that was it. Wayne’s idea of changing Supersport guys to slick tires at least puts them parallel with Moto2 guys.

Now the more likely path seems to go from Superbike, which is our top class, to World Superbike and then to MotoGP. To throw them back onto 600s is silly. It doesn’t really show their potential. We have a host of Americans who are probably worthy of getting a shot if they do well.

Wayne carries a big stick in Europe. All of this is happening because Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and the MotoGP paddock want American riders, and they want Wayne to help get them. I’m pretty sure if Wayne says, “You’ve really got to take a good look at this guy,” somebody is going to take a good look at him. Beyond all the things that we can do, you can’t discount what the organization itself can do.

Yamaha testing at Thunderhill Raceway Park near Willows, California