Christian Craig’s Factory Yamaha YZ250F
We met up with mechanic Brent Duffe at Factory Star Racing Yamaha to go over Christian Craig’s Yamaha YZ250F. This bike is littered with parts from FMF, Rekluse, KYB, Dunlop, Vortex, GYTR, and factory Yamaha. Some you can buy at your local dealership and some you have to be one of the fastest riders in the sport of Supercross to get your hands on. Star Racing has a lot of momentum with both of their riders currently rocking the red plate.
THE FRONT END
Christian Craig runs a Pro Taper handlebar that is a Suzuki style bend.
These might be among the tallest bar mounts in the paddock. They are 40mm risers, which are 20mm taller than the standard mount. These are made in house at Yamaha.
Neken provides the triple clamps to the team and Christian is using a 22mm offset clamp. Neken also provides the steering stem to the team. You can also see the ARC transponder holder that the team uses. These are much more durable than the traditional holders the AMA will provide.
Christian is using Pro Taper white/soft half waffle grips with a grip donut.
ARC provides the front brake and clutch lever to the team. Christian is using a rigid style clutch lever and foldable/break away front brake lever. You can also see the carbon cover for the housing in this photo. This carbon component adds protection to the housing and blocks debris from damaging it during the race.
You’ll see on the left side of the handlebar that Christian does have a mode switch available with a start map. He has the option of using a start map but doesn’t always use it. It really depends on the track if he even presses the button at all. The team has done some testing with Christian and the start map pre-season. For a lot of riders they don’t grow up with a start map during their amateur racing careers so each of them has their own particular way of doing things. Riders like Chad Reed always went off feel and never used a lot of tech gadgets available on the starts. All dependent on the rider and the generation they grew up racing in.
You will see this rubber mount on the handlebars that is labeled Polar. This is where Christian is running his Polar watch during racing or qualifying. He likes to give his trainer the data for review. He can also keep an eye on time during the race to see how many more laps he might be completing before it’s over. A lot of the riders keep an eye on their heart rate at the practice track and at the races.
You’ll see in this photo that the team is running a stock start switch but they do their own wiring for the device. The throttle tube is a G2 billet throttle tube (in red). The throttle cable is exactly what you would find on a 2022 Yamaha YZ250F. The clutch side is also stock but the team removes the sheathing on it for weight reduction and a little less drag.
Christian is running a KYB PS-1 fork. All the settings are done in house by their suspension tech Drew Hopkins. The team did do some pre-season testing on suspension but the package last year was extremely good. After playing with some different settings, the team ended up back at the original setting from the 2021 season. Christian had the comfort he was asking for with that setting.
Christian is using a Works Connection holeshot device on his YZ250F. The position of the holeshot device is in a neutral area. Not too deep in comparison to some of the other factory bikes we have seen in the pits.
The team is running a Kite hub, Excel rim, Kite spokes, and Kite nipples. The team builds all of their wheels themselves at the shop in Cypress, California. The front spokes are wire tied in the event one is damaged during the race. The team doesn’t want the spoke freely bouncing around. These wire ties will keep the broken spoke in place and the rider can finish without further issues. You can see in this photo that the front axle is titanium and provided to the team by Race Tech titanium.
Dunlop tires are wrapped around the Excel rim. This is a “spec” or factory front tire provided to the team also known as a 768. A lot of the teams help Dunlop to further develop their tires for the consumer market. Eventually you may have a tire like this to choose from. You can also see the GYTR front brake line mount on the fork guard which is available to the general public.
A Light Speed carbon fiber front guard is used on the Star Racing YZ250F. A 270mm Braking front rotor is protected behind the guard. Christian is using the works Nissin front brake caliper and front hangar. You can see again that the sheathing is removed for weight and better feel on the brakes for Christian. There are two different size pistons in the front brake. There is a 30mm and a 27mm size piston in the caliper.
Star Racing Yamaha is also using a different style front brake master cylinder than stock on their motorcycle. You can get a good look at the carbon guard to protect it from debris damage. A rock could get in there and cause the piston to stick.
Christian’s Yamaha YZ250F is using an air scoop cut out at the front of the motorcycle to drive more in to the intake. More air = more power. You can also see the Twin Air air filter inside. The team is using a Supercross style air filter in comparison to the outdoors where the filter is a bit more beefed up for the conditions they ride in.
Christian is running a 1.8 radiator cap in comparison to the 1.1 that comes stock on the 2022 Yamaha YZ250F. You can also see a small bit of the Twin Air radiator covers that are on the bike. These protect the radiators from getting blasted with rocks/dirt during the day. The fins don’t get bent and the team can keep the bike running cool throughout the race.
The mount on the electric water pump and clamp is made in house at Yamaha. The mount is made on the CNC machine they have. A lot of the teams have caught on to the electric water pump craze. The electric water pump is extremely beneficial to the race bike. It creates less drag on the motor and provides more power to the engine. Factory Honda is running a similar style unit on their 250s.
Behind the right shroud is the back up start button. This is really hidden in comparison to other bikes we’ve seen in the paddock. This back up starter helps the team if the main one is damaged during a race. With the majority of controls sitting on top of the handlebars it is likely that they will get damaged at some point in a race series.
The engine is done in house at Star Racing Yamaha. They recently moved to Tallahassee, Florida. They purchased Ricky Carmichael’s old farm and have completely refaced it with a new shop/tracks/equipment. Trevor Carmichael does the engines. Wassner pistons are used inside and Crankworks does the crank work. The bikes are mapped with a Vortex ECU. Christian likes a pretty aggressive engine package. He likes to run a gear higher than normal in the whoops and it’s obvious that he is really good in the whoops.
A Rekluse TorqDrive clutch is used inside the motorcycle. There are different spring tensions available for the team to choose from. Christian is on a more aggressive spring than most of the other riders on the team.
Star Racing Yamaha runs an FMF titanium exhaust system. You can see the pipe guard shown above that is made custom for the factory riders. Between the squeezing of the pro athletes and carnage in the first turns, FMF beefs up this area so the exhaust isn’t crushed in during a race.
A Light Speed full coverage carbon skid plate is used to protect the bike. You can also see that Brent is adding extra material to the hoses for protection. There are a lot more rocks than you can see on TV at the races.
Works Chassis Labs supplies the engine hangars on the motorcycle. The team is running aluminum engine hangars and titanium engine mounts.
Works Connection supplies the oil fill plug to the team. This is a little bit more durable than the stock rubber version.
A GYTR ignition cover is used on the YZ250F. You can buy this at your local dealer. You can also see the Works Connection timing plug that is blue.
THE REAR END
If you look at the top of the subframe mount you will notice that this has been beefed up for Christian and the rest of the team. This serves two purposes. This adds rigidity to the subframe and also increases durability.
The subframe has also been modified for the riders. This kick plate is added to the underside so his left boot doesn’t get hung up while riding.
Christian is running a titanium swingarm pivot shown in the photo above. This is all a “feel” preference for the rider.
Contact patches are important for every rider and where those are might differ depending on size. Star Racing actually cuts the right side of Christian’s number down a bit for his specific preferences.
D’Cor supplies the seat cover. Above is Christian’s 6 rib seat cover with a bump. The riders have several options to choose from in the seat department. Brent makes the bump out of a Pro Taper bar pad. Seats are rotated from the race bike to the practice bike so everything stays fresh.
The brake pedal is a stock length for the team. A GYTR clevis is used and underneath it the team welds a brake stop. This brake stop is here in the event the brake pedal is shoved upwards, so the guts of the rear brake master cylinder aren’t blown out
On the brake pedal you’ll see the titanium brake tip. Attached to the titanium brake tip is the brake snake. Brent uses old clutch cables to make them. The brake snake helps prevent damage or bending to the brake pedal if a tough block or bike hits it.
The peg mounts are titanium on Christian’s bike and 5mm lower than stock. These Raptor footpegs are also 10mm back then stock. Back 10 and down 5 is also a way to call it. A steel footpeg pin is used in this area. This really opens up the cockpit of Christian’s Yamaha YZ250F.
In the photo above photo you will see the OW Factory Yamaha rear master cylinder. This is considered a factory part because the site glass is removed for safety precautions. The teams don’t want to take the risk of breaking the glass window and losing fluid. The rear brake line is steel braided which provides a firmer feel. Towards the front the sheathing is removed again for weight purposes.
The rear brake pads are chamfered a little bit on Christian’s race bike. This allows Brent to remove and replace the rear wheel quickly in the event of a problem. If the pistons close when the rear wheel is removed Brent can shove the rotor in between the pads and the wheel will slide on a lot faster.
A Race Tech titanium rear axle is used on Christian’s motorcycle. The axle blocks are aluminum and made in house at Yamaha.
Light Speed carbon chain guide is used on the Star Racing Yamahas
Brent is using an M3EK chain. It is a super light weight and durable chain. Look closely you’ll see little holes in the chain. This is for weight reduction. Vortex sprockets are used front and rear. The gearing is a 14/51 combination. You can also see the steel sprocket bolts. A lot of the teams are using titanium sprocket bolts but Brent likes the way these seat on the sprocket better.
A 110/90-19 factory Dunlop rear tire is used out back. Some 250 guys will play around with a 120.
An A-kit KYB rear shock is used out back. Drew Hopkins is the Star Racing suspension go to guy. The team does has options for pull rods and linkage set up.
The team is using Anti Gravity batteries. Christian uses the 4-cell which is light weight and extremely reliable.
Cycra plastics provides all the plastics and D’Cor covers the graphics. Graphics can add weight to the motorcycle so you can see on Christian’s bikes they have kept weight in mind and only cover where is necessary. Some of the spots are left open to reduce the weight gain of graphics. You can buy this replica D’Cor kit online.
Brent told us that the Covid pandemic made things a little hectic at the shop but Yamaha was way ahead of the ball game. The team never ran out of parts and Yamaha had their backs all the way. The team has parts for all the practice bikes and race bikes with no worry. It takes a lot of planning behind the scenes to pull off a seamless 17-race season and not have any issues with parts availability.
Brent is really excited to have his rider in the points lead for the 250 West Division. Star Racing was more than eager to pull out both of their series leaders’ bikes for us to shoot. Here we have Eli Tomac’s Yamaha YZ450F and Christian Craig’s YZ250F with red plates.