The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 is more than just “bold new plastics” as one A&R commenter said, with traction control, ABS, new suspension, and R1-esque bodywork being added to the supersport machine – among other changes.
Still very much “evolution” rather than “revolution” for the Japanese manufacturer, the Yamaha R6 however is a very striking machine, visually, and that’s what we wanted to share with you today.
Yamaha isn’t shy that the R6 gets its look from its older sibling, the YZF-R1, with both bikes sharing a number of visual elements: MotoGP-inspired air intake, koi fish headlights on the fairing, vented tail section, and sinister LED marker lights – just to name a few.
The effect though is perhaps the most dramatic change to the venerable supersport, as it takes the 12-year-old design for the YZF-R6 and gives it a modern look and feel.
Season-openers of long championships are always interesting times, with so many new variables to consider. Phillip Island with the grass, the rolling slopes, and the blue Bass Straits is a photographer’s dream.
Vibrant colour, varying light, flowing lines, textures and patterns – combined with new bike liveries – offer myriad possibilities for composition and detail.
To add to all the new variables, as a photographer, the weather decided to go from wet to cold and windy to beautifully sunny to harsh sunshine and light haze that played havoc with reflections and highlights.
While the Kawasakis and Ducatis stayed with the green and red, Yamaha offered stronger contrast with the shocking pink and orange for their respective riders. Honda though with the Red Bull sponsorship, was a transformed livery.
This year, I worked to a slightly different self-defined brief, to try and capture more of the aggression, with an almost more violent and darker mood. I also tried getting more experimental with compositions, and less tied to conventions such as sharpness and detail. I hope the images speak for themselves.
If you couldn’t get enough moody goodness from KTM’s photoshoot with their MotoGP race bike, the KTM RC16, here is a look at the Austrian brand’s Moto2 machine that Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira will race in the 2017 season.
KTM will continue to use its steel-tube chassis design in Moto2, with of course a mildly tuned Honda CBR600RR engine powering the race bike, per class rules.
KTM CEO Stefan Pierer had some choice words for Honda at the bike’s debut, chastising the Japanese brand for its time penalties in the Dakar Rally (for an illegal fuel stop) and for the manufacturer’s alleged cheating in the Moto3 race class, where its competes heavily with KTM’s own offerings.
Pierer is said to be much happier with Moto2’s switch to a Triumph supplied power plant, which will begin with the 2019 season and be based off the three-cylinder engine found in the new Triumph Street Triple 765.
With a Moto2 now in place, KTM has a pathway for GP talent, all the way from Moto3 to Moto2 and into MotoGP. With a strong partnership in place with Red Bull as well, KTM is well-positioned to take on HRC’s racing dominance, and the powerhouse that is Repsol Honda. We smell a good rivalry heating up.
The 2017 KTM RC16 is notably slower than its competitors, though shows a great deal of promise – especially as just a newcomer to the series.
KTM’s riders, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, will be looking to tame KTM’s monstrously powerful engine into something that can put the power to the tarmac, and they will also be looking to refine the steel-tube chassis into a proper scalpel on two wheels.
In other words, the 2017 season will be a development season.
Though a rookie season it will be, KTM’s partnership with Red Bull means that the squad is no stranger when it comes to marketing and presentation.
So we should not be surprised that with the team’s official livery unveiling today, that we also get a bevy of artsy high-quality (and high-resolution) photos of the team and the RC16.
Of course, no pixel was spared to bring you these gorgeous photos. We hope your bandwidth is up to the task.
Last year we covered a lot of motorcycle racing, and at many of those events Tony Goldsmith was the man swinging a lens for Asphalt & Rubber. We asked Tony to share some of his favorite snaps from 2016. We hope you enjoy them. -JB
As we look forward to the 2017 season I thought I’d share some of my favourites images from 2016. Above, the eyes of a man after a very fast lap at the Isle of Man TT.