Up-Close with the 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1

04/29/2013 @ 3:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS


In case you missed our exhaustive coverage of the Grand Prix of the Americas, those fools at Dorna gave me pit lane access this MotoGP season. So while the whole paddock waits for the Spaniards to come to their senses, I don’t plan on wasting the opportunity to share with our readers our extreme access to motorcycling’s premier racing class. Accordingly, here comes another installment into our ever-continuing “Up-Close” series, featuring the very finest Iwata has to offer: the Yamaha YZR-M1.

Over the past few seasons, Yamaha has managed the power-deficit created by the Honda and Ducati machines by having ballerina like handling. Truly at home only when the machine was tipped-over to the extreme, the edge-grip and handling of the Yamaha YZR-M1 has been its counterpoint in the ongoing MotoGP-design argument.

A true GP bike, in the sense that it requires a riding style that has been cultivated from years of 125cc & 250cc two-stroke racing, the flowing lines of the M1 on the race track have been a stark contrast to the harsh point-and-shoot styles seen more so on the Ducati Desmosedici, but also more recently on the Honda RC213V as well.

However now with HRC having developed a seamless gearbox for the RCV, the battle of Honda’s motor vs. Yamaha’s chassis has changed. Where Yamaha riders used to beg the Japanese factory for more horsepower (they still do, by the way), they know find themselves asking for parts to combat the Honda’s ability to get on the power while still at extreme angles — an attribute once reserved only for the Tuning Fork brand.

Thirty 2000px-wide photos are waiting for you after the jump.














Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • TexusTim

    very nice jason !…is that a pair of antenna stubs on the exhaust hanger ?

  • Wil

    Any ideas on the arrow painted on the edge of the carbon front disc of Rossi’s M1? Seems to be pointing in the opposite direction to the wheel travel….

    The cause of the issue he suffered ? Or is that just too ‘conspiracy theory’ ?

  • Wil

    Oh, AWESOME photos, by the way. Thanks from a big fan of A&R.

  • The arrows are there to help the teams put the wheels and rotors on the bike for the correct direction (just about every motorcycle has these, if you look close enough). The arrow is following the correct path for the rotation of the wheel in all the photos (clockwise, when looked at from the right side of the bike).

    Thanks for reading A&R! Glad you like the photos.

  • L2C

    Yep, love your work, JB!

  • Mitch

    Interesting, all the ‘race’ aftermarket grips I see are the stippled pattern – but these look identical to OEM street bikes. I wonder what the functional difference is.

  • TheSwede

    Awesome shots, these bikes are magnificent. I enjoyed the “Revs Your Heart” sticker, thanks for capturing that. It’s the little things..

  • BBQdog

    The strange thing about the M1 is that it has actually a blank frame, while it looks like it has black anodizing on it. There is a black cover over the frame and you can only see it on certain areas where the cover is not nicely cut or fitting. The cover even contains some sort of ‘welds’. I first noticed this on the pictures of the Yamaha M1 2006 of Rossi.

  • I’m not certain that’s the case…

  • BBQdog

    Jensen, take a look at the 2006 pictures you published on your site. There are some pictures of
    the top of the frame and they have cut the ‘cover’ far more roughly than in this edition. On these picture
    here you can see that three ‘holes’ behind the clutch. One can clearly see that the larges of them is not nicely cut. Had it been machined it would have fit seamlessly. And on the gold anodized part below one can see the cover clearly separating the frame. You have to look close but I am 100% convinced this is the case.

  • BBQdog

    Jensen, look for example at the picture published on A&R of the 2006 M1 called ‘ Valentino-Rossi-2006-Yamaha-YZR-M1-hi-res-08.jpg’. On that you can clearly see the cover had been very roughly cut with a k nife

  • There are definitely tape “patches” in those photos, but it’s pretty obvious that the frame has also been powdercoated — to my eyes at least.

  • BBQdog

    Jensen, just take a look at the 2006 bike.

  • BBQdog

    What I mean is that for example on the 2006 bike one can clearly see the frame is not powdercoated or anodized as it is totally blank on the inside. Also all kind of cut outs in the cover are very roughly done. Look for example at those cut outs for those tiny hose connections on top of the frame in the middle. One could never cut a metal in this way. Look at those scratches made on the right side of the frame near the weld on top of the cover. That is some sort of plastic, not even carbon fibre. Why would Yamaha doe this:

    1) Commercial reasons as the road going supersports have black frames
    2) To hide frame technology from the opponent (place of the ACTUAL welds for example)
    3) To protect the frame

  • foz101

    These pics are excellent. Can’t beat a bit of detail.

    I tip my hat to you, sir.

  • TexusTim

    jensen i looked for you at the race in Austin but I was working as a moto taxi driver and didnt get around too much….I had Marquez on the back of a yamaha after his high side in turn 19…i wonder if he noticed it wasnt a honda…lol

  • Very nice! Thanks. Any chance you got up close with Moto3 bikes? Every GP bike is envious of those little bastards

  • Tim, if you were the one that carted Marc back to the garage, then you saw me…you just didn’t know it. ;)

    I only shot a couple sessions from the track, and was either in the paddock or media center the rest of the time.

  • pooch

    dang, i wish my bike was that clean…

    thing that struck me was how normal the grips looked. maybe it’s cause I just spent the evening cutting off the old half melted rubber from my 3 year old heated grips to put new rubber on it, has made me a little obssessed with grips for the time being, but they just looked like off the shelf numbers… was expecting something that looked faster :)