Could the next Yamaha sport bike be a triple? That’s been the rumor for some time now, but there hasn’t been too much evidence to support the matter. Just last week, Yamaha Motor Corporation filed for trademarks in the European Union and United States that include “YZF-R3” and “R3” names for motorcycles.
The first reaction to the news is that Yamaha is finally reading a three-cylinder versions of its popular YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 machines; however, with some understanding of Yamaha’s naming conventions, the more likely assumption to make from this trademark filings is that Yamaha is readying a 300cc class sport bike, likely along the same veins as the Yamaha YZF-R25 concept that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show.
News of a three-cylinder version of the Yamaha’s supersport and superbike motorcycles has been rumored since the very day that the Japanese OEM debuted its three-cylinder prototype at the INTERMOT show in 2012.
Since that time, there have been rumors about Yamaha petitioning the World Superbike Championship to allows 1,100cc triples in the superbike category (triples like the Triumph Daytona 675 and MV Agusta F3 are already permitted in the Supersport class), but beyond that chatter, we haven’t seen any real concrete evidence that Yamaha was working on a three-cylinder sport model.
That being said, Yamaha seems set to use the three-cylinder engine design to distinguish itself from the other Japanese brands, and bikes like the MT-09 / FZ-09 have been well received thus far by the press and riding public.
Whether or not Yamaha intends to apply that thinking to its supersport and superbike models remains to be seen though, and even if it does, it is unlikely that the new models would be called anything other than the YZF-R1 and YZF-R6.
Thus the most likely explanation is that the YZF-R3 and R3 designation is for a 300cc class motorcycle, keeping with Yamaha’s naming convention to-date. In foreign markets, Yamaha has used full number designations for small-displacement bikes, e.g. the Yamaha YZF-R125 for its 125cc sport bike.
And when Yamaha debuted its 250cc concept sport bike, it came named as the Yamaha YZF-R25, keeping with the company’s tradition of dropping only the zeros from a machines displacement for its model designation. So, for a machine named the Yamaha YZF-R3, we can expect a 300cc displacement to accompany it.
With both Honda and Kawasaki having 300cc sport bikes on the market, it seems only natural that Yamaha would enter the small-displacement battle that is currently being waged with a similar weapon. Adding more fuel to the fire was the “concept” designation given to the YZF-R25 that debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show, which implies some uncertainty for its final design.
Could Yamaha have been playing its cards close its chest regarding its plans in the quarter-liter-plus category? We certainly wouldn’t put it past them.
With sharp lines, a presumably peppy motor, and Valentino Rossi at the helm, we predict Yamaha will sell these bikes by the boat load. How many cubic centimeters will be beneath the fairings though, that’s for time to tell.