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YZF-R1

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The 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 has been the subject of much rumor lately, as it appears the Japanese brand is getting ready to bring a new version for the next model year. What the bike will entail though is subject to some debate, however.

Over in Europe, there has been no shortage of speculation about the new superbike, fueled by patent applications from Yamaha over the past few years.

Reading those rumors now, our own Bothan spies from within the Iwata factory’s ranks have reached out to us, in an effort to set the record straight. The news is a mixture of good and bad.

Get the gears turning, because the rumor mill is starting to churn away on speculation for the next generation Yamaha YZF-R1.

This particular rumor looks towards the 2021 model year, when the Euro5 regulations for motorcycles take effect. Of course to that, we say “well of course there is.”

We will get to all that in a minute, but first, the buzz from Europe on what we can expect to see from Yamaha in two years’ time.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR is one special machine, and only 20 of them will be made worldwide.

That production number helps commemorate the fact that this is the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 superbike, and the bike also helps give a nod to the fact that this year Yamaha won the Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race an unprecedented fourth time in a row.

A track-only machine, the Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR will be painstakingly built by members from the Suzuka-winning Official Yamaha Racing Team crew. Though it is littered with parts from the GYTR catalog and other sponsors, Yamaha is curious mum when it comes to any performance figures about the bike.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 clocked its 20th anniversary this year, a monumental achievement for the original 1,000cc superbike.

Potent from its first debut in 1998, the YZF-R1 is still at the top of the heap, winning the 2018 MotoAmerica Championship, as well as an unprecedented four-in-a-row victories at the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race.

To help celebrate this birthday, Yamaha Motor has been touting a throwback livery on its racing machines, and now the Iwata brand is making that red and white livery available to its European fans.

More than just a paint job though, this 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR superbike has some very trick parts, which will make the 20 lucky souls who buy one very happy.

Things are not well at Yamaha Motor USA, and over the coming days you are going to read a number of reports from us about Yamaha and its US operations.

Before we dive into the multitude of issues that the Tuning Fork brand faces here in the United States though, we wanted to first talk about Yamaha’s crashing sales, because that best frames the company’s entire situation, and is the basis for the other stories that concern the brand.

Now halfway through 2018, Yamaha sales big bike sales (500cc and up) are down a staggering 19% for the last 12 consecutive months, compared to the same previous 12 months before that.

To put that figure into perspective, the big bike market in the USA is down roughly 8% over the same time period, though that figure is due mostly to Harley-Davidson, which accounts for half of the American bike bike market.

If you haven’t already drooled over the photos of the GMT94 Yamaha YZF-R1, we recommend doing so. The French outfit is fresh off a race win in Portimao, and a strong contender for the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) title.

Yamaha has two factory-supported teams though, the second being the Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART), which won the Endurance World Championship in 2009, and is always a force to be reckoned with.

What has always struck me though, is how different the two teams build their bikes, despite starting with the same platform: the Yamaha YZF-R1. Today, I want to illustrate some of those changes, so we can enjoy the subtleties of the French and Austrian teams.

The gearbox recall for the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 was a massive undertaking. In total, the recall affected 2,921 motorcycles, with Yamaha estimating almost 16 hours of labor per bike in order to change out the gearbox. That’s a lot of shop time for each individual motorcycle.

That time isn’t cheap either, and the cost of the labor alone was somewhere around the $5 million mark. By the time you threw in the cost of the parts, the R1 recall likely cost Yamaha somewhere north of $10 million.

To get a sense of how long that recall work took, checkout this time-lapse video that a mechanic made while working on one of the affected superbikes. Be sure to note that the video spans two days of shop time. It’s quite the process.

I was reminded by a recent post on Racing Café about the FIM Endurance World Championship, which despite being headed to its third round of the season (at Suzuka), is fairly wide open Championship for its top teams.

At the top of the standings is Team April Moto Motors Events, which is an unfamiliar name to us, but they are campaigning on the venerable Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Usually dominating on that machinery is the Suzuki Endurance Race Team (SERT), who are sitting in third, seven points back in the standings.

Between them is the SRC Kawasaki squad, who won the opening round at Le Mans, and is always a strong contender. You also can’t discount the GMT94 Yamaha squad, who just recently won at Portimao – the second round on the schedule.

The Suzuka 8-Hour is sure to disrupt the field even more though, as the track’s specialty outfits often out-class the EWC regulars. For instance, expect to see Nicky Hayden and the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team scalping some points in the process.

This means fewer points will be taken home for the factory teams, which only adds more credence to the FIM Endurance World Championship going to down to the season-closer, at the Oschersleben 8-Hour in Germany.

To help fuel the fire of interest in endurance racing, today we bring you some high-resolution photos of the French-based factory-backed Yamaha, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team.

The news is official now, the radical looking Yamaha MT-10 will be coming to the USA as the Yamaha FZ-10 street bike. Originally debuting at the 2015 EICMA show in Milan, the streetfighter model takes the current generation Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, and turns it into a 160hp asphalt-eating street machine.

Since it has race track DNA, the Yamaha FZ-10 tips the scales at paltry 463 lbs, when fully fueled and ready to ride. The FZ-10 comes with a four-level traction control system, different throttle modes, and cruise control – because sometimes you want to be a law-abidding citizen.

Priced at $12,999 MSRP and available in “Armor Grey” or “Matte Raven Black” color schemes, American motorcyclists can expect to see the 2017 Yamaha FZ-10 at their location Yamaha dealership later this month.