Yamaha has unveiled its 2015 models including the R1, limited-edition R1M, R3, T-Max, MT-09 Tracer, WR450 Rally and WR250F in a live online event in Milan.
Valentino Rossi, who rode the totally new R1 on stage for the launch, says he was involved in the development of the bike.
“It was great, it was very funny,’ he says. “The target was to make the R1 as much as possible like the 1 which is my favourite bike and I think that we did a great job.”
He says the riding position is more comfortable, the engine is smoother, brakes and handling have been improved, and it includes electronic rider aids. “She helps you to arrive close to the limit and when she gets close to the limits she wants to go faster,” he says.
The R1 is totally new with an M1-style cowl, dual LED headlights, bigger 10.5-litre airbox, unified brakes, slipper clutch and a host of rider aids.
The bike is loaded with sensors, a gyroscope and 3D motion detectors to deliver slide control, lift control and launch control, quickshift and power modes, all of which are adjustable via Yamaha Ride Control System.
Valentino says the first electronic systems in MotoGP were a bit of a “shock”, but he says the bikes are now too light and powerful and need the electronics to make riding easier.
The engine has been redesigned with titanium conrods and dropping the crossplank crank. It has “about 200hp”, but there is no official final power figure.
Yamaha Motor Australia spokesman Sean Goldhawk says they will have difficulty keeping the hi-tech R1 under $20,000, so they may release two versions – one with all the technology and a base model.
In a surprise unveiling, four-time champion Jorge Lorenzo rode on stage on a limited-edition
R1M “for people that want to feel all the adrenalin of the MotoGP bikes,” he says. It comes with electronic suspension, data telemetry in the seat and loads of carbon fibre.
Yamaha CEO Hiryouki Yanagi presented the bikes at the special live streaming event in Milan a day before the opening of the EICMA motorcycle show.
Live streaming unveiling seems to be the new trend with Yamaha following just a few hours behind Ducati’s live streaming of its new 1299 Panigale, Diavel Titanium and Multistrada. And both events come a day before the official launch of the EICMA show in Milan.
Among the other models unveiled was the YZF-R3 which has been confirmed for Australia. The Indonesian-made bike is based on the 250 but is powered by a 321cc parallel-twin with 31kW of power and 27Nm of torque.
The new T-Max scooter comes with dual LED headlights, smart key ignition and improved brakes and suspension. They also showed the special Iron Max model with gold forks and calliper caps, special seat and metallic accents.
Representing the “dark side of Japan”, Yamaha introduced the MT-09 Tracer touring model for Europe only with a new windscreen, special ECU, handguards and ABS.