Italian Andrea Bartolini is riding an aluminum-framed Yamaha YZ426 in the 500 class in Europe. We have not seen a picture of the bike yet, but there are several reports of the bike throughout both internet and print press publications.
Is this the direction Yamaha is headed in with its replacement for the current YZ426? Aluminum frames make a lot of sense for four-strokes. The key to four-stroke development is light weight, and an aluminum frame can play a large role in achieving that goal. The current YZ426 is now heavy when compared with the latest designs from KTM and Husaberg. It is also expected that Honda’s 2001 model four-stroke motocrosser will be substantially lighter than the current YZ426. The Honda will feature an aluminum frame (not surprisingly), and Yamaha is at least experimenting with an aluminum frame (on Bartolini’s bike).
We hope to have more information on Honda’s prototype, and perhaps a picture of the aluminum YZ, as well, in the next few days. Stay tuned.