With all the focus on expected new 1000cc sportbikes from Kawasaki and Honda, what about Yamaha? Yamaha thoroughly redesigned its R1 in 2002, and chose not to race that machine in World or AMA Superbike competition this year. You might expect Yamaha to at least throw their existing R1 on the track for testing purposes, particularly, if the same basic street machine would be homologated for superbike racing next year. Yamaha is not racing the bike, however, and now a rumor has surfaced that an all new R1 will debut later this year as a 2004 model.
Not too surprising, really. Given the fact that the Japanese manufacturers are on a two-year cycle for updating/redesigning all of their sportbikes (both the 600cc class and the open class), you would expect Yamaha to have some significant changes to the 2002 model. The rumor suggests the bike may be “all new”, however, which is a bit surprising after the thorough makeover in 2002.
All of these manufacturers will have their work cut out for them. Suzuki’s 2003 GSX-R1000 is an amazing machine (we just finished our test, and a write up will follow shortly).