Yamaha is going big this year in celebration of their 50th anniversary. You’ve already seen our article about their re-named (and re-vamped?) cruiser line, and I’m sure you know they’ve spent several million dollars to fund track changes necessary to bring MotoGP (and Yamaha golden boy Valentino Rossi) to Laguna Seca in July.
Of course, we’re less than halfway through the anniversary year, and we expect that Yamaha has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Rumors say that two of those tricks will come in the form of an all-new R6 and either a significantly revamped or all-new R1.
With Rossi winning on the M1 in MotoGP, expect Yamaha to market their new sportbikes (released as 2006 models sometime in late 2005) using the classic “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” techniques. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the boys in blue debut the new R6 and R1 at the Laguna Seca MotoGP event. Don’t count on this one though – next year’s sportbikes aren’t usually introduced until August or September at the earliest.
We are also fairly certain that Yamaha will produce some sort of “Special Edition” version of both the 600 and the 1000. The question is whether the Special Edition will consist of nothing more than a unqiue paint scheme, or if it will be something more substantial. Is it possible that Yamaha could emulate the Italians (Aprilia and Ducati) by releasing limited production versions of their sportbikes featuring higher-spec components and maybe even an uprated engine? If any Japanese company could do something like this, it would be Yamaha – remember who was the first to bring a four-stroke motocross bike to compete in the AMA 250cc class?
Like I said, Yamaha is going big this year, and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for their anniversary.