The next generation of the Yamaha R1 sportsbike could be revealed before the end of the year after documents submitted to racing’s FIM governing body listed a tweak to the Japanese firm’s line-up.
The venerable sportsbike is well-established as the flagship in Yamaha’s performance ‘R’ range with the current generation model having been on sale now since 2015, although it did receive a substantial update in 2019.
Since then Yamaha has gone on to overhaul most of its range, including the recently revised MT-10 naked the R1 shares many of its mechanicals, making the sportsbike a likely next-in-line candidate for a refresh.
These plans appear to have been confirmed by Motorcycle.com, who have engaged in a bit of sleuthing to unearth documents submitted to the FIM showing the registration of the codename YZF1000W, alongside a note that states it is a ‘New model 2023’.
With motorcycles referred to by their codename internally, the YZF1000 is fairly self-explanatory, with the ‘W’ representing its racing credentials.
While this could point towards this being a track-only model being readied since the codename bears relation to the Yamaha R6 RACE (YZF600W) – a model discontinued in all but track day guise only – the R1’s advancing age would tally up with the notion of a new generation being on the way.
The documents confirm the R1 will be powered by a 998cc four-cylinder engine though it remains to be seen whether Yamaha will squeeze out more ponies than the current 197bhp to join the likes of the Honda CBR1000RR-R in the 200bhp-plus bracket.
If the engine specification is familiar, then Yamaha could be saving its ‘party trick’ for the transmission after patents recently surfaced showing the manufacturer is working on a seamless gearbox inspired by its M1 MotoGP machine.
While clicking through the gears has long been associated with high performance models, the ‘automatic’ style of gearbox is generally instead reserved for motorcycles with comfort and touring in mind. However, a seamless gearbox also has applicable benefits towards sportsbikes, namely stability and ease -of-use, making a model such as the R1 potentially more usable day-to-day.
Either way, any new R1 will have some large shoes to fill in replacing a model that – in motorsport terms at least – has evolved into a class leader by winning the WorldSBK, BSB and MotoAmerica domestic Superbike series’ last year despite its age relative to rivals.
With this in mind, the aforementioned YZF1000W denotation could alternatively represent a standalone racing-only version of the current generation R1 that will allow it to be homologated for competition in 2023, freeing up space for its replacement down the line.
If a new R1 is incoming for 2023 then expect it to be unveiled before the end of the year around October.