Troy Siahaan, Features Editor
Yamaha YZF-R1 Launch In Australia

At the end of 2014, I told the rest of the MO staff that I called dibs on the new Yamaha YZF-R1 intro. They could have all the other intros (of which there were some epic ones), but I wanted first crack at the R1. Lo and behold, I got my wish, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. First, the location was the Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly Eastern Creek Raceway) in Sydney, Australia. Sure, Phillip Island would have been epic, but I’d never been to Australia before so I was just happy to be there (what a lovely place, btw).

More importantly, though, was the bike. A radical departure from the big and heavy R1 that preceded it, the new R1 felt light and slim from the saddle, and the amount of MotoGP tech Yamaha threw at it got me extra excited to ride. Sure enough, the R1 didn’t disappoint (once we were unleashed with the Track ECU). I simply felt invincible on the bike. Never had it been so easy for me to push my personal limits, knowing the machine I was on would be there to mask my mistakes. My Aha! moment came as I was cresting the small hill leading onto the front straight, my hand was to the stop, the front tire came a few inches off the ground, and then it gently reengaged the tarmac again, my hand never easing the entire time. At that point I was convinced Yamaha’s wheelie control was the real deal.

Hopping on the R1M, shod with slick tires, was an even cooler experience – partly because I almost got my elbow down (I could have done the job with a bit more bravery), but mostly because of the Y-TRAC app. After our sessions I could see data from my ride, compare them to others, and look at areas to improve. I could even make changes to the bike with a few button presses.

For me, the R1 represented a big leap in sportbike tech, and I was glad I got to be one of the first journalists in the world to experience it. Honorable mention for highlight of the year, in my book, goes to our Literbike Shootout, which revealed how awesome the current crop of flagship sportbikes really are, especially the Aprilia RSV4 RF. Ironically, my lowlight of 2015 comes at the controls of the Aprilia, as I was blindsided by another rider entering Laguna Seca’s Turn 11. That aside, 2015 was a stellar year.

  • JMDonald

    It’s been a great year. Here’s to the highlights of 2016. I think I went 120 mph once, 200 is beyond the pale.

  • Old MOron

    Well, I can’t say that I’m most jealous about any one story, but I think Evans’ pick resonates the most. That’s because for the last two years I’ve raced in the M1GP24 Hour, having been inspired by Trizzle’s original story from 2013. http://www.motorcycle.com/events/electric-boogie-record-books

    Keep on living the dream, MOrons. We’ll keep living vicariously. And in some rare instances, we may even emulate you!

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Too badabout the Aprilia. Was it totaled?

    • Not totalled, but it was the only 2016 RF in the country at the time. Aprilia USA techs had to use old non-RF parts to fix the cosmetics for our street test the following week. (It wasn’t Troy’s fault at all, he was T-boned by an overzealous civilian in turn-11, but it was way more fun to blame him for it in my little story.)

      • john burns

        too bad we didn’t total it though, since the publication that got it after us DID destroy it at a track day. Only the good die young.

      • ‘Mike Smith

        Blame away my friend. Never pass on an opportunity to bust some chops. 😉

      • TroySiahaan

        Thanks for throwing me under the bus! 😉

  • Old MOron

    Well, I know it’s a marketing tool, and I know it’s a Xmas tune, but it’s still cool.
    Happy New Year, you MOrons! http://seasonsgreetings.bmw-motorrad.com/?c=YUz2Nc8

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for your consistent support, OlMO!

  • John B.

    I most envy Tom Roderick’s highlight montage, but for “Most Persuasive Bike Pitch,” I would choose Sean Alexander’s love at first sight experience with the Aprilia. There’s nothing like having one’s soul stirred. Make that almost nothing.

    Congratulations on a great 2015. The MO crew produces consistently great work product, and that’s an exceptional feat.

  • Max Wellian

    Ya gotta like a job that provides so many great highlights!

  • David

    Ahh, I had wondered what happened to Cernickey. Sad to hear about his legs though.

  • ken mcguire

    Oh come on, Tom. You blokes get to ride the latest and greatest… and get to swim with White sharks. Bloody hell I need a new job.

  • kenneth_moore

    I agree with Old Moron: the “24 Hueres de Grom” is the one I’d pick. The similar events in my life, where a close group of pals are pushing themselves and the equipment to the limit are my best memories, even though they were actually miserable at the time. Like a 36 hour sail to the Bahamas in a Northeaster that left every other boat, and even some ships, sitting in port. We broke the boat, I broke my arm, we hated each other halfway through, but none of us would trade the experience for the world.