Rules are rules when it comes to racing, but Yamaha’s new YZF-R1 – the star of EICMA 2014 for some of us – doesn’t have to follow any of them. Things get coy when you ask how much horsepower a factory Superbike makes, and Yamaha USA doesn’t even care to divulge horsepower numbers for an off-the-shelf R1. Its European counterparts, though, make no bones about it: 200 PS, they say, which is about 197 crankshaft horsepower in a 439-pound package that looks a lot like the one Vale rides.
Wherever you look, the new bike’s numbers seem designed to run with the BMW S1000RR and Ducati Panigale, and to lay waste to the other Open-class sportbikes that have had their way with the old R1 for too many years in media comparisons, at least. Here are ten reasons for them to fear the new R1, and areas where it even outshines last year’s AMA American Superbike (may it rest in peace).