At EICMA 2016, Yamaha’s YZF-R6 made its European debut. No big whoop for those of us in the U.S., since we already saw the new Yamaha at the bike’s world debut last month at AIMExpo. Of course, the Europeans had to have the last laugh, and today at EICMA Yamaha announced it would be returning to the World Supersport championship as a factory effort in 2017, and debuted the WSS-spec R6, too.
GRT Yamaha will run the official factory effort, with riders Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo the team riders, while Kallio Yamaha will receive factory support from Yamaha to aid its riders Sheridan Morais and Niki Tuuli. All four riders were in attendance at EICMA to see the new bike in person. WSS rules put tight restrictions on the machines, meaning the race version of the R6 won’t be drastically different from the production bike. Only slight alterations can be made to the standard bike’s cylinder head, gearbox, suspension, rear shock, front fork, electronic system and brake discs.
All of these components will obviously be modified to the maximum allowed by the rules, and considering Yamaha has won the WSS title in 2009, 2011, and 2013, the latest R6 will likely be a contender right from the start. Yamaha’s press materials make no mention of the R6 engine being new for 2017 other than adding electronic rider aids, leading us to believe it’s carried over from the previous generation. That’s not a bad thing, though, as apart from the three world titles captured, the previous R6 continues to win on the national level all across the globe.
Yamaha says its World Supersport team helped design the bodywork for the R6, borrowing cues from the YZF-R1, and claim the front cowl, windscreen, and front fairing are more aerodynamically efficient than the previous R6 by 8%. Aero advantages will no doubt help the racing bike, but it’s also a feature of the production bike as well.
The goodies exclusive to the WSS bike include: the full race fairing (consisting of a two-piece front and single piece seat), an Akrapovič Evo full Titanium exhaust, dual Brembo T-drive front brakes with 320mm discs, single Brembo rear brake with 220mm disc, an Ohlins cartridge kit in the standard 43mm forks and Pirelli Diablo tires (front: 120/70-17, rear: 180/55-17) as per championship regulations.