"Traction control is working very well in racing, so at a certain point we started to develop it for road bikes" says Product Planning Manager Oliver Grill. "It really helps you to go faster. Whether you're a professional or not: if you have to concentrate less on grip conditions you can focus more on your speed".
Becoming a faster rider
Project leader Shin Yokomizo confirms: "The TCS really allows you to explore new dimensions of cornering on a racetrack. Most riders have a natural barrier regarding their speed or lean angle, and if they have, they stay away from that situation. TCS allows you to approach that border step by step. We deliberately use a wide setting range, and we have set up the levels so that rider can learn and understand what's going on."
Oliver joins in: "A light flashes when the system is engaging, so that gives you feedback. Some people thought they were riding at the limit but TCS showed they were not, while others were actually sliding but did not realize it! On a track day people usually start with levels 6 and 5, where the system engages very early. By the feedback from the light flashing they start to understand and anticipate to the grip situations much better. Step by step they then become faster and set the system to the next level, and so on. It's amazing how this helps you to evolve as a rider!"
Crossplane engine with irregular firing order
Shin says "If you have good traction feeling, you get out of the corner faster so you start also faster onto a straight. Our crossplane engine is also based on that principle. The irregular firing order is developed in MotoGP to get a better feedback from the engine. It gives you more feeling for how the rear wheel reacts to the throttle, better feedback."
Oliver adds "The R1 is a real 'rider's bike'. Peak performance was not the main development priority: we focused more on controllability and traction in cornering. Because that's what enables you to go fast in real-life conditions. And that also makes it a perfect base for racing on a professional level. The bike won the World Superbike championship right away in the year it came out, with Ben Spies, and has been in the top ranks since."
He continues: "The crossplane engine has proven to be a big advantage in many riding situations. We are committed to this technology. Our customers love it, the sound is great and both in racing as in normal conditions the engine gives a great feeling. Most riders, after trying, will probably find the R1 the fastest and most easy-to-exploit supersports bike around."
More improvements on the 2012 R1 are:
• Optimized ECU mapping, for better power delivery at low to mid rpm
• Subtly redesigned front fairing combined with new LED position lights, for a fresh and more aggressive look
• Tighter, more compact design of the rear muffler end-caps and covers
• Front fork triple clamp with new, slotted design and optimized rigidity balance (inspired by Yamaha's M1 MotoGP machine)
• New footrests for added grip
Download the full press text here.
Future of supersports
"Supersport bikes have become more extreme and more track oriented" states Oliver. "But electronics will allow that. Yamaha understands this and is at the forefront with systems like YCC-I, YCC-T and TCS that are MotoGP inspired."
"At the same time, it is not the amount or technology that makes you go fast.
It's about how you set it up, and then simple systems are often better and more efficient. You know, many sensors have no meaning if you can't win races. You have to find the right patterns in the data and make the right settings. Yamaha has a lot of experience here, we're able to win races and make the normal production bikes run great as well!"