Yamaha Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Revolutionary R1 Supersport Motorcycle


Yamaha Motor Europe is gearing up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its groundbreaking R1 supersport motorcycle. The Yamaha Racing Experience (YRE), scheduled to take place at Italy’s legendary Mugello Circuit on July 21st and 22nd, will serve as the backdrop for dedicated activities and festivities commemorating the iconic machine’s remarkable legacy.

Since its introduction in 1998, the Yamaha R1 has been a game-changer, redefining performance and innovation in the motorcycle industry. The R1’s 25-year journey is a testament to Yamaha’s unwavering commitment to engineering excellence, establishing it as a symbol of speed, power, and cutting-edge technology that revolutionized the sports bike market.

At the core of the 1998 R1 was an innovative 998cc, liquid-cooled, four-cylinder engine featuring a five-valve-per-cylinder head, redesigned valve sizes for improved torque, and enhanced porting. However, the real breakthrough came with Project Leader Kunihiko Miwa’s ingenious decision to create the world’s first vertically stacked gearbox in a production motorcycle. This innovative design resulted in a lighter and shorter engine, allowing for a longer swingarm, which improved traction while maintaining a conventional sports bike wheelbase.

Yamaha continued to refine and enhance the R1 over the years. The 2000 model featured over 250 parts revisions, including engine and chassis enhancements, more aerodynamic bodywork, and a new titanium muffler. In 2002, the R1 entered its next generation, featuring a groundbreaking vacuum-controlled fuel injection system and a lighter and stronger Deltabox III frame.

2022 yamaha r1 60th anniversary front

Building on its legacy, Yamaha launched the next-generation R1 in 2009, featuring a ground-breaking crossplane crankshaft engine derived from Yamaha’s MotoGP M1. This unique design reduced inertia forces and provided a more linear throttle connection. The 2009 R1 set new standards for handling and performance, with Ben Spies claiming the 2009 WorldSBK title.

The R1 continued to evolve, incorporating a traction control system in 2012 to enhance drivability and fuel consumption. In 2015, the R1 became the first production motorcycle equipped with a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and electronic support systems derived from MotoGP. The 2015 R1 also introduced the limited edition R1M, catering to racing and track day enthusiasts with its electronically controlled suspension and onboard data logger.

The 2018 R1 added a Quick Shift System (QSS) with a blipper function for clutchless up and downshifting, refining the bike’s performance on the street and track. Yamaha further improved the R1’s handling performance with revised suspension settings and an enhanced Lift Control System. The R1M received Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension with an updated interface for intuitive setup.

In 2020, the R1 featured a new CP4 engine with improved cylinder head, camshafts, and injection system. Yamaha also refined the electronic rider aids, introducing an Engine Brake Management (EBM) system and Brake Control (BC) system for enhanced control. The R1’s chassis performance was improved with revised damping valves and a reduced spring rate.

To mark the 25th anniversary, Yamaha Racing Experience at Mugello will host a special celebration for the R1. The event will be open to R1 owners for the first time, allowing them to participate in track sessions, receive expert advice from Yamaha racing technicians, and enjoy exclusive tours of the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK pit box. The celebration will feature an exhibition of R1s from different eras and a collection of memorable race bikes, showcasing the enduring legacy of the R1 in the world of motorcycling.

As Yamaha continues to push the boundaries of innovation, they have introduced the R1 GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing). Developed by Yamaha’s in-house specialist racing component division, the R1 GYTR is designed for track-day riders and racers who value Yamaha’s winning performance and premium quality.

The 25th-anniversary celebration at the Yamaha Racing Experience promises to be an exclusive event, bringing together R1 and R1M owners to celebrate these iconic machines.

photos: Yamaha


Marcelo Souza

Author, Editor and Administrator of the MotoNews World website, graduated in Accounting, passionate about motorcycles and technology.

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