As I ride north from Belleville Ontario, I’m reflective on just how good new riders have it today. Beneath me is the kind of bike I should have started riding some 25 years ago. Instead I went through three bikes in three years before I found the right alignment and connection with a 1988 Yamaha FZ750.
Through the ‘90s and most of the 2000s the small displacement sport bike was nowhere to be found. They were made and marketed to other places in the world but not in North America. Over the last ten years most of the major manufactures have jumped on board to what is now a very exciting segment of the marketplace.
Inside Motorcycles has been invited by Yamaha to sample the 2019 YZF-R3, with a morning street ride followed by some track time that has been arranged in the afternoon on Shannonville Motorsport Park.
The new Yamaha YZF-R3 totally looks the part; as a fellow moto-journalist rides around a blind curve toward me I’m stationary at the side of the road and I need to have a second look to confirm that it is in fact the 320 cc machine and not an R6 or R1. Visually the R3 looks like a bigger bike, with 37 mm upside down forks and 2,090 mm (82.3 in) of length – 50 mm to 35 mm longer than the current R1 and R6. The cast aluminum 10 spoke 17-inch mag wheels also look big bike. From the seat the LCD display is modern with all the usual indicators including a gear indicator, something a new rider will greatly appreciate.
The morning ride is comfortable even for this 6-foot two-inch tester, I’m pleasantly surprised. The power of this relatively small engine is also “enough.” Enough to be inspiring and back to the freedom of motorcycle riding provides. A relief from the complicated electronics of the leading-edge performance machines and their hyper horsepower. Shocking I know. And I have further revelation, maybe it’s not just for new riders…
Watch for Steve Hoffarth’s complete review of the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R3 in an upcoming issue of Inside Motorcycles.
Monday, 27 May 2019 12:16 Published in Products
Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti tightened the screws on the competition to grab the win in the 450 Pro main this past Saturday night at Round 2 of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown AX Tour in Calgary, AB. His teammate Shawn Maffenbeier managed to bring home a top-five finish, claiming a noteworthy fourth at the finish line. Although Nicoletti and Maffenbeier seemed a bit tentative in the qualifiers – recording fourth and sixth respectively – they unleashed the power of their YZ450Fs when it came down to do some serious racing for points.
Nicoletti and Maffenbeier found themselves gating in the same heat race at Calgary’s Agrium Event Center. The teammates unfortunately came together in the second corner right after the start when Maffenbeier bumped Nicoletti’s back wheel, with Maffenbeier going down for a soil sample. Nicoletti managed to stay afloat and would greet the checkered flag in second place and with it a berth in the Clash for Cash. Maffenbeier, who ended up third, did not advance to the Clash.
In the Clash, Nicolleti had to settle for an outside gate pick. Anxious for a frontrunner start, he found himself spinning out of the gate instead. This left him trailing slightly behind the pack, going into the first corner. The New Yorker then proceeded to ride a few laps in sixth place before moving into fourth, where he finished.
Not about to make the same error twice, an on-fire Nicoletti blew out of the gate in the main to take the holeshot in front of the usual suspects, which included Cole Thompson and Matt Goerke. Not wasting any time, he poured on the gas, putting a bit of real estate between himself and the chase group. Thompson managed to close the gap a few times but Nicoletti wouldn’t have any of it. He pushed ahead and never let Canada’s undisputed indoor specialist, Thompson, install himself in a position to attempt a pass. Nicoletti stayed the course and when all was said and done, he garnered his first win on Canadian soil. Nicoletti’s victory was extra sweet, as it took him from fourth place in the points to third.
Maffenbeier, who started just outside the top five, made a pass about seven laps into the race for fourth. At one point Goerke, running in third place behind Thompson, made an error and went down. This gave Maffenbeier an opportunity to close the gap, almost getting past the multi-time motocross champ, but Goerke was up and running in no time and “Maff” had to settle for fourth at the finish line. Although it wasn’t the finish he was looking for, the Swift Current, SK native can look back on Calgary as a great improvement from his ninth place finish in Abbotsford the previous weekend. It also means he moved ahead in the points from ninth to sixth.
“The night started off decently enough, although I struggled with my starts early on. I executed the main event start well, though, and was able to keep the lead on my Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha YZ450F without working up too much of a sweat. The bike was simply awesome and dialed in to make me really comfortable, not to mention very competitive. I’m happy to get my first Canadian win and looking forward to more,” Nicoletti said.
“We came into the weekend hoping to better our results from Abbotsford. That was goal number one and we achieved that. The day didn’t start the best but we made some changes and when the gate dropped for the main, Phil just grabbed the holeshot and then ran his own race, coming out with the win,” Nicoletti’s mechanic Risi George noted.
Round 2 – 450 Arenacross Results
1. Phil Nicoletti (Yam)
2. Cole Thompson (KTM)
3. Matt Goerke (Kaw)
4. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam)
5. Collin Jurin (Kaw)
6. Cade Clason (Husq)
7. Nick Schmidt (Hon)
8. Blake Osatchuck (Husq)
Points After 2 of 4 Rounds
1. Cole Thompson 65 pts
2. Matt Goerke 61
3. Phil Nicoletti 58
4. Collin Jurin 49
5. Cade Clason 41
6. Shawn Maffenbeier 40
7. Nick Schmidt 38
8. Blake Osatchuck 34
9. Ryder Floyd 20
10. Brock Leitner 18
The Rockstar Triple Crown AX Tour continues for Round 3, after a one-weekend break in the schedule on April 27, at the Progressive Auto Center in Sarnia, ON.
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:02 Published in Rider and Team Releases
April 5, 2019 (Toronto, ON) – Yamaha Motor Canada is pleased to announce its roster of elite bLU cRU race teams and riders that will compete for championships in racing series across the country in 2019.
Following a successful 2018 campaign that included nine Canadian national championships, a Gold medal and a Team of the Year award, excitement is high as the 2019 season gets underway.
Yamaha’s Canadian MX teams will once again contest the full Rockstar Energy Triple Crown national series in 2019. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha team is back in the headlining 450 Pro class with one of the country’s most serious race efforts. New York native Phil Nicoletti, signed to the team in late 2018, is looking to build on the podium finishes he produced last year; veteran Shawn Maffenbeier (Swift Current, SK) joins Nicoletti this year after a previous stint with the OTSFF squad from 2013-2015. Both riders will contest all three portions of the Triple Crown – arenacross, motocross and supercross – with their sights set squarely on the overall championship and the accompanying $100,000 payout. The team also announced the addition of support rider Sam Gaynor (Erin, ON), who will participate in all outdoor MX races and select AX/SX rounds.
The Royal Distributing FXR Yamaha team is coming in hot after two straight 250 Pro MX championships and back-to-back Team of the Year honours in 2017 and 2018, plus their first SX title last fall. Led by 2018 Rookie of the Year Marco Cannella (Hamilton, ON), the team has brought in experienced AMA rider Luke Renzland (Hewitt, NJ) and returning team member Hayden Halstead (Waterford, ON) in hopes of continuing their winning ways.
Defending two-time Canadian Pro Sport Bike champion Tomas Casas is stepping up to the feature Superbike class for the 2019 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship (CSBK) season aboard his new Parts Canada Yamaha YZF-R1. The 19-year-old Peterborough, ON resident will spend the season acquainting himself with the increased performance of the R1 while attempting to three-peat in Pro Sport Bike aboard his YZF-R6.
Despite moving up from the Intermediate division to the Expert ranks midway through the 2018 season, Jimmy McCullough (Paris, ON) found his way to the podium by the end of the year. After announcing a partnership with the Sehl Racing team for 2019 and sourcing a new YZ450F, expectations are high for the coming season.
Representing Yamaha in the snow are bLU cRU athletes Cody Matechuk (Cochrane, AB) and Brock Hoyer (Williams Lake, BC). The Western Canadian duo brought home hardware in January at the X Games Aspen, with Matechuk winning Gold and Hoyer taking Bronze in Snow BikeCross competition on their converted YZ450F machinery.
Defending Off-Road Ontario Pro champions Connor Brogan (Bolton, ON) and Zach Lewis (Pontypool, ON) are back to tackle the trails and woods in 2019, competing in the National Enduro Championship and Off-Road Ontario series on YZ machinery.
bLU cRU FACTORY RIDE AWARD
Last year’s bLU cRU Factory Ride Award winners Jeremy McKie (motocross), Jake LeClair (road racing) and Jacob Rainville (flat track) are eager to prove themselves in 2019. These teenagers are putting forward their best efforts after winning use of a Yamaha motorcycle for the season and a $2,500 credit toward genuine Yamaha parts and accessories.
After a one-year hiatus, the Factory Ride Award program will return to Western Canada In 2019, once again giving amateur MX riders three chances across the country to win one of these coveted awards. The program will also return to road racing and flat track for the second year in a row.
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is actively engaged in racing efforts all over the world under its three main principles of raising the value of the Yamaha brand, acquiring advanced technologies, and promoting the healthy spread of motorcycle racing.
Saturday, 06 April 2019 04:08 Published in Rider and Team Releases
March 28, 2019 (Toronto, ON) - Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is proud to announce that the NIKEN motorcycle, featuring Leaning Multi-Wheel (LMW) technology, has been honoured with a “Best of the Best” 2019 Red Dot Award in the Product Design category. The globally-renowned Red Dot Awards are presented annually in three categories of competition: Product Design, Brand & Communication Design and Design Concept.
2019 marks the eighths consecutive year that Yamaha has achieved a Red Dot Award and the fourth time the company has earned “Best of the Best” distinction. In addition, this achievement marks the second design award received by the NIKEN after earning the GOOD DESIGN Award in 2018.
The NIKEN is a full-size motorcycle with an 847 cc, liquid-cooled, inline three-cylinder engine. It was developed using a design that brings unprecedented riding, taking advantage of the features produced by LMW technology to make the NIKEN less susceptible to changes in the riding environment and provide a higher degree of stability during turns.
At the core of the design is a look that shows solid ground contact with the front two wheels, which further emphasizes the NIKEN’s sturdy undercarriage. The combination of a muscular front end and slim tank, designed for knee gripping, creates a feeling of greater dynamic movement. With its distinctive body design comes the realization of sporty, athletic performance that challenges the rider to want to take on each curve.
The 2019 Yamaha NIKEN GT is available in Canada with an MSRP of $20,999. To learn more about Yamaha’s Leaning Multi-Wheel technology and the feature-rich NIKEN GT, please visit https://www.yamaha-motor.ca/wp/nikengt/.
The Red Dot Design Awards, organized by Germany's Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, are widely recognized as one of the most prestigious design awards in the world.
Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:53 Published in News
Losail (Qatar), 25th February 2019 - Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the third and final day of the last 2019 MotoGP preseason test. Despite less than desirable riding conditions, Maverick Viñales let his consistency shine again and set the fastest time of the day, also claiming top billing in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi likewise elevated his bike's performance level and finished his preseason campaign with a positive fourth place in today's ranking order, and a fifth in the combined times.
Viñales didn't let the strong wind get to him and was focused as ever on getting the job done. He successfully worked on acceleration and set a stunning 1'54.208s on lap 25/50. He went on to complete five further runs, until a little after 9pm local time, and wrapped up the test in first place, both in today's and in the combined standings, with a 0.233s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi found his strong form again during the third day of riding at the Losail International Circuit. He laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1 and showed he is on the right track when he improved his fastest time to a 1'54.651s, set on lap 35/38. He finished in fourth place in today's rankings and in fifth in the combined, 0.443s from teammate.
Thanks to the progress made today, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team find themselves in a strong place to start the 2019 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar, held from 8 - 10 March.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI, TEAM DIRECTOR “In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders' feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we're satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1'54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1'54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren't able to complete our entire schedule - due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”
MAVERICK VIÑALES, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don't have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I'm quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”
VALENTINO ROSSI, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I'm in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we're done, and we'll see in two weeks if it's enough.”
Monday, 25 February 2019 15:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The third and last eight-hour session was crucial to collect some final data, as the team-mates tried new aero parts. They rode until the very end of the session, not letting any time go to waste. They ultimately took fifth and tenth place respectively in today’s timesheets as well as in the overall 2019 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.
This morning Viñales picked up where he left off, working on the race spec of his YZR-M1 and the acceleration. He was quick to show the bike’s nimble character again, dropping a 1’58.644s on lap 8, to slot into provisional fourth place in the rankings.
As the session progressed, the order changed slightly with the Spaniard being pushed to fifth in the second hour of riding. However, Viñales was more concerned with finalising his testing programme than putting in a time attack. He completed a 20-lap race simulation and kept riding until the very end when the chequered flag came out. The no. 12 rider completed 79 laps in total and held his fifth position in both today’s and the overall results.
Rossi filled the final day of riding in Malaysia with further evaluating new tyres for Michelin and continued working on the stability in braking and the smoothness of the acceleration, and in the process he also improved on his best time from Day 2 by nearly half a second.
Similar to team-mate Viñales, the Doctor was solely putting his attention towards enhancing his bike’s setting. His fastest lap was a 1’59.155s, set on lap 9, putting him in tenth place for the majority of the day, 0.916s from the top. With a little more than 14 minutes on the clock, the Italian was committed to improving his position in the timesheets but was unable to do so and stayed in tenth place in today’s and the combined timesheets.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2019 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 23 – 25 February for the second preseason test of 2019.
Friday, 08 February 2019 18:27 Published in Rider and Team Releases
January 30, 2019 (Toronto, ON) – Yamaha Motor Canada bLU cRU ambassador Cody Matechuk stood atop the X Games podium for the second year in a row after winning Gold in the Snow BikeCross competition in Aspen, CO on Saturday, January 26.
Matechuk (Cochrane, AB) and fellow Yamaha Motor Canada bLU cRU ambassador Brock Hoyer (Williams Lake, BC) proved to be top contenders again in 2019 on the circuit at Colorado’s Buttermilk ski area after winning Gold and Silver in 2018. Both riders won their heat races and had the top two grid selections going into the 14-lap final round.
Hoyer, the 2017 X Games Snow BikeCross Gold medalist, grabbed second place on the first lap of the finals and started hunting down race leader Jesse Kirchmeyer (USA). After a poor start, Matechuk eventually moved his 2019 YZ450F up to third and continued to make ground on Hoyer each lap. On Lap 6, a fall by Hoyer handed second place to a hungry Matechuk.
Matechuk went in for the kill with three laps to go, slicing around Kirchmeyer with a calculated outside pass that caught the American rider off-guard. With an open track ahead of him, Matechuk quickly distanced himself from the challengers, winning by 4.45 seconds. After remounting, Hoyer nearly caught Kirchmeyer on the last lap but ultimately had to settle for Bronze, adding to the Gold and Silver medals he won in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Matechuk and Hoyer were both piloting the 2019 Yamaha YZ450F, which features electric start and the exclusive wireless Power Tuner app. Dealer support for Matechuk comes from Cycle Works Foothills (Calgary, AB), while Hoyer’s program is supported by Outlaw Motorsports in Kamloops, BC.
“I’m super stoked to win Gold again this year,” said Matechuk, who earned Bronze in 2017 before last year’s breakout win. “It was a very tough race, but I was able to show just how much hard work went into the preparation for this race from every part of our team. It was a crazy weekend, and I’m stoked for more.”
Wednesday, 30 January 2019 16:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases
January 4, 2019 (Toronto, ON) – Yamaha Motor Canada has announced that the Star Venture TC – Yamaha’s most advanced transcontinental luxury touring motorcycle – is returning to the company’s Canadian lineup as a 2020 model.
The Star Venture TC made a statement when it was introduced for the 2018 model year, delivering classic V-twin performance in a striking visual package with a long list of touring amenities for riders who choose to journey further.
Powered by a 1,854 cc (113 ci) V-twin producing 126 ft-lbs of torque, the Star Venture TC comes standard with heated seats and grips, cruise control, an electronically-adjustable windshield, 144 litres of storage and a user-friendly infotainment system with a 7-inch LCD touchscreen. The infotainment system includes GPS navigation, stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and plenty more. Yamaha’s innovative Sure-Park system uses a dedicated electric motor to slowly move the bike forward and backward, reducing stress on the rider. Additional highlights of the 2020 Star Venture TC include ride-by-wire throttle, two riding modes, traction control, unified braking and Smart Key technology.
The 2020 Star Venture TC comes in dark metallic grey and new vivid blue, with an MSRP of $32,299. Delivery to Canadian dealerships will be in the spring of 2019. For more information, visit http://yamaha-motor.ca.
Star Venture TC Key Features
• Air-cooled, 1,854 cc (113 ci) 48-degree V-twin
• Six-speed transmission with over drive fifth and sixth gears
• Yamaha Chip Control Throttle (YCC-T)
• Yamaha's D-Mode variable throttle control system and traction control
• Cruise control
• Sure-Park parking support system for easier, precise manoeuvrability
• ABS & UBS brakes
• Yamaha Smart Key system
• Feature-packed 7-inch infotainment system (audio, GPS navigation, communication, vehicle status info & various equipment controls
• Stylish frame-mounted full coverage fairing with four LED headlights
• Electronically adjustable windshield
• Wind deflectors
• 144 litres of storage (side cases, top case and rider/passenger compartments)
• Comfortable, heated rider and passenger seats
• Heated handlebar grips
• 25-litre fuel tank
• 5-year warranty coverage (one year limited factory warranty plus four years of Yamaha Protection Plus. Certain exclusions apply)
Monday, 07 January 2019 13:26 Published in Industry News
Canadian motorcycle enthusiasts will soon have a chance to experience Yamaha’s revolutionary Leaning Multi-Wheel technology with the introduction of the 2019 NIKEN GT to the Canadian market.
Monday, 05 November 2018 17:02 Published in Industry News
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales pushed to the max during today’s Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, putting on a brave ride from 11th on the grid to 4th position over the finish line. Valentino Rossi had a heroic run at the Sepang International Circuit, but it ended in heartbreak on lap 17 when he crashed out of the lead. He was able to rejoin the race and took the chequered flag in 18th place.
Viñales started from 11th on the grid and soon found himself in 10th position. After warming up his tyres on the first two laps, he began his charge. His pace was as strong as the front group, meaning he had no problems cutting through the field, though there was a lot of ground to be made up.
With nine laps to go he took over sixth place from Andrea Dovizioso. The Spaniard didn’t waste any time to also pass Dani Pedrosa. He was trying to close the gap to Álex Rins but was unable to catch him. As his teammate at the front made a small mistake, Viñales crossed the line in fourth place, 4.667s from first.
Rossi had a perfect start from second, taking the hole shot and holding the lead superbly. He had a stunning consistent pace that allowed him to make a clean getaway from his pursuers.
Though his advantage went up and down over the first half of the race, there was no one who could really reach Rossi at the front, let alone make an attempt at passing the nine-time World Champion. However, in the final ten laps the heat and the tyre degradation meant Marc Márquez was closing in.
The Doctor responded by picking up the pace and defended his first place brilliantly, but a small mishap in Turn 1 on lap 17 caused him to slide down the tarmac. He was able to rejoin the race in 18th place and finished in the same position, 58.288s from first.
Today's results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings with a 25-point gap to second. Viñales, in fourth place, reduced the gap to his teammate to 2 points. Yamaha is still in third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Malaysia, with a 38-point margin to second, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in second position in the team standings, with now a 39-point gap to first.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in two weeks' time for the final showdown of 2018, the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, held from November 16th - 18th.
Sunday, 04 November 2018 14:34 Published in Rider and Team Releases