2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 - Riding Impression

Thunder Down Under.

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 - Riding Impression

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 - Riding Impression

A 13-hour direct flight from LAX to Sydney, Australia, tends to numb your senses. When there's a 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 and hot laps around Eastern Creek (a former Australian Grand Prix venue) waiting for you, though, it promises to be a very good-day, mate!

By now, you've likely heard about the R1's new cross-plane crankshaft featuring a 270-180-90-180-degree uneven firing interval like that of the works YZR-M1 that Valentino Rossi rode to the 2008 MotoGP world championship. If not, the first time you hear the latest R1's staccato exhaust note, you might just think something is amiss, like a loose plug wire. Nope, that's the sound of improved tractability, my friends.

Another feature of particular interest is "D-mode." A right-handlebar-mounted toggle switch allows on-the-fly drive-mode selection between three different levels of engine response. Labeled from most- to least-aggressive, the A, Standard and B modes adjust throttle response on the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle ride-by-wire system. A delivers a sharp, nearly one-to-one response ratio. Standard feels quite normal, while B softens response further, making the bike much more forgiving of ham-fisted throttle application. All three modes produce identical peak power output.

Journalists spent the morning hours riding on stock street tires and then finished off the day with sticky race rubber. Mid-summer heat and the 998cc inline-Four's robust midrange torque put the hurt on the stock rear skins, making B my personal mode of choice prior to the tire swap. Even when grip was no longer an issue, I found the edgy response of A quite demanding and ultimately settled upon the Standard setting.

Look for a complete riding impression of the 2009 YZF-R1 in the April issue of Cycle World.

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

2009 Yamaha YZF-R1