MasterBike 2010: Yamaha YZF-R1

A little too much weight and a conservative throttle mapping setting led to a back-of-the-pack finish for the 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1.

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Thirty-two laps down, four to go. The final bull for me to take by the horns was the Yamaha YZF-R1, another bike I didn't get to practice on. Still, because the R1 has excellent ergos, it's just the kind of rider receptor I'd need for my final assault on "Motodragon" Aragón. Another plus is the Yamaha's easily discernible power delivery and excellent suspension compliance, the latter helping the bike rock like a metronome though the chicanes.

That cadence carried through my session on the R1—which seemed to go perfectly, not a wheel out of line, every reference mark hit, on the gas early exiting corners. Sadly, it only seemed easy because we were going so slow: 2:05.941 is a couple seconds off the pace of the fastest bikes. Could it be down to the fact the Yamaha support crew chose the Standard map setting to save on tire wear? Last year in Oschersleben at the big liter-bike track test (CW, August, 2009), the R1 was faster that way. Oh, well, at MasterBike you only get one shot. And a year to think about the next one.

It's a cruel world. There can only be one winner.