Yamaha FZ-07 Will Power New Flat-Track Racer

AMA Pro Grand National Championship gains a new player.


Yamaha is expanding its AMA Pro Flat Track contingency program in 2015 to include Expert/Pro Twins, Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty told the media at the second annual AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida. An engine development program for the new FZ-07 is under way at Yamaha's North American headquarters in Cypress, California.

Interest on the part of the flat-track community in the new liquid-cooled, eight-valve, DOHC 689cc parallel-twin preceded the FZ-07’s Stateside launch this past June. At that time, however, McCarty was focused on other priorities. “There were a lot of calls,” he said, “but during the racing season, I’m very busy. I didn’t take it seriously until we got a bike and had some engines to look at, and then I started piecing everything together in my mind.”

McCarty believes the new engine will be competitive. “Yamaha has very good engineering principles,” he said. “I think we can easily attain the horsepower without worrying about failures. Was it built specifically for racing? Probably not. But I think the rules are going to allow us to touch a broad scope of items. We’ll see what we end up with.”

With the new twin, Yamaha will have a much larger footprint in the series. “I would have loved to have been there sooner,” McCarty said. “The biggest problem for us was that there were no Yamaha products for the twins classes. Now it makes sense.” This past season Yamaha paid $1000 for a Pro Singles win, $500 for second, and $250 for third.

McCarty and Jim Roach, crew chief for four-time AMA Pro SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes, spectated at the AMA Pro Flat Track Finals in Pomona last weekend. No Yamahas qualified for the Pro Singles main event. Fifteen of the 18 riders, including winner Davis Fisher, rode Hondas; the three other machines were KTMs.

Yamaha isn’t prepared to throw a win-at-all-costs budget or a bunch of bodies at this program. “I don’t have a lot of money to dump into it,” McCarty said, “and I’m sure that the flat-track community doesn’t, either. One way to get more participation is to make the thing competitive but keep the cost down. We want to be able to reward them with contingency and help them with the technical side.”

C&J is building a frame. “I personally delivered an engine,” McCarty said. “I think they had seven or eight orders before I got down there.”

McCarty also has his eye on December's Superprestigio short-track invitational in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the 2015 Summer X Games, which may have a flat-track element. "I've had a request to line up some YZs for the Superprestigio," he said. "Also, the X Games should have everybody's attention. It's a great way to promote motorcycling, and we want to be a part of it."