Photos: Yamaha's 2015 R1 Superbike

Yamaha Motor USA gives a look at its work-in-progress 2015 R1 superbike

Here is Yamaha's work-in-progress superbike with race bodywork, rapid prototype tank with larger volume, and R1M-culled carbon fiber front fender. The team expects to run its first test with the new bike after the first of the year.

Have a little mercy on the Yamaha Motor USA racing team. For six years now, the team has steadily developed the original crossplane-crank R1 into a mount that’s all but dominated the AMA SuperBike category. Now, not only is the team tasked with putting together a winning program for the all-new MotoAmerica series, but it’s also having to develop an all-new motorcycle.

“We almost couldn't get something at a worse time, but we're working through it and it’s coming along really good,” says Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty during a recent trip to Yamaha US headquarters. During that stop, we had the chance to take a peek inside the team’s race shop to see just how well the project was coming along.

While we continue to drool over Yamaha's redesigned 2015 R1, the Yamaha Motor USA team has already stripped one down and begun building its next superbike. Presumably, this little R1's engine is off to the engine room.

While there’s still a long ways to go, the team has already made some serious progress. The bike on the team's lift is already outfitted with a rapid prototype tank, for example, which has a larger volume but been shaped by Yamaha engineers (in house) to look like the standard tank. “We’re fitting the dash and intake, front fender, and brakes. All of the things that we'll be changing to make it a superbike, we’re going through that right now,” says McCarty.

The superbike's front cowling has been changed a bit, and the bike is currently adorned with a stock R1M carbon fiber front fender. McCarty goes on to say that the team is "just scratching the surface on [the engine]."

Yamaha's first official test on the superbike will be after the first of the year, "but we're hoping to get Cameron [Beaubier] out late this year on the production bike and just get him to get a feel for it," admits McCarty. "We're a small group of people doing this. There's only five or six people on this project, so it's tough," he adds, bearing in mind that the MotoAmerica series kicks off April 12 at Circuit of The Americas.

Ironically, one of the other bikes parked in the team's shop is last year’s race bike. Some assurance that if anyone can get the job done, it’s the Yamaha Motor USA race team.

More photos of Yamaha's work-in-progress 2015 R1 superbike below.