Video: Catching up with the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Team

The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha team talks about the 2015 R1 superbike during an off-season test at Thunderhill Raceway Park

Everybody loves a challenge, but if you’re the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha team, you better be downright infatuated with them. This year, the team is tasked with developing a brand-new superbike for a brand-new series, and in a relatively short amount of time.

The team spent this winter tackling that challenge one test at a time, slowly developing the 2015 R1 into a bike that can not only keep pace with the competition but also fill the rather large shoes left by its predecessor. Sport Rider was on hand for one of those tests, at Thunderhill Raceway Park, where riders Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier were spending days three and four on the bike, testing things like a reshaped fuel tank and ride heights, just to name a few.

“We haven’t really done anything with the engine yet,” said Yamaha Motor Corporation Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty at the test. “We still just need to put miles on the bike, so that we can trust the parts and better understand the bike. Then when we pull it apart, we'll say, ‘Okay, this is doing this, or this part is doing that.’ So we start with that. Then when we go forward, when we go to put 20% more power, or 10% or whatever the number is we’re shooting for, we know if we will start to have some issues in certain areas, if at all. Right now though, we’re just looking at details. Details are what kill you.”

“It is such early days," adds Hayes. I mean this is the fourth day we’ve ridden this motorcycle. “When it's all said and done it's gonna be a pretty incredible machine and head and shoulders above the old bike.”

To hear more about the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha team's test on the R1, and to see footage from the test at Thunderhill Raceway, click play on the video above.