Yamaha's new 2012 MotoGP race bike was been unveiled in Jerez, Spain, a 1000cc inline four-cylinder prototype machine generating around 240hp (176kW) at the crankshaft.
The 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 will be ridden by Yamaha factory riders Ben Spies and former world champion Jorge Lorenzo, and as the images show there's less sponsors on the 2012 bike than the 2011 YZR-M1, which seem to give the bike a purer, more streamlined appearance.
Satellite versions of the 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 will be ridden by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team riders, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, the latter rider hoping to take the fight to his former Honda team mates Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
While there may only be three manufacturers fielding factory teams in MotoGP, Honda, Ducati and Yamaha, 2012 is shaping up to be a big year with the change to 1000cc engines expected to deliver some thrilling (and probably tyre smoking) action.
"I’m loving the new bike, man it’s great to be back on a 1000cc machine!" said Ben Spies. "The riding style is much closer to my natural way of riding which makes it a lot more fun. The colors look great so I’m ready to get out there tomorrow for our final shakedown before Qatar."
The 157kg, 240hp Yamaha race bike is rumoured to be one of the quickest bikes in a straight line in 2012, the 1000cc prototype being tipped to breach speeds of up 350km/h (217mph).
Should Honda be worried?
Word in the paddock is that Repsol Honda chief Shuhei Nakamoto has already called the 2012 YZR-M1 the best bike he's seen this year, though such comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Jorge Lorenzo was also keen to get stuck into racing: "It’s very exciting to be here so close to the first race. I love the new livery and Yamaha’s hard work has given us a very competitive bike to fight with this season.
"It’s good to be here at a different track to test against our competitors before we start next month. It was a pleasure to see so many of our MotoGP media friends here to take part in the launch, nice to see so many take their picture with my bike!"
SPECIFICATIONS: 2012 YAMAHA YZR-M1
Engine: 1000cc liquid-cooled, inline four-cylinder, four stroke
Power: 240+ horsepower (176kW)
Chassis: Aluminium twin tube, aluminium swingarm
Suspension: Ohlins inverted fork and rear shock, full adjustable. Multiple rear suspension options
Wheels: 16.5-inch front and rear
Tyres: Bridgestone, 16.5 inch diameters
Brakes: Twin 320mm carbon fiber discs and Brembo double clamp calipers with four opposed pistons. Single steel rear disc brake caliper with twin piston caliper
Weight: 157 kg
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