Yamaha Motor Europe made the very first presentation of the company’s 2016 off-road YZ motocross collection today at the revered Maggiora circuit for the Grand Prix of Italy with a star-studded event in front of an international media audience.
Former GP winners joined current MXGP stars to not only unveil the range – with YZ250F and YZ450F models at the heart of a catalogue that again involves strong two-stroke technology and motorcycles down to junior entry level – but also explain how some of the YZ engineering is assisting athletes to glory on the track.
YME MX Manager Erik Eggens introduced the line-up and also took time to outline how the YZ machinery continues to set the pace. The 2016 bikes will bring several new key elements to extend performance and increase prestige. “We are very happy and proud with what Yamaha can offer through the YZs for the 2016 collection,” the ex-125cc Grand Prix victor said.
“For the YZ450F we were looking for faster starts with more control and a smoother and easier engine character and we managed this thanks to an electronic launch control system (LCS) and some engine improvements like new camshafts, valve timing and refined clutch and shifting mechanisms. We also wanted improved controllability, traction and front grip with more effective bump absorption and as well as better braking power and stability. We’ve again been able to deliver due to new suspension settings on the front and rear and revised offset and chassis design. The brake disc is now larger in diameter at 270mm.”
“The YZ250F obviously shares many characteristics with its bigger brother since the new model last year but there were a few goals for the ’16 version,” he added. “More powerful mid-to-high rpm and enhancing engine ‘usability’ was achieved with a new lightweight piston, high spec con rod, optimised crank, balancer design, a new ECU mapping and the same clutch and shift overhaul as with the YZ450F. The same excellent modifications to the suspension and larger brake disc also pinpoint performance for handling, braking power and controllability.”
“Overall we feel the competitiveness of both the YZ250F and YZ450F has taken another step forwards and I think this can also be seen on the track itself where our results show that Yamaha is heading boldly in the right direction,” the Dutchman concluded.
Eggens was speaking partly in reference to Romain Febvre’s superb achievements as a rookie in the MXGP class where the Frenchman has taken his first podium finish, pole position, moto win and maiden Grand Prix victory all within the first eight rounds of eighteen in the 2015 campaign.
“We knew it would be a tough season getting used to MXGP with the new team and the new bike and basically a new challenge,” ‘461’ said while talking through points of his YZ450FM. “I’m really pleased with how everything has been going; the team cannot do enough for me and I enjoy the bike so much. I can do what I want with it. I rode the production version during the winter and until we started with tests closer to the Grand Prix. I hadn’t ridden a 450 much and I was unsure of the power before I started riding the Yamaha but I was happy with what I found and with the team we made a bike that was already very good into something that is easily ready to win. It didn’t take much to find that set-up.”
The positive outlook and proof of Yamaha’s work is also seen in the second generation of the superb YZ250F; a refined version of the motorcycle that won Grand Prix and claimed the AMA Pro National 250MX title with Jeremy Martin in 2014 and also won the AMA250SX West Coast championship with Cooper Webb this spring. In the past month Standing Construct Yamaha’s Valentin Guillod has taken back-to-back triumphs -Spain and Great Britain – in the MX2 class.
“I used the production YZ250F in the winter and was winning races on it,” the exciting Swiss commented besides his ’92’ steed. “It was a great base to build our MX2 bike from and since we optimised the set-up then I have been able to be at the front at Grand Prix. You cannot ask for more than this. I love riding the bike and pushing my limit.”
First AMA Supercross Champion Pierre Karsmakers was on hand to co-launch the 2016 ‘yellow’ 60th Anniversary limited editions of the YZ450F and YZ250F featuring dedicatory liveries and upgraded specs. “It is amazing to be here at Maggiora and be part of another celebration with Yamaha,” he said. “It is a brand that recognises its racing heritage and this is always important and appreciated as an ex-racer but also a fan of the sport. “I have many good memories of competing in these colours and now it is exciting – and an honour – to be here seeing this nostalgia.”
The liveries will be used by all of Yamaha’s official supported riders in the MXGP and MX2 categories in Italy.