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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 315 July 2016 > DRESSED FOR SUCCESS


Its looks may divide opinion, but with the R1’s crossplane crank at its core, the new Yamaha MT-10 promises to make its dynamic ability generate all the headlines…

If I were in charge of Yamaha (now there’s a worrying thought), a naked R1 would have been the first thoroughbred out of the new MT stable. We love the entire range of these self proclaimed Dark Side machines because Yamaha has gone outon a limb, taken risks and put some serious thought into whatare some brilliantly fun bikes. But – and with no disrespect to the MT-09 – in announcing a brave new range we wanted to see a genuine flagship model, a standard bearer for the series, a bench mark for competitors to try to rival. In short, a proper shit-kicker that looks scary and hilarious in equal measure – which anything with the R1’s irrepressible crossplane crank engine in would undoubtedly be.

But the Yamaha Motor Company of late has become an astute business, after years of conservative folly, and with the MT-09 leading the charge to motorcycling sales’ Jerusalem you can’t deny that the business plan has been spot on. Dealers have been empty after selling all their allocated MTs in whatever guise – to the tune of 65,000 of them in Europe alone. We’re animpatient lot, however, and as such have been waiting for a naked R1 for over half a dozen years now since the litre powerplant was given its new funny firing order back in 2009. Well, now the wait is over, the MT-10 has arrived – kicking and screaming – but has it been created with a face only a mother could love?

Radical as the Kawasaki Z1000 may appear and as honed as the GSX-S1000 is, neither are a patch on what we’re dealing with here, so straight out the box is Japan’s most potent naked weapon – 160bhp’s worth of Transformer on the hoof. Yamaha has rightly broadened its horizons to encompass targets emanating from Europe, so bikes like the Triumph Speed Triple, BMW S 1000 R and KTM 1290 Super Duke R are firmly in the MT-10’s sights. This renewed competitiveness is born of two key traits – the use of the crossplane crank R1 engine and the most radical design we’ve seen from of Japan in decades – the craziest concept since the Suzuki Katana. But it’s nothing less than we’re expecting from Yamaha these days.

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TEST THE BEST IN THE BEST TEST Yes, it’s that time of year again when we all decamp to some far flung track and spend two days living the life of Riley; burning fuel, razzing tyres, scuffing sliders and scoffing pizzas. From the moment the light goes green to the second the circuit switches it back to red, we’re out on track trying to understand.