New R7? Yamaha tease sportsbike with MT-07 engine note in YouTube short

Yamaha have set the imagination of sportsbike fans ablaze with a new 28 second YouTube teaser, appearing to hint at a new faired machine, potentially powered by the MT-07's parallel twin.

The film, simply titled Track. Street. R/World. shows onboard footage from both a circuit and mountainous switchbacks, with a distinct parallel-twin engine note appearing from around 15 seconds. There’s not a lot to go on, but the two-pot motor sounds quick revving, with gears appearing to be dealt with via a quickshifter. The video ends by simply telling us the bike is 'coming soon.'

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This is not the first time we’ve heard rumours of a new mid-sized sporty model from the firm. Back in February, our sources in Japan suggested Yamaha could fill the gap left by the four-cylinder R6, which is now only available to buy in the UK as a track-only R6 Race model.

They went on to surmise that Yamaha would unveil such a model this spring to arrive before the autumn and this looks set to become a reality. Exactly what it will be called remains to be seen though, with ‘R7’ likely to upset fans of the original four-cylinder superbike.

Should our theories be correct, the parallel twin in the latest MT-07 produces 74bhp, so don’t expect similar power to the rev-tastic R6, even with a bit of internal jiggery-pokery.

That said, Aprilia’s mid-sized £10,150 RS660 twin produces a claimed 99bhp and Honda’s £8049 four-cylinder CBR650R makes 94bhp, so it’ll likely need a few extra ponies to take top spot in this burgeoning soft supersport class.

Keep an eye out for more information on the new machine as it becomes available and look out for a full in-depth review coming soon.

Supersport gap filler: Yamaha MT-07 dresses up to replace R6

First published on 17 February, 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Sportsbike based on the Yamaha MT-07

Yamaha are working on a faired MT-07 to fill the gap left by the outgoing R6 according to sources in Japan. Rumours of a new model have been circulating for some time but the latest information suggests Yamaha will unveil the bike this spring to arrive before the autumn.

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The writing has been on the wall for the R6 for years, with declining sales and ever-tightening emissions standards making continued investment (and profit) steadily less likely. Then, late last year, Yamaha announced the R6 would be no more in Europe, with just a few track-only models available for die-hard trackday enthusiasts and racing teams.

With the R6 gone a chasm is left in Yamaha’s sportsbike range between the A2-friendly R3 and the range-topping R1. Sources tell us that this gap will be filled by a new bike, powered by the CP2 engine from the new MT-07.

The parallel twin in the latest MT-07 produces 74bhp, so it’s clear that unless Yamaha give it a massive overhaul the new bike would compete with the Kawasaki Ninja 650 or Honda CBR650R rather than the Aprilia RS660. The CP2 engine is arguably the best bit of the MT-07, delivering a fun and engaging ride without brain-warping power.

Yamaha MT-07

Even with a huge update, we think Yamaha will still want to keep the output nearer to 80bhp, so it doesn’t become an R6-style exercise in chasing the redline. That said, this could well be a useful option for people who fancy mini-twin racing.

To help keep costs down, which will be key to the success of the project, the chassis will be similar to the one in the existing MT-07. Yamaha already have form modifying this chassis, such as on the Tracer 7, so it shouldn’t require huge work. Wheels, suspension and other running gear are likely to be similar, to help keep the budget under control.

That budget could be the key to the new bike’s success or failure, much as it was with the original MT-07 and the thrifty adventurer Ténéré 700 (which also uses the CP2 engine). If Yamaha can keep the new bike’s price under £7500 they could be onto a winner.

There's also a question mark over what the middleweight sportster will be called. Yamaha’s naming convention would point to it being an R7 but since that was a WSB homologation special race bike, which Yamaha are very proud of, we expect the firm will give this bike a fresh label.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade