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New Yamaha YZF-R3 brings MotoGP aggression to the A2 class

Published: 11 October 2018

Yamaha have been bossing the bottom end of the supersport market for years with their YZF-R125, and 2019 sees an even more radical new version of that model reach our shores – and now the firm has confirmed this sharp new YZF-R3 will also join the range in the New Year. 

The obvious headline-grabber is the new styling for Yamaha’s A2 Licence-friendly mini supersport R3. Gone is the slightly safe and conservative look of the current model, replaced with a dramatically sharper aesthetic which Yamaha say is inspired by its R1 big brother – itself heavily drawing on their MotoGP YZR-M1.

Slap and tickle

It’s not all about the looks though – there are some useful updates set to improve the R3’s handling and rider satisfaction.

Leading the charge is a new inverted fork to replace the current bike’s right-way-up budget item. It’s hardly superbike spec, but the 37mm fork is from KYB, and Yamaha claim the change will improve fork rigidity and damping control to deliver a more composed and sportier ride without trading too much comfort for bouncing over UK potholes.

Those new forks are held by a new yoke with an attractive milled-out top yoke to give it that R-series style from the rider’s eye view. Ahead of that is an also-new LCD dash, again replacing the dowdy current R3’s outdated looking clocks with a slick and stylish full-LCD flat dash that you’d have been chuffed with on a superbike just a few years ago. The only let down is a lack of multimedia connectivity – but you can’t have everything.

The engine appears near-identical, with the same claimed torque output, while Yamaha are remaining tight-lipped on the power figure – which we’d guess is very close to the current bike’s 41.4bhp.

Shapes and colours

The new fairing introduces a much more aggressive face for the R3. The gaping central air scoop is more about show than go, but it looks great and is flanked by a meaner pair of wide-spaced slanted LED headlights that give it real presence head-on. The theme continues through the fairing and to the new fuel tank and cover – which is wider at the knees, but lower in profile. The capacity remains 14-litres, but the shape and style are clear R1 clones, and accommodate the 22mm lower clip-ons as they arc from lock to lock.

Yamaha say the aerodynamic improvements of new fairing and screen have added 5mph to the R3’s top speed. The tubular steel frame beneath looks to be the same.

Available in a classy blue and black, or menacing black and white paintjobs, it’s expected to arrive in dealers by March 2019.

Yamaha R3 specs

  • Engine: 321cc liquid-cooled parallel twin
  • Frame: Diamond
  • Front suspension: Upside-down telescopic fork
  • Rear suspension: Swingarm
  • Front brake: Hydraulic single disc brake, Ø 298 mm
  • Rear brake: Hydraulic single disc brake, Ø 220 mm
  • Front tyre: 110/70-17M/C (54H) (Tubeless)
  • Rear tyre: 140/70-17M/C (66H) (Tubeless)
  • Performance: 42bhp(est) / 21.8ftlb
  • Weight: 167kg (kerb)
  • Seat height: 780mm
  • Overall height: 1,140mm
  • Tank capacity: 14l
  • Price: TBC

You can see this bike debut in the UK at Motorcycle Live from 17-25 November at The NEC.

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