Is Josh Hayes's Yamaha R1 different from the one you have in the garage? Er... yes, just a bit different. But his AMA Superbike championships are down to his sheer talent...
In 2012, Josh Hayes won his third consecutive AMA Superbike championship aboard his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1. For those who’ve ever wondered what goes into preparing a production-based racebike at this level, here’s what it takes. Josh’s team started with a stock R1 – the same machine that you can buy in Yamaha showrooms – and then went mad with aftermarket bits. Modifications include a racing-spec Öhlins inverted fork and Öhlins race-spec rear shock, OZ magnesium racing-spec wheels, Braking USA wave rotors, Brembo racing calipers and brake pads, Sharkskinz lightweight bodywork and Zero Gravity windscreen.
The 2012 AMA Superbike championship winning Yamaha R1 also got Graves Motorsports rearset controls and handlebars, a Dynojet quick shifter with a reversed shift pattern (commonly used in racing) and a host of engine mods, including a Magneti Marelli ECU, STM clutch components and a Graves Motorsports underseat titanium exhaust system. Other racing bits included the use of a lightweight Speedcell battery, Vortex sprockets and D.I.D ERV3 drive chain, NGK Racing spark plugs, Yamalube performance lubricants and Dunlop’s made-in-America KR449 rear and KR448F front racing slicks.
In addition to a Yamaha R1 and the above mentioned mods, you need, of course, Mr Hayes’s talent to win races and championships in the AMA Superbike series… :-)
Timeline: Evolution of the Yamaha YZF-R1
1998: Yamaha R1 launched, features a compact and powerful 20-valve ‘Genesis’ inline-four with stacked crankshaft and gearbox input and output shafts. The dramatically shorter engine enabled a shorter wheelbase for quicker handling and optimized centre of gravity. The bike was an immediate game changer in the litre-class superbike segment.
2002: The R1 gets the newly developed Deltabox III frame that featured controlled-fill die-cast construction, which reduced the number of welds and improved rigidity by 30%.
2004: The bike was redesigned extensively and got an underseat exhaust system. The engine was also redesigned, with a separate top crankcase and cylinder block.
2007: The R1’s five-valves-per-cylinder ‘Genesis’ engine was replaced with a four-valves-per-cylinder unit. The bike got a host of new electronics, including the Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I) and Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) systems.
2009: The R1 got a crossplane crankshaft, akin to the type used on Yamaha’s YZR M1 MotoGP bike. This design was supposed to provide improved traction in high-speed corners and more linear power delivery, with the low-end torque of a twin with the acceleration of an inline-four. Oh, and a unique exhaust note too!
2012: The R1 gets a 7-level traction control system that’s supposed to be one of the best in the business, and a 3-mode throttle control system that alters power delivery characteristics to suit riding conditions.