High Res Pictures
Yamaha has unleashed a new weapon on the Supersport World Championship this season in the form of the third-generation YZF-R6.
Built to compete on the racetrack, the latest R6 marks a shift in emphasis for Yamaha. While previous models were conceived first and foremost as road bikes, the 2006 version has been built with the aim of providing maximum performance at the circuit.
Yamaha makes a range of kit parts to allow racers to change parts permitted under the FIM supersport regulations, but the company knows only too well that in racing the base bike has to be good if you're going to have a chance of winning. And as the third generation R6 is one of the first models to use technology transfer from the YZR-M1 MotoGP machine, its pedigree looks ideal for the cut and thrust of supersport competition. One such example is the fuel injection system with its secondary injectors, working in tandem with the main injector to ensure optimum efficiency in the higher rpm range and giving a huge benefit to the supersport racers, who are bound by the rules to use the production machine's throttle bodies, injectors and butterfly mechanisms - hardly a handicap when the stock bike features equipment like this.
Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking features to come from the M1 is the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T). Yamaha's engineers made the decision to use this highly advanced throttle control system on the R6 because it is ideally suited to the extremely wide rev-range of the new 600cc motor. YCC-T features an engine management unit with around five times the processing power of the outgoing model, ensuring the throttle delivers outstandingly smooth and highly responsive action. In particular, the YCC-T system optimises the relationship between the engine speed, intake air flow and drive torque curve, to give a smooth and controlled power delivery for such a high revving, high performance engine.
The engine itself is a short-stroke unit capable of revving to 17,500 rpm in standard trim. The switch from the 65.5 x 44.5 mm dimensions to 67 x 42.5 mm of the all-new 2006 engine should provide a platform for more power. The combustion chamber design has been made more compact, which has led to an increased compression and at the same time the valve angles have been reduced. Intake angle is now 11.5 degrees, compared with the 2005 model's 14 degrees while exhaust angle is now 12 degrees to the previous bike's 14. In addition to the reduced valve angle, the valve diameter has been increased to 27 mm inlet and 23 mm exhaust. While race teams may change the actual valves under FIM supersport regulations, the diameter and materials must be the same as on the standard bike. Therefore, the R6 features lightweight titanium valves for the first time, resulting in increased rpm and, in turn, increased power output.
Other important technical features making a significant contribution to the performance of both the road and race bikes are the new crank and pistons. These are two more areas where the racers must remain absolutely standard. The inertial mass of the crank has been reduced compared with the 2005 model, and this ensures that the new engine is able to over improved pick-up and acceleration, while the new pistons are each 13 grams lighter, reducing horsepower losses and vibration at high revolutions.
But there's much more to the new YZF-R6 than its engine. A new Deltabox chassis has been designed following a 'straight frame' concept. Using information gained from the YZR-M1 project, the steering head, swingarm pivot and rear axle are placed in a single plane to achieve the desired balance and rigidity. The new chassis puts more weight over the front wheel, it's 52.5/47.5 weight distribution replicating Mr. Rossi's M1. The massive air induction system is another M1-derived feature, going straight through the machine's headstock and using the inside of the frame as the air cleaner box.
As world supersport rules insist on the standard front fork being used (only the internals can be changed), the 2006 YZF-R6 comes with fully-adjustable 41mm upside-down-front-forks, which feature a unique two-way compression stroke damping adjustment to allow both low and high speed damping to be tuned for even more control on the racetrack.
Supersport racing is one of the most popular racing classes at both world and national levels and Yamaha's YEC (Yamaha Engineering Corporation) kit parts give private teams the full range of items needed to turn their R6 into a world championship contender - surely one of the contributing factors in making it far and away the most popular machine on the 2006 world supersport grid. As Yamaha's official team in the class Yamaha Motor Germany will carry out further tuning on the machines of Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes, including the production of special parts developed in-house at their Neuss headquarters.