New 2020 Yamaha R1 and R1M unveiled at Laguna Seca

In a somewhat strangely timed, out-of-the-blue announcement, Yamaha has unveiled its new R1 and R1M for 2020 at this weekend’s World Superbike round at Laguna Seca. It’ll be making its European debut at BSB Snetterton in a couple of weeks time.

This latest R1 boasts improved aero, better electronic rider aids and refreshed engine internals for more performance.

It gets a new screen and a fairing that wraps around into the tank, a bit like Ducati’s Panigale V4, and the front-end looks a bit R6-esque to our eyes with an altered front-fairing design, revised LED headlights and the air-intake moving very slightly downwards compared to the previous model. The R1 now features a lightweight aluminium tank and wheels.

For your riding pleasure there’s a revised ride-by-wire throttle which, apparently, feels more natural, and inside the engine – which remains at a claimed 197bhp – there’s revised a valve actuation system which operates revised cams. The Bosch injection system has also received a tickle, as well as the air intake system which, presumably, was all necessary to help meet Euro5 standards.

On the subject of emissions, the exhaust now has 4 catalysts in two separate stages, and there’s a fair amount more insulation on the exhaust and fairings to help shield noise emissions. There’s also a revised rear shock linkage, revised internals on the 43mm Kayaba forks, plus the steering damper has also been fettled.

And the list goes on. And on. Updated launch control. An improved TFT dash. A new cornering ABS which works with the R1’s 6-axis IMU, new three-mode engine braking control, plus a new compound for the brake pads.

The R1M

The R1M gets all of the above, but as usual, chucks out the Kayaba forks and shock, plus the aluminium wheels and subframe for Ohlins, more carbon fibre, plus magnesium wheels and subframe. Plus you get all of the electronic jizzery as usual, allowing you to faff around with all of the electronics via the YRC Setting and Y-TRAC apps.

US prices have been announced as $17,399 for the standard model and $26,099 for the R1M. No UK pricing as yet.

Last iteration before an all-new generation?

Perhaps. This MotoGP inspired generation of R1 was launched amid much fanfare in 2015, so it’s likely that this is the last iteration before a top-to-bottom reboot for an all-new generation in 2021-2022. Against Ducati’s V4 and BMW’s all new S1000RR, this generation is beginning to show its age with its sub-200 bhp output, even if it’s still a complete belter of a bike. More as we have it…