I wonder if Yamaha isn't just a teeny bit disappointed with, its Yamaha YZF-R6, its middleweight entry introduced few years back. Sure, it looks great, and seems to be doing about 240km/h just sat on its side-stand. But after the public marketing spat over its inaccurate tachometer reading, a merely average showing in most last group tests, and even poor Kev Curtain's last-round flinging away of the world superbike 2006 title, the sparkle has rather faded a little from the heads days following its unveiling in late 2005. So would the new 2008 model of the Yamaha R6 be any better?
Whistling around tight turns on the tight compact Yamaha, everything seems right with the world. The super-revvy motor keeps you dancing through the gears eager to hold the tachometer over 9000rpm. The taut chassis package feels precise and accurate, and it's a pleasure to scrunch down and tuck in behind the tiny fairing, before wringing the twist-grip open down the track's fast back section again.
The 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 is powered by a 599cc liquid-cooled in-line 4-cylinder; DOHC engine equipped with 16 titanium valves. For this engine Yamaha uses a 67mm bore and a 42.5mm stroke, with a relative high compression ratio of 13.1:1. And electronic guided fuel injection with YCC-T and YCC-I.
The Dunlop Qualifier rubbers are great in terms of grip, and the little red and white Yamaha YZF-R6 dives onto its ear and carves its way round the super-long right hander with real precision.
That's later in the day though when the fire is in your belly and you're in the mood for a bit wild. But earlier on in the day, the Yamaha R6 is less endearing to ride. Picking your way between the damp spots and dialing your head into the more technical sections, the teeny Yamaha R6 is hard and none-compliant. Like most highly focused machines, you get more out of it the harder you try and the more you put in - perfect for those days when you're 100 percent in form, but a trial if you're looking for easier thrills.
It's a similar story on the road the day before. The peaks in the power egg you on to scream it even harder, while that sadistic streak in you slams the gears down ever more savagely, to revel in the noise and the fury below.
But then you have to ride a few kilometers to see the islands in the south or the mountains in the north, and the Yamaha seems to work against you. The suspension is too firm for bumpy, less-than-perfect roads (Thai roads), the constant juggling of the gear lever to find some torque becomes tiresome, and you weary of the full-on riding position. By the time you're at the next series of smooth, fast bends, you're ready to chuck the keys away, only to be won over again by the Yamaha R6's more exciting side.
Our conclusion for the 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6, the R6 matches its peers in terms of bald track performance. And if that's what you're looking for the most, then the Yamaha R6 will answer your needs perfectly.