Yamaha’s satellite racing team, Petronas SRT Yamaha, only entered MotoGP in 2019. In its inaugural season, the upstart crew nabbed six pole positions, seven podiums, the Independent Team Championship, and Independent Team Rider’s title. Following the delayed start of the 2020 MotoGP season, Petronas rider Fabio Quartararo secured his first two victories at Jerez and teammate Franco Morbidelli achieved his first podium finish at the Czech Republic GP.
Petronas’ rise to title contention is only aided by its close relationship with the factory Yamaha team. Unlike most satellite squad, Petronas doesn’t race on the bLU cRU’s old equipment. Both the number 20 and 21 bikes benefit from Yamaha’s latest data and developments. Now, the two companies get even closer as Yamaha commemorates Petronas’ 46th anniversary by unveiling a special edition YZF-R1 featuring the team’s distinct color scheme and track-worthy upgrades.
While technologies on MotoGP prototypes frequently trickle down to production models, by the time they make it to the market, the sport is on to something new. That’s not the case with the limited-edition Petronas R1. Starting with the bodywork, Yamaha added some en vogue winglets, filled in the fairing’s headlight slits, and painted it Petronas’ signature black and teal. Further imitating the M1 race machine, the designers sculpted a MotoGP-style tank cover and trimmed down the superbike’s tail section as well.
However, the replica R1 doesn’t just receive a facelift. Partnering with preferred European tuning arm Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART), Team Blue equipped the track weapon with a new carbon fiber fairing kit, racing footpegs, quick-action throttle, and an ECU. The trick components don’t stop there though. Ohlins FGRT forks and TTX monoshock suspend the bike while Brembo GP4-RX calipers and T-Drive rotors help to decelerate it. Of course, with Michelin supplying tires for MotoGP’s premiere class, Michelin race hoops made it onto the build’s Marchesini aluminum wheels.
“We are extremely excited about this project which highlights our success as a team as the first satellite Yamaha squad to score a MotoGP victory in over 20 years,” said Petronas SRT Yamaha owner Razlan Razali. “I am sure the lucky owners of this bike will be extremely satisfied with not only having a great track day powerful machine but be part of our building for success story in MotoGP by owning this limited-edition livery.”
In recognition of Petronas’ 46th anniversary, Yamaha will only produce 46 units of the race replica R1. Continuing the theme, the company priced the supped-up superbike at €46,000 ($54,276 USD). While that may seem like a lot for bodywork, a paint job, Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension, and Marchesini wheels, the package also includes a KYT helmet, branded apparel, and a VIP guest pass to a future MotoGP race of your choosing.
Will the YZF-R1 Petronas edition make you ride like “El Diablo” and “Franky”? Probably not. Will it make you look like you rooted for the satellite team before everyone else? Most likely. With Petronas potentially signing Valentino Rossi for the 2021 season, you’ll want that street cred before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.