Yamaha has offered up the clearest hint that it is indeed pushing ahead with a new sportsbike to slot above the recently launched R7 by trademarking the R9 moniker in several markets.
It isn’t the first time rumours of an R9 have surfaced after applications for the name – together with R15, R20 and R25 – were also filed in Japan in June.
However, this time Yamaha has moved to assure it has rights to the R9 name in a number of IP offices, including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, suggesting it is pressing ahead with a model that would be sold internationally.
Interestingly, according to Motorcycle.com who unearthed the filings, the fact Yamaha also sought ‘protection’ for the R9 and the already launched R7 would confirm the plans. In addition, Yamaha has done the same thing with the R2 name, which logic suggests would either be a renamed R-125 or slot between it and the R3.
However, it is the Yamaha R9 many will be interested in as it serves to align the firm’s approach with the sister MT naked range, which now includes the M-125, MT-03, MT-05, MT-07, MT-09 and MT-10.
With this in mind, the R9 would be based on the firm’s new CP3 triple-cylinder 890cc engine, which recently debuted in the new generation MT-07. With 113bhp on tap, a R9 with a similar power output would give Yamaha a more dynamic sportsbike for those who feel the R7 is just a tad too tepid.
Indeed, the R7 – which goes on sale in the UK imminently but is already available in the US – comes in the wake of the R6 being discontinued, but it isn’t a direct replacement and is being pitched as a ‘warm’ supersport.
Even so, the Yamaha R9 would have no obvious rivals with the parallel twin Aprilia RS 660 offering 100hp and the Ducati 959 offering 157hp. The Kawasaki ZX-6R is similar in terms of power with 126hp but does so from a screaming four-cylinder powerplant.
Either way, the introduction of the R9 could be seen as a stop-gap for Yamaha to develop a more potent R1 having slipped back in the power race versus the Honda CBR1000RR-R and Ducati Panigale.
The flagship sportsbike is expected to come up for replacement in 2022 or 2023