Last month, the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) provided the first look at the new “Supersport Next Generation” models that will redefine middleweight racing class.
Starting with the 2022 season, the World Supersport class (and their equivalents in various national racing series such as MotoAmerica) will add new models such as the Ducati Panigale V2, MV Agusta F3 800, MV Agusta F3 Superveloce, Triumph Street Triple RS, Suzuki GSX-R750, and the 636cc Kawasaki ZX-6R. The primarily 600cc models that previously represented the class will continue for one more season, before the Supersport Next Generation models take over completely in 2023.
It turns out, however, that at least one traditional Supersport model will live on in the Next Generation category: the Yamaha YZF-R6. According to a list of FIM-approved parts eligible for competition, the R6 will be classified as a Next Generation model for the 2023 season, continuing to be eligible to race in the World Supersport class along with the new, larger displacement models.
One important thing to note: the R6 listed on the spreadsheet is not an all-new model but the same bike as the one released in 2017. The production model was discontinued in 2021, but Yamaha continues to make a track-only R6 Race version (pictured at top) and a version equipped with GYTR race upgrades (shown below with a primer white carbon fiber fairing).
The R6 may face stiff competition in the other Next Gen models, but it does have a long, proven history of success in Supersport racing behind it. R6 riders have won every World Supersport title since its 2017 introduction, including Dominique Aegerter’s championship in 2021, when the ostensibly discontinued R6 remained the most popular bike in the paddock.
For 2023, the R6 will be permitted to use a camshaft and velocity stacks from GYTR, new hoses on the throttle bodies and an “Engine Kit 2023”. What that kit includes is unclear, but it may play a part in keeping the R6 competitive.
The R6’s presence in the 2023 season does suggest one other thing: that Yamaha will not have a replacement for it before then. As we previously reported, Yamaha has filed trademark applications in Japan for a range of model names from R1 to R9. The new R7, while a competent machine, would be outmatched in the Supersport class. A potential R8 or an R9 using the MT-09’s 890cc engine might better equipped, but for 2022 and 2023, it looks like the R6 will remain Yamaha’s Supersport-class weapon of choice.
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