MotoGP-inspired Yamaha R3 on the cards

The updated model looks much more similar to the rest of the 'R' family

MotoGP-inspired Yamaha R3 on the cards

WHILE WE MOURN the death of the 600cc sportsbike (at least here in the UK), its pint-sized sibling is busy taking over the world of small-capacity machines.

And one of the most popular small sportsbikes has to be Yamaha’s YZF-R3. User-friendly, A2 licence-legal and with the racey looks of the ‘R’ family, it’s a firm favourite, and if rumours are true it’s due a refresh for the 2019 model year.

Spy shots of what appears to be the updated model have surfaced in Indonesia. Immediately apparent is a facelift – bringing the bike in line with the rest of Yamaha’s Supersport family – with the new R3 sporting a intake shape similar to the manufacturer’s YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

LED lights are rumoured, as is an updated dash. However, whether the updates will extend beyond aesthetics is hotly debated. Minor refinements across the board are likely, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the engine and frame will see any major changes.

Yamaha was among the first to build its small capacity sportsbike bigger than the single-cylinder 250cc that was the norm a few years ago, with a 321cc parallel-twin engine in the R3.

But if the manufacturer plans to stay relevant in the 2019 market, the R3 needs more than just a facelift. It’s main competitions – the KTM RC390 and Kawasaki Ninja 400 – both offer larger displacement and more power.

Whatever the updates are to the model, it looks like we don’t have long to wait. The model is expected to be revealed at October’s American International Motorcycle Expo in Las Vegas.

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