A Yamaha YZF-R9 Seems Even More Likely Amidst WSBK Rumours 

Rumours from the WorldSBK paddock have raised the expectation for a new 890cc Yamaha R9 supersports bike to replace the R6

Yamaha YZF-R7 front-on. - Yamaha

A Yamaha R9 has been rumoured for quite some time now, but rumours from the WorldSBK paddock suggest it could be on the way by the end of the year.

This week, WorldSBK is testing in Portimao ahead of the start of its 2024 season in Phillip Island at the end of February. Eurosport commentator Greg Haines is present there and picked up on a rumour suggesting the Yamaha R6 could be about to start its final season in the World Supersport Championship.

Yamaha R6 Race.

The current 599cc R6 debuted in WorldSSP seven years ago in 2017 and won every title from then until 2022 until it lost out last year to Nicolo Bulega and the 955cc Ducati Panigale V2.

It is also a bike which has not been marketed as a road bike for several years - you can only buy one now as a GYTR-kitted track bike. Which is fine, but not exactly the basis for the kind of guaranteed financial success a 600cc supersports bike once was. Further, the R6 is accompanied by only two other 600cc bike on the WorldSSP grid in 2024: the Kawasaki ZX-6R and Honda CBR600RR. Although both won races last year, it is hard to argue that either was consistently competitive with other machinery, even the R6.

Since 2022, the Supersport class has been revolutionised by new regulations that allow larger-capacity bikes like the aforementioned Panigale V2 to compete. Others that take advantage of the new regulations include the Triumph Street Triple RS 765 and MV Agusta F3 800.

A Yamaha R9 would also take advantage of the new regulations, but it would also be the most extreme example, by getting a cross-plane 890cc three-cylinder to compete with a conventional 765cc three-cylinder, for example, as well as any remaining four-cylinder 600s, and 798cc three-cylinder F3 800, and the 955cc Panigale twin.

But, that is the potential reality suggested by Haines, who says that an R9 should be expected.

Of course, for an R9 to be eligible in the production-based World Supersport Championship, one would have to be produced and marketed to the public, which means we could expect one on showroom floors by the beginning of next year if it were to be an immediate replacement in WSSP for the R6.

Yamaha R7.

Last year, Yamaha acquired the patent for the names “R9” and “YZF-R9” in Europe, Japan, and India, amongst other places. This was in addition to a number of other trademarks acquired, such as “R2” and “R4”, and the same with “YZF-” included.

Find all the latest motorcycle news on Visordown.