Last November, Yamaha announced that they will discontinue the production of the legendary R6 for good. The Yamaha R6 has arguably defined the 600cc class of sportbikes. Because of its size, it's often described as the sportbike you can ride to and from the office on weekdays, and carve corners on the racetrack with on weekends.
With the emergence of Aprilia’s fully-faired RS660 and semi-faired Touno 660, Honda's CBR650, and Suzuki still offering the GSX-R750, it seems that much of the competition is heading towards 700cc or higher.
Platform-sharing in both the automotive and motorcycle industry is nothing new. The MT-07, for example, shares its platform with the sport-heritage XSR700. That being said, many industry insiders from around the world are pointing out that, should Yamaha decide to fill the gap between the R3 and R1, the most likely outcome will be based on the MT-07.
From a manufacturing standpoint, sharing the platform of motorcycles which are already available will be more efficient and would cost less for the manufacturer.
Instead of throwing money and countless hours into research and development (R&D) of individual platforms, manufacturers could simply just pick up items from their shelves and assemble them to form a new bike with a few minor tweaks.
As is the case for the MT-07, Yamaha would just need to add a few plastic fairings, tweak the seat and the handlebar, and do some light tuning to make an R7. Most important of all, the MT-07’s CP2 (Crossplane, 2-cylinder) engine is a pretty capable powerplant that can propel the bike to a (claimed) 214 kilometers per hour.
What could the R7 look like?
As of now, Yamaha has not confirmed or denied the rumors about the possible development of the R7 that would replace the R6. Folks from AP MotoArts, however, have been building a race-only, MT-07-based motorcycles since 2015.
Dubbed as the “FZ-07R”, it is powered by the same engine as the MT-07, which is then enclosed in a custom tubular frame and race-spec suspension package. Again, this is not the actual bike. But it is as close a look as we can get of what a finished R7 might look like, as suggested by industry insiders.