Yamaha just released details of their 2013 YZ models and we got a little excited about what changes we'd see. But that was instantly squashed once we'd made a quick call to Yamaha Australia and discovered the YZ's only received bold new graphics - although there is now fuel injection on the XT250! It seems while all their competitors are making great strides forward with their motocross machines - Honda having built their 450 from the ground up this year, and both KTM and Kawasaki updating their offerings - the blue manufacturer seem quite content where they are.
The 2013 Yamaha YZ450F
The 2013 Yamaha YZ250F
While Yamaha aren't known for making updates just for the sake of it, there's certainly some talk about the YZ450F's race pedigree. Adding more fuel to the fire was James Stewart jumping ship from the JGRMX Toyota Yamaha this year to go out on a limb for next to no money to ride the Outdoor season with Suzuki - where he dominated the opening two rounds. Over the last few years Stewart has always said he has never felt comfortable on the Yamaha. But the real kicker: even with JGR's massive resources (they have an entire factory dedicated to NASCAR and can turn out custom parts overnight) they couldn't modify the machine to suit his needs. In fact, the last time Yamaha won an AMA Supercross championship was back in 2009 with Stewart racing for San Manuel Yamaha. Incidentally, that was the year before Yamaha introduced the reverse cylinder engine on the YZ450F.
While this paints a striking picture of a bike that has some serious flaws as an elite racing machine, if you come closer to home, Yamaha, and more specifically Jay Marmont, has claimed the last four Pro Open MX National championship titles and one Super X title. And as we enter the halfway point of this year's motocross season, CDR Yamaha's Josh Coppins is currently leading.
The reverse cylinder machine has proven it can compete at the top level and win. With that in mind, Yamaha went with the safe 'new graphics' option, and who can blame them in today's fickle economy.