The rumors are gaining momentum.  With tightening emission regulations in Europe, the Yamaha YZF-R6 (R6) is now a track-only machine.  Could the same thing happen in the US?  If it does, what will Yamaha use for a middleweight sportbike in its sportbike lineup?  What could fill the 700cc gap between the YZF-R3 and the YZF-R1?  Could it be its MT-07?

MT-07 sportbike?

Well, several European outlets are saying that Yamaha may be turning to its MT-07 “hyper-naked” as a base machine.  Images are now floating around showing a fully-faired MT-07-based machine.

It’s a good-looking, swoopy machine that could potentially fit the role of a middleweight sportbike. Or does it?  That’s a good question.

If the R6 is discontinued (for street use anyway), how would a faired version of the MT-07 compare to the outgoing R6?  Depending on your outlook, it could be a decent tradeoff or a dismal performer.  And that’s the problem that Yamaha will have to solve if it decides to use the MT-07 sportbike to fill the gap.

Differences

There’s no doubt that the R6 is a true sportbike.  Its inline four-cylinder, high revving engine puts out well over 100 hp.  The chassis is purpose-built for handling, and the resulting ergonomics are only for those dedicated to track-like performance.

On the other hand, the MT-07 sports a parallel-twin engine providing approximately 75 hp.  But it makes its power in a much broader spectrum of the RPM range, and that might make it easier to ride quickly on curvy roads.  And, it has a much “softer” upright riding position that should make the journey to those twisties a much more comfortable affair.

What do you think?

So should the R6 become a track-only machine everywhere, what do you think about an MT-07 fully faired “sportbike” taking its place?   Do you think that it could be a decent replacement?  And, if you are a sportbike fan, would you buy the MT-07 parallel twin over other inline four-cylinder sportbikes out there?  Say like the Aprilia RS660?  Could a lower price than the competition’s middleweight sportbikes make up for the “loss” of performance?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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