Some people get a watch when they retire. Not Vale. He’s probably already got a cupboard full of watches. No, Yamaha were never going to get away with that. Instead, to celebrate the years and years the nine-time world champ spent at the pinnacle of the sport, and the fact that he did so many of them with Yamaha, YME (Yamaha Motor Europe) have given him an R1. But it’s not just any old R1. It’s the ultra-special, R1 GYTR VR46 Tribute. And it’s probably one of the trick-est R1s outside the WSBK paddock.
In fact, it’s an R1 that’s dripping with GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Racing Technology) parts. Everything from the GYTR Marchesinis and GYTR Akrapovič full system, to GYTR rearsets, handlebars, slipper clutch and radiator.
And anything they couldn’t find replacements for in the GYTR catalogue, they’ve cherry picked out of the long list of parts and features that’ve been developed by Yamaha’s World Superbike Team. That’s Yamaha’s championship winning World Superbike Team, remember?
Its got carbon fibre bodywork and subframe, Öhlins everything, Brembo everything else, a REX 140 Marelli ECU, a 22 litre factory fuel tank, and tuned engine. You couldn’t build a more trick trackday bike if you tried.
It’s very, very cool. And it’s made even cooler by the special livery, designed by Aldo Drudi, Rossi’s long-time helmet sponsor and big buddy.
Really though, it’s only the paint job that makes it a VR46 Tribute bike. And the fact that they’ve only actually built it for Vale himself. But if you forget about those things, it’s just a really, really, good Yamaha R1.
So if the R1 GYTR VR46 Tribute is so good, why are they only building it for Vale? Can’t we all have one? Ok, I realise that most of us wouldn’t be able to afford one, even if they did release the R1 GYTR VR46 Tribute as a ‘Limited Edition’ version… But I’m sure some people would be able to. And for those that can’t, well, it would be a nice pipe-dream, wouldn’t it?
So come on Yamaha, what’s Rossi done to deserve all this preferential treatment? Why is he getting special bikes thrown at him, left right and centre, whilst the rest of us have to deal with standard R1M’s and the like? It’s favouritism, and I’m getting sick of it.