After a winter of development before the 2010 World Superbike season, the official Yamaha YZF-R1 entries pumped out an impressive 228bhp at the crank at a giddy 15,000 revs. The Yamaha R1 also featured a much nicer engine character compared to 2009, and a cleaner power band.
A new design of exhaust, lighter but also more free flowing, and some intake mods gave the increase in power to the Yamaha Superbike. The Akrapovic pipe was a 4-2-1-2 unit, which was complicated, but kept the twin exhaust exit design intact on the R1. A new camshaft came along to match these changes, to make the superbike better at the very top.
A narrower radiator compared to 2009, a new design of rear seat/tank unit that is also the rear sub-frame and a carbon fiber tank, acting as a stressed member, were other main changes.
The winter development was not translated to results very early in the year, and there was a rush to get back to some 2009 parts and settings.
Tire life on the Yamaha R1 was an issue sometimes, the opposite of what should happen with their particular superbike, with its cross-plane firing order. When settings matched to tire choices, competitiveness was at hand.
The Marelli system used in 2010 was much like the 2009 WSBK version, with improved maps, but the same basic ECUs.
Yamaha were enthusiastic Öhlins users, running a TTX40 rear shock (RSP40) and the TRVP25 front forks. Race distance was the issue for the Yamaha Superbike, but with Cal Crutchlow (who has taken Ben Spies spot in MotoGP for 2011), scoring six poles it clearly had pace to spare, while Brembo brakes took care of scrubbing off speed.