The YZF-R6 was still a good performer for Yamaha USA in the sales charts, however, numbers had steadily dwindled since the heyday of sportbikes in the early to mid-2000s, and when Yamaha released the 2017 R6 that had fancy new clothes but not a lot of new tech, the writing was already on the wall for the much-loved machine.
The Yamaha YZF-R6 debuted one year after the YZF-R1 in 1999, going on to become the instant benchmark of the supersport category. The model was responsible for debuting a number of key Yamaha innovations, including the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCCT) and Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCCI) systems with the landmark 2006 R6, a machine so good, you can directly trace the current 2020 R6 back to that model in both chassis and engine architecture.
The demise of the Yamaha YZF-R6 leaves Yamaha with no middleweight sportbike—either in twin-cylinder or supersport form—with only the YZF-R3 and YZF-R1 (a jump of 40 hp for the R3 to 190 hp for the R1) on sale. That leaves a massive hole in Yamaha’s line-up, and we have yet to hear of any word as to what the company will do to fix it.
This is a sad day for sportbike lovers around the world, as we say farewell to one of the finest sports motorcycles ever created in the Yamaha YZF-R6.