Yamaha interview: the MT-10 is our new roadster spearhead
To complete our test of the MT-10, Yamaha’s new benchmark maxi-roadster, MNC spoke with Alexandre Kowalski, Director of Communication and Competition, who tells us about the ambitions of this new bike..
Designed from the latest generation of and its "4-legged" Crossplane, the is one of the most important motorcycle novelties for Yamaha in 2016. With its sinister (but almost!) Front end and 160.4 horsepower , this "hyper-roadster" challenges – even intimidates – and ranks directly at the level of references (read our).
If its efficiency is beyond criticism thanks to its cycle part and its exciting mechanics, this new bike offers a precisely measured radicalism – neither too much nor too little. Another surprise: comfort and practical aspects are not totally neglected (for the genre), notably via well-calibrated suspensions, some protection of the chest but also a 12V socket, a regulator and a complete scrolling instrumentation from the handlebars.
Through other optional elements such as a windshield, a comfort saddle, hand guards and semi-rigid cases, Yamaha even feeds with this novelty 2016, while waiting for a possible MT-10 "Tracer". MNC spoke about it – and many more! – with Alexandre Kowalski, communication and competition director of Yamaha Motor France. Interview.
A strong design as an identification mark
Site: The whole MT range stands out thanks to a strong aesthetic bias, clearly identifiable at the front of the MT-10. Why is this visual signature important to Yamaha ?
Alexandre Kowalski, Director of Communication and Competition Yamaha Motor France : Through the arrival of the, then the and, Yamaha has gradually set up a new segmentation in its range around the same MT philosophy "Master of Torque" and the universe. Each of its motorcycles cultivate the same fundamentals: character, sensations, emotions but also a general design of similar inspiration..
On the MT-10, this effectively translates into a characteristic front face, but it nevertheless shares common elements such as the rear light identical to the MT-09 or the mesh side scoops. It is an identification mark, a way of forging a link between each of these motorcycles, however of different displacement and architecture (single cylinder on the MT-125, twin cylinder on the MT-03 and MT-07, 3-cylinder on the MT-09 and 4-cylinders on the MT-10, editor’s note).
"Collect DNA from R1 and transpose it to a roadster"
M. -N.C. : Do you not be afraid to put off some bikers with this approach and this part above all except consensual? ?
A. K. : This is part of the philosophy set from the creation of the MT project and it is a voluntary step on our part. The development axis of the MT range revolves around specific designs, including on this MT-10. In this way, this new spearhead of our range also stands out from the rest of the production. Of course, the tastes and colors cannot be discussed and it is possible that some customers do not adhere, but it is an identity choice assumed on our part..
M. -N.C. : The MT-10 sacrifices many noble elements present on the R1, such as the rear buckle and the magnesium rims and offers less advanced electronics. Is this a purely economic choice or are there technical reasons ?
A. K. : It is a compromise between the technical and economic approach. As with other TMs, our goal is to offer the right product, at the right price, at the right time. The idea with the MT-10 is to sort of collect DNA from the R1 and transpose it on a roadster, like the Crossplane engine setting and the perimeter frame very similar to our Superbike..
Now, the tariff component is obviously taken into account, hence rational choices. For example, the inertial unit of the R1 does not appear essential on the road, just like titanium connecting rods or magnesium rims. However, the essential is preserved, whether in terms of efficiency or character, as you could see during the test (indeed, the MT-10 is proving to be and formidably balanced, Editor’s note).
M. -N.C. : Admittedly, 160.4 hp and 111 Nm are already very respectable values. But in view of the 200 hp available on the R1 engine, we could expect a little more on the MT-10, just to measure the 175 hp of the and of the equal to equal. What are the reasons for this choice ?
A. K. : Frankly, it is already more than enough! To dominate these 160 hp, you have to do it already, don’t you think ?! Not to mention the speeds quickly reached … Besides, the race for power is one thing, but that it remains usable is another. But our philosophy with the MT range is precisely to offer a lot of sensations, but usable at all times.
"160 hp is already more than enough!"
You can put 200 hp on a motorcycle, 210 or even 220! But what good if this powerful is impossible to pass on the ground? Our desire is rather to go towards the emotion felt while having fun with character engines: this is also what the MT brand.
M. -N.C. : Some European manufacturers are doubling their offer with a sportier and often more luxurious version, with some success. Could Yamaha imitate this approach with an MT-10 "S" or "R", even closer to the R1? It would be all the more legitimate since you are already offering your Superbike in two versions (and)…
A. K. : No, I don’t think so, because the R1 is a Hypersportive which represents Yamaha’s technological gem, especially in its "M" version with its electronic suspensions. It is aimed at a certain fringe of smaller users, people fond of very high technologies. The MT-10 targets a wider target, with corresponding sales volumes.
Under these conditions and in its current configuration, the MT-10 is already sufficiently powerful and well equipped, with among other things its configurable traction control or its driving modes. With this bike, Yamaha is more oriented towards an accessorization approach intended to enhance its road skills, as we have shown you with the .
M. -N.C. : This accessorized version, precisely, she foreshadows the arrival of a possible MT-10 Tracer, following in this your road-sporting approach in character initiated with the
A. K. : To date, the "Tracer 1000" to which you mention, you have it in front of you! It is this MT-10 equipped with optional accessories, responsible for highlighting some of its road capabilities without altering the sporting spirit, even the rebelliousness of the motorcycle..
M. -N.C. : At 13,199 euros until July 31 (13,499 € after), the MT-10 is rather well placed in the category of "maxi sporty maxi roadsters". Do you think that this price, combined with all its qualities, opens the doors to success in this market, which is now losing ground? What are your commercial ambitions in France ?
Volumes between 1000 and 2000 units in France
A. K. : Yamaha’s objective with this MT-10 is to sit at the top of the roadster category, which is hotly contested and competitive in France. We hope that it will become the new benchmark for large displacement sport roadsters. Admittedly, this category is currently experiencing a decline, but it is also a cyclical phenomenon linked to a dip in the product life cycle. From the moment we bring something new, it benefits the entire segment which remains very important for sports roadsters. In terms of volumes, these will be significant but I have no precise figures to communicate to you. It should also be borne in mind that the motorcycle arrives late in the season (end of May, beginning of June), which complicates the estimation of its results, necessarily lower than those of a full year….
M. -N.C. : So what are your ambitions for the second year of marketing? 1000 registrations? 2000 ?
A. K. : More than 1000, that’s a certainty because our ambitions are higher on this model, but less than 2000.
Interview by Alexandre BARDIN
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