Bleeding off speed is ably handled by Brembo monobloc calipers - specially made for the R1 due to its unique radial-mount pitch - biting on 310mm Braking steel rotors. "Josh has usually stuck with the 310s," recalls Halverson. "He hasn't raced with the 320s at all, and only tried them once during a practice session this year at Road America, I think."
Wheels are O•Z forged magnesium units, which the Graves Yamaha team found had some significant advantages over their previous rims. "They're substantially lighter than the wheels we've used in the past, with the front ending up about 0.3 pounds lighter, and the rear 1.9 pounds lighter" said Halverson, adding that "Not only were they lighter overall, but they also have less rotational mass out by the rim, which helped acceleration." Crew chief Roach also noted that, "We used to have problems with tire spin on the rims (causing tire imbalance), but the O•Z wheels are specially treated to prevent that. After switching to the O•Z wheels, that was never a problem."
The rules specifying standardized 3.5 x 17-inch front and 6.0 x 17-inch rear wheels (versus the varying-width 16.5-inch wheels preferred by both MotoGP and World Superbike that provide a bigger footprint and better bump absorption at max lean angles) have resulted in a drastic reduction in costs, according to Halverson. "Now we only have to carry six wheels instead of the 28 or so we used to carry. In the past, you had to make sure you had something like six of every size wheel to accommodate all the different tires in trying to make the rider happy."
Another component that greatly expanded the R1 superbike's potential is the Magneti Marelli SRT-EDL engine control unit. While the more popular Marvel 4 ECU found on the Yamaha World Superbike R1 and YZR-M1 MotoGP machine boasts vast computational and operational capabilities, the Graves Yamaha team found the smaller and lighter SRT-EDL unit to provide all the performance they needed at a fraction of the Marvel 4's price.
No simple seat pad on top...
No simple seat pad on top of the Sharkskinz tailpiece here. A lot of work went into shaping the seat pad in order to suit Hayes' preference for staying in one spot on the seat. The subtle reshaping of the fuel tank by Gmeiner Racing in Gerrmany is also visible.
Note the bracing welded to...
Note the bracing welded to the top of the steering head section of the frame. This was done to provide slightly better stability during ultra-aggressive trail-braking maneuvers by Hayes.
Trick racing radiator made...
Trick racing radiator made by MTS of Italy has the necessary surface area to shed the heat generated by the Graves R1 engine. The YEC kit racing rotor/stator and cover is one of the few Yamaha kit parts still used by the Graves Yamaha team.
Back To Basics
"Ben (Bostrom) liked all the rider aid systems," recalled Hayes about his Yamaha teammate in 2009. "In fact, the more the better, it seemed. Myself, I felt they were more of a hindrance than a help, because we simply didn't have the budget to do enough testing to dial it in enough where I felt it was beneficial to my lap times. So I just told them to shut everything off and start from scratch. And that's how I rode the bike for the whole season." As I threw my leg over the warmed-up R1 in the chilly 50 degree F weather at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 10-turn, 1.8-mile Classic Course, Roach told me, "The bike is exactly the same as it came off the track at Barber (Motorsports Park, the last round of the 2010 season). Same suspension settings, gearing, everything. So there's no traction control. You want us to turn it on?" I shook my head no. "OK then. Have fun!"
When you're dealing with horsepower levels that are approaching 200, it's difficult to keep fueling coming off a closed throttle smooth and crisp without being abrupt. All too often, the aggressive power levels mean that throttle response follows suit, and many riders want that belligerent character to help them break the rear tire loose to help steer the bike. Hayes' R1 had no such problems, and actually combined the best of both worlds; it was smooth enough that you didn't need a brain surgeon's care getting on the throttle in a corner, yet strong and responsive enough to break the tire loose at will under power at nearly any point in the powerband.
There's plenty of serious acceleration on tap from as low as 6000 rpm, and just as with the stock R1, midrange power is abundant, with a slight jump at 11,000 rpm. From that point, the Yamaha gobbles up the rest of its rev range (as well as time and space) at a ferocious rate, making power all the way until the soft rev limiter kicked in at 14,500 rpm (with the shift lights on top of the Marelli dash beginning to flash at 14,250 rpm). It was surprising how smooth the R1 superbike's power was overall, with no monstrous midrange or top-end hit despite its wide powerband. "That's one of things we worked on during the year, to smooth out the power," said Roach, "and we're focusing even more on that for 2011."