Yamaha has filed for a trademark with the European Union for the names “YZF-R3” and “R3“. The trademark applications were filed Jan. 6 and are still under review, but once approved, we should expect Yamaha to introduce a new YZF-R3 soon after.
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The trademark application reveals little in the way of details, saying only the YZF-R3 and R3 names will apply to “motorcycles, scooters, three-wheeled scooters and parts for all the aforesaid goods.”Before anyone gets too worked up about the possibility of the R3 being a three-wheeled scooter, it’s important to note that most trademark applications are fairly vague, allowing the applicant a lot of leeway for how to use its trademark.
For example, Yamaha’s trademark application for the MT-09 (known as the FZ-09 in North America) described it as an “apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; motor vehicles including motorcycles, scooters with their parts and fittings not included in other classes,” and we’re pretty sure the finished product was not designed to fly or swim.
While we can’t entirely rule out the possibility of a three-wheeled scooter called the R3, it’s highly unlikely. Yamaha has already revealed a trike scooter called the Tricity, but the YZF naming is reserved for Yamaha’s sportbikes. The YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 are well-established brands, and a three-wheeled scooter would only weaken the YZF name. But there are a couple of likelier options.
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One strong possibility is YZF-R3 will be the production name for Yamaha’s upcoming small-displacement sportbike. Unveiled in prototype form as the YZF-R25, Yamaha may have decided 250cc might not be enough against the likes of competitors like the Honda CBR300R and Kawasaki Ninja 300. It’s easy to imagine the R3 using an enlarged version of the R25’s parallel-Twin engine, which would follow the path set by Kawasaki and the transformation from the Ninja 250 to the Ninja 300. The extra horsepower and torque from a bigger motor would be preferable for use on American roads, just as it is on the littlest Ninjas.
Another theory is the “3” may refer to a three-cylinder engine, following the return of Yamaha Triples in the FZ-09. Yamaha had previously announced it would introduce more three-cylinder models, and a fully-faired sportbike would be a logical follow-up to the FZ-09 roadster. Yamaha’s usual nomenclature however uses numbers to refer to the engine displacement and not the number of cylinders, so a 300cc sportbike is a much likelier conclusion.
Yamaha Motor USA says it has no knowledge of a YZF-R3, referring us only to the R25 shown at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.