Last week, we broke the news that Yamaha had filed a trademark application for the European Union for the use of “YZF-R3” and “R3“. We can now confirm that Yamaha has filed a similar trademark application for “R3” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a strong indication that Yamaha intends to offer the motorcycle in the U.S.
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The USPTO filing (registration #86160385) is dated Jan. 8, 2014, two days after the E.U. application. As with the E.U. filing, the application seeks the use of the trademark for “Motorcycles, scooters, three-wheeled scooters and structural parts for all the aforesaid goods”, but we can all-but rule out the possibility the R3 will be a scooter or three-wheeler. The USPTO application also references two prior trademark registrations for the R1 and R6 so the R3 will assuredly also be a sportbike.
The smart money is still on the R3 being the name of a new small-displacement sportbike. Yamaha’s naming conventions use numbers to indicate engine displacement, so the theory of the R3 being a Triple is highly unlikely. The Yamaha FZ-09 for example, is a Triple, but the 09 refers to its 847cc displacement. Likewise, we should expect the R3 to have a displacement of close to 300cc.
Yamaha revealed a prototype for a 249cc sportbike called the R25 at EICMA, but with its likely main competitors being the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Honda CBR300R, Yamaha will find it a challenge to introduce a 250 model in western markets. Yamaha will likely offer the R25 in markets with engine or licensing restrictions at the 250 level, while markets such as the U.S. which have no such limits will get the larger R3 instead.
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Until Yamaha makes an official announcement however, this remains purely speculation. Trademark applications are typically made several months before a product is introduced, and we will likely have to wait for the big motorcycle shows in the fall such as EICMA or Intermot for Yamaha to reveal the R3.