Rumors about Yamaha creating a sportbike based on the massively popular MT-09 platform have been circulating for quite a few years now. Ever since the tuning fork company axed the YZF-R6, there’s been a gaping hole in the company’s supersport lineup. Yes, the Yamaha R7 now serves as the brand’s middleweight sportbike offering, but it’s nowhere near the level of performance the YZF-R6 brought to the table.

That being said, a YZF-R9 seems like the perfect solution to this. Nevertheless, apart from the application of a few patents trademarking the name, Yamaha has not released any official statements about the production of a new sportbike based on the MT-09 platform – until now. At the recently concluded Goodwood Festival of Speed, Team Blue turned heads with what it called the XSR900 DB40 prototype. Built atop the brand’s flagship neo-retro machine, the XSR900, the DB40 prototype differentiated itself in many ways.

Check Out The Yamaha XSR900 DB40 Prototype Showcased At Goodwood 2023

For starters, unlike the naked configuration of the XSR900, the DB40 features a full fairing, as well as low-slung clip ons and higher rearsets to match the sportier setup. That being said, despite being named the XSR900 DB40, the prototype shares very little in common with the neo-retro naked bike, when looked at in its totality. In reality, it’s only the frame, engine, and wheels that the prototype and the production model share.

Check Out The Yamaha XSR900 DB40 Prototype Showcased At Goodwood 2023

The bodywork is completely bespoke, with the bike’s front fairing resembling a boxy, more retro-inspired evocation of what we find in the YZF-R1.Meanwhile, the tail features a similarly 80s-inspired boxy design as that of the current generation XSR900. As for the suspension, the DB40 prototype makes use of an Ohlins rear shock, although not the Ohlins shock we find on the MT-09 SP. Meanwhile, up front, the suspension consists of blacked-out inverted forks.

Check Out The Yamaha XSR900 DB40 Prototype Showcased At Goodwood 2023

Indeed, while the XSR900 DB40 prototype is the closest thing we’ve ever seen officially come out from Yamaha resembling the much-rumored and highly anticipated YZF-R9, Yamaha states that it was built in celebration of four decades that the company has been using the aluminum Deltabox frames on its sportbikes. The aluminum frame, which can be seen in multiple iterations on bikes like the XSR900, MT-09, Tracer 9, MT-10, and YZF-R1, finds its roots in the 1983 YZR500 Grand Prix race bike piloted by none other than Kenny Roberts.

With a prototype already in existence, it’s more than likely that the DB40 is more than just an homage to racing heritage, but rather, a model that paints an exciting picture of the future of Yamaha sportbikes.

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