During the late 80s, Honda had proven to be an unbeatable force at the World SuperBike arena with the mighty RC30. To counter their Japanese rival’s efforts, Yamaha started to develop their own project. While initially the company came up with the Yamaha FR750 that took second place during the inaugural year of the World SuperBike Championship in 1988, their efforts where only intermediate of what they actually wanted to achieve with the machine.
The following year, Yamaha introduced the OW01, which was Yamaha’s homologation special aimed to destroy Honda’s prevalence in the sport. While the frame and engine were developed off the previous FZ750, they were both made from much lighter materials. The motorcycle received öhlins suspensions at the back with remote hydraulic preload adjustment alongside a brand new six-speed gearbox. There was lots of titanium and magnesium everywhere throughout the machine, specially in the engine, which was taken to its maximum performance with the help of lightweight titanium connecting rods, a close ratio gearbox, EXUP and flat-slide carburettors. Dubbed the Yamaha FZR750R OW01, only 500 examples of the machine were ever made for the general public. This here is one such example that’s going up for auction at Mecum. Sadly though, the Yamaha FZR750R never could one-up the Honda RC30, yet still survives today as an even rarer motorcycle than the later, purpose built with top-level racing in mind. Photos courtesy Mecum