Unused and unregistered
2002 Yamaha 749cc YZF-R7 OW-02
Registration no. OW02 YAM (see text)
Frame no. JYARM011000000523
'This has to be the greatest looking road bike ever to roll out of Japan, no question. The R7 somehow manages to be aggressive, pretty, perfectly formed and exotic in one utterly balanced package.' Performance Bikes magazine.
Like its OW-01 predecessor, the YZF-R7 (also known as the OW-02) owed its existence to the Hamamatsu factory's need for a World Superbike Championship contender. It was produced in relatively limited quantities, only 500 being made to meet the Championship's homologation requirements, of which only 34 were earmarked for the UK. Road-going versions are rare and genuine race bikes even rarer, and despite their relative modernity both are highly sought after by collectors.
The YZF-R7 was powered by a 749cc four-cylinder engine incorporating Yamaha's then favoured five-valves-per-cylinder technology. In road-going form this produced a relatively uninspiring 107bhp but with the race kit fitted the second bank of fuel injectors was brought into play, liberating 139 horsepower, while in full race trim over 160bhp was attainable. The geometry of the aluminium alloy Deltabox II frame was based on that of the firm's YZR500 Grand Prix racers and the R7 came with the best suspension Öhlins could offer, which in part justified the eye-watering list price of £21,449.
In the World Superbike Championship, the R7's most successful exponent by far was Noriyuki Haga. Racing the Michelin-shod factory bike in its debut 1999 season, Haga could manage only a solitary win but switching to Dunlops for 2000 made all the difference. By this time, racing a 750cc four against 1,000cc twins was reckoned a lost cause but Haga nevertheless won seven races that year to finish 2nd in the Championship behind Honda's Colin Edwards.
Signed by the great Noriyuki Haga himself, this unused example comes with various magazine articles about the model and DVLA Certificate of Entitlement for the most appropriate registration 'OW02 YAM' (valid until 17.09.2014).