Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 10th May 2019

Racy Yamaha YZF-R125 gets MotoGP makeover

Less than six months after arriving in showrooms, the new-for-2019 Yamaha YZF-R125 has been given a factory MotoGP paint job, making the raciest looking learner bike on the market even racier.

Honda has been knocking out Repsol-liveried CBR125Rs for many years and, perhaps seeing their biggest rival’s success and foreseeing the number of owners who will choose to modify their YZF-R125s with custom paint jobs in the future, Yamaha has bowed to demand and created the YZF-R125 ‘Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Edition’ with a paint job and sponsor decals closely matching that of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 MotoGP racers.

Arriving in showrooms in May, the look of the bike is dominated by the iconic Monster ‘claw’ logo of the factory team’s title sponsor. No price has been released for this new variant, but we’re. expecting it to carry a premium over the standard version, which comes in Yamaha Blue, Tech Black and Competition White colour options, and costs £4499.

Under the skin, there are no differences between the YZF-R125 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Edition and the standard model, hardly surprising when you consider that the 2019 YZF-R125 only hit showrooms in January.

 Racy Yamaha R125

Although built to A1 licence specifications (meaning a maximum power output of 14.75bhp) the little Yamaha’s spec sheet packs a mighty punch. The headline news about the 2019 YZF-R125 (which along with Honda’s CBR125R supersport machine has consistently featured at the top of the UK motorcycle sales charts) is the adoption of the variable valve timing system for improved tractability and cleaner emissions. Described as a Variable Valve Actuation system (VVA) that optimises the intake valve timing in relation to engine rpm, Yamaha’s VVA switches between different cam profiles in the lower and higher rev ranges, delivering better low down power characteristics without affecting the higher rpm performance.

In a highly competitive class that has the Aprilia RS4 125 and KTM RC 125 as the most expensive models, as well as the slightly lower spec Kawasaki Ninja 125 and Suzuki GSX-R125, Yamaha has given its contender a serious chassis makeover for 2019 too, with a new aluminium swingarm and bodywork that emphasises the family resemblance with the bigger YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 models. This year’s model sticks with Michelin Pilot Street tyres but adopts a wider 140/70-17 hoop at the rear for extra grip and bigger bike kudos. Adding to the spec, Yamaha has also fitted a slipper clutch – quite a novelty for a ‘mere’ 125.

For 17 year olds looking for a learner legal, sports 125, the MotoGP inspired YZF-R125 might well be the most desirable motorbike on the market.