After a public unveiling last year at EICMA, where featured the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 SP, the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 has been launched in Malaysia and priced at RM47,388 including GST. This updated naked sports bike now comes with a quickshifter, traction control, three riding modes and adjustable suspension.

Still carrying the 847 cc, inline-triple, the MT-09 produces 115 hp at 10,000 rpm and 87.5 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. Power still gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox, with Yamaha’s Assist & Slip (A&S) clutch that reduces clutch lever effort and prevents rear wheel slip during hard downshifts.

New for for 2018 is the LED projector headlamp assembly that resembles the unit from the MT-10 litre-class naked sports bike. Also revised is the rear tail light assembly with LED lighting in two rows.

ABS and traction control are now standard on the MT-09, along with a quickshifter for clutchless upshifts. Suspension on the MT-09 has also been upgraded, and now features both compression and rebound adjustment in the 41 mm diameter upside-down forks, while the rear has a monoshock adjustable for pre-load.

Fuel for the MT-09 is carried in a 14-litre tank, and seat height is set at 820 mm. Braking is done with dual 298 mm diameter brake discs in front and a single disc at the back, with wet weight claimed to be 193 kg.

Described as the “ultimate streetfighter” by Datuk Jim Khor, managing director of Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia, the MT-09 represents a renewed thrust into the local big bike market by the official Yamaha distributor. Citing market figures showing Yamaha having 28% of local market share of motorcycles above 200 cc locally, Khor said Yamaha Malaysia is evaluating the market demand closely for big bikes.

During a press conference, Khor said the MT-09 is a CKD model, allowing for competitive pricing. However, the upgraded MT-09 SP, as well as the MT-10, would not likely be brought in due to it being a CBU model and unlikely to have competitive pricing in the local market.

The same answer applied to the last of the supersports machines, the Yamaha R-6, which is the last currently available pure sports bike in the market after the demise of the Honda CBR600RR and Suzuki GSX-R600. “A lot depends on market demand, and whether we can support the bike properly as a CKD unit, so we shall see,” said Khor.

In the Malaysian market, the 2018 Yamaha MT-09 goes up against the Triumph Street Triple S, priced at RM49,000, Kawasaki Z900 at RM49,158 and the Honda CB650F at RM44,995. The 2018 Yamaha MT-09 will be available at authorised Hong Leong Yamaha dealers at the end of January.