AFT has announced Yamaha as title sponsor of this weekend's Atlanta Short Track. It led me to wonder how much we should read into Yamaha's increased interest in flat track.
There is a possibility it's all a marketing precursor to an MT-07 based modern street tracker, that resembles the Estenson MT-07 DTs of Johnson, Beach (above) and Carlile? Or is the radically modern MT-07 DT so far away from the traditional view of a flat track race bike that the MT range of road bikes will benefit from Yamaha race wins anyway, start tracker or no street tracker?
It matters because if they do build a street tracker it could lead to Yamaha pumping more money into AFT, establishing themselves as a factory team for the first time since Kenny Roberts' era. Pessimists might point out that Ducati built a flat track themed Scrambler, and hung around for two, or was it three races?
Yamaha already seem far more committed to the Estenson team than Ducati were to the Lloyd Brothers. What will it lead to? We will wait and see.
Photo: Scott Hunter/AFT