The soldiers in MotoGP battle it out in a way that many of us could never comprehend. They push their prototype million-dollar motorcycles to the limit corner after corner, lap after lap. There simply is no room for fear when the fastest to the line takes the glory, and second place only means you weren't good enough.
Their struggle can be life threatening, but it's what makes it so miraculous to watch. While for many of us the actual dogfight of racing may be a bit much to desire, the thought of a few laps on their rides means instant erection. The majority of us are content to sit in front of the tube and watch the weekend wars unfold, but another man, Enzo Pallara, diligently worked away in his garage. He has transformed his 2004 Yamaha R1 into the closest version of a street-legal Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike we've ever seen.
He might not have the millions of dollars worth of one-off parts, but he's managed to duplicate the general appearance-most notably with a near carbon copy of Valentino Rossi's 2005 Spanish GP bodywork. Though not a professional body man or painter by trade, Enzo considers his hobby a labor of love. In his recollection of molding layers of fiberglass and resin he said simply, "It took some seriously long hours."
He's regularly asked if he could make extra sets, but his special one-off R1 is for his enjoyment only. The same can be said for the unique fill that he added to the right side of the swingarm. It looks as meaty as a MotoGP special capable of harnessing over 225 gas-powered horses, but this is another slick trick by our maverick builder. And he wasn't quick to tell us the technique, aside from applying some sheet aluminum and body filler.
Sourcing an actual M1 engine was obviously not a reality, but Enzo gave his R1 motor some extra oomph with the help of GYT-R cams, JE pistons, a ported head and valves to get him very near 190 horsepower. Graves Velocity Stacks, a K&N filter, Power Commander III and a full titanium Graves exhaust round out the engine mods and complete the high-performance package.
This bike's most impressive parts (after the trick bodywork) are found in the top-shelf suspension components. An Ohlins rear shock complements the Ohlins internals slotted in the forks, while Brembo calipers are also found front and rear. Marchesini 10-spoke aluminum wheels lighten the load further and make life a bit simpler for the Braking Wave rotors to slow it all down.
2005 Yamaha YZR-M1 In 2004,...
2005 Yamaha YZR-M1
In 2004, Valentino Rossi made a surprise move from Repsol Honda to the Yamaha garage, and nobody thought he'd stand a chance on the "inferior" machine. As usual, Rossi proved his critics wrong by winning the championship. His color scheme at the 2005 Spanish GP at Valencia is the one that served as Enzo's obvious inspiration.
Sometimes dreams can come true, but as of yet we've neither had a late-night rendezvous with Beyonce nor had a leg over one of Rossi's rides. Enzo had a similar sentiment, but the difference is that he decided to do something about it. This stunning display of inspiration, craftsmanship and usability is the result of his desire to make his dream a reality. If only we were all so motivated.
Enzo Yamaha R1
Forget the million-dollar Enzo Ferrari with the same name. Though they both have Italian inspiration it's the R1 that has a special place thanks to its amazing bodywork and clever attention to detail.
This is the proper way to apply bolt-on performance and custom bike building. No chrome? No problem!
Buyer's Box - 2004 Yamaha YZF-R1
Front end: Marchesini 10-spoke aluminum wheel, Ohlins fork internals, Brembo calipers, Russell brake lines, Braking Wave rotors
Rear end: Marchesini 10-spoke aluminum wheel, Ohlins shock, modified swingar
Motor: Graves full titanium exhaust, K&N air filter, Graves Velocity Stacks, Power Commander III, GYT-R cams, valves, ported head
Bodywork: Enzo Pallara
Paint: Enzo Pallara
Accessories: Projector headlight, MTGP rearsets, Ohlins steering damper, Gilles chain adjuster and axle blocks, AIM dash, Regina chain and sprocket kit, Pro-Tek triple clamp
Owner: Enzo Pallara
Builder: Enzo Pallara
A full titanium race exhaust lets the beefy motor breathe fuller while adding the sleek looks and precise fit that Graves is known for.
Enzo's own special modification fills in the otherwise hollow swingarm and makes it appear much stronger-exactly like its M1 inspiration.
The special one-off creation of a truly passionate race fan. There was a lot of trial and error to get it right, and this is the only set you'll ever see from his hands.
Engine internals include GYT-R cams, JE pistons and a ported head-equaling up to 190 horses at the wheel. Maybe not MotoGP numbers, but certainly close to a World Superbike.
An AIM datalog and information center is the same unit that the pros use. It's not cheap and it offers more information than most of us could process in a month.
Marchesini's forged-aluminum 10-spoke wheels lighten the unsprung weight while adding obvious appearance enhancements.
Ohlins fork internals complement a rear shock of the same brand. Up top, an hlins steering damper keeps the bars in check.
Brembo HP calipers replace the stock units for more power and bite into Braking's Wave rotors for better feel, while Russell steel brake lines feed the fluid without fading and bulging.