Yamaha built a better 450. The power is more manageable without losing any thrust. The suspension action has been the class benchmark for about a decade, and that has not changed. If you are looking for a bike that can be plush and handle the big stuff, this is your ride. But the same backward engine that helps the power can throw off the handling for some riders. We had three trackdays on the bike with nine test riders when this story went to print, but we’ll happily keep spinning more laps to learn more between now and this year’s shootout. It will be exciting to see if Yamaha can stay on top with its new machine.