New Speed Triple RS vs Yamaha MT-10SP
PB wheels out Yamaha’s MT-10SP, the closest rival on spec and price, for a world first head-to-head with the new Triumph
TWO DAYS before the official Triumph press launch at Circuito de Almeria, PB hitched a ride on a Focused Events trackday at the Spanish circuit, to thrash a posh naked of similar claimed power and price against the Speed Triple. Enter the Yamaha MT-10SP, with identical Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres to the Triumph, suspension settings from our Rutter Test last year, and a full tank of fuel.
PB being PB, we weren’t going to sit about with our thumbs up our arses, so we took a datalogger along and strapped it to both bikes, so we can reveal exactly how much better the Triumph is. Yes, you read that right.
Road bikes, track manners
The Yamaha is great fun on track, and the stars of the show are undeniably its crossplane engine and electronics package. However, the nature of Almeria’s race track is that the bike is only upright for 13% of the lap, so the Yamaha’s road-biased riding position, specifically its low footpegs, means ground clearance is a constant problem. Nonetheless, the MT-10SP behaves itself, and does all it can with what it has. Some rearsets would undoubtedly liberate a good chunk of lap time, but the Yamaha is also limited by its weight distribution thanks to its high handlebars and low seat. Put in simple terms, it wants to wheelie every time you open the throttle, which is great fun on the road and track, but no good if you are chasing a lap time with the PB datalogger judging you from the pillion seat.
The next day, and with suspension settings recommended by Triumph’s lead test rider, the Speed Triple RS rocks up to repeat the process. The RS is much more at home on track than the MT-10SP, partly due to its more aggressive riding position, its greater ground clearance, and its smoother power delivery. Its extra 1000rpm makes a big difference on track, too – up the hill between turns one and two, I can hang on to third gear, where I know on the short-geared MT-10SP
Ground clearance is the biggest obstacle to a lap time on the MT Almeria’s baking tarmac was perfect proving ground