So what exactly is the MT-07 DT? Simply put it’s a purpose-built chassis with a production-based Yamaha MT-07 engine. Multi-time road race champion Tommy Hayden, who heads the program for the Estenson Racing team, goes into a little bit more detail of what they can do within the rules of American Flat Track’s AFT SuperTwins class:
“From a chassis point of view it’s really similar to MotoGP, pretty much everything is a prototype,” Hayden explained. “In particular with our bike, we have made to our specification every piece of the chassis with very few restrictions per the rules. Whereas the engine, I would say it’s similar to World Superbike. It starts off as a production engine, but there’s very little production about it when we get finished with it. Even the parts that are not replaced are heavily machined and changed. The displacement is changed. Pretty much besides the shell of the engine cases, everything else is changed or modified.”
Although it was Estenson Racing that took it to the track for its debut American Flat Track season, the development didn’t start there. It was originally a project that was in house at Yamaha Motor Corporation USA (YMUS) started by Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty. After near-extinction with very little funding, flat track started to rebuild its momentum in 2015. There was an uptake in interest for the new MT-07 (then FZ-07 in the U.S.) engine for flat track racing and McCarty recognized the potential for the brand in the sport.
“The very first thing that happened was that we were getting a lot of requests for engines for flat track racing,” McCarty said. “We thought we could not only sell the engines but build some performance parts for it as well.”
They then went about developing a head with some help from Vance & Hines, cams by Web Cam and velocity stacks designed and made by YMUS. For the exhaust, they tested several pipes and settled on a Graves MT-07 pipe, which provided the best all-round performance. They started off with a 700cc, the standard size of the regular MT-07, before eventually boring it to close to 750cc’s.