Yamaha's R1 will gain a six-mode MotoGP-developed Traction Control System (TCS) for the 2012 model year, along with a new ECU (Engine Control Unit) with new mapping. It's the only real change to the R1 for next year though, and Yamaha's premier sports bike will again be the heaviest of the liter bikes.

Other changes to the uprated YZF-R1 amount to cosmetic changes, (including the option of a 50th anniversary paint job), a slightly reshaped front cowl, a new YZR-M1 style handlebar crown, and reshaped footpegs.

The Traction Control System has been developed "using feedback gained from the winning Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP racer" according to the press statement.

When the TCS sensors detect wheelspin, the ECU adjusts the degree of throttle opening, fuel injection volume and ignition timing to reduce power to the rear wheel. There are six levels of traction control plus it can be switched off completely.

As the engine also has three mapping settings available to the rider via the Variable Map Function, the 2012 YZF-R1 effectively has twenty-one set-up options, but that may not be enough to persuade buyers to part with their cash given the many options available in the marketplace these days.

BMW's S1000RR has all that adjustability and more, and in stock form will blow the R1 away in a straight line, and Yamaha's addition of traction control is playing catch-up to most of its competitors - quite disappointing in a year in which it is celebrating celebrating 50 years of racing.