Inside Aaron Plessinger’s Factory Yamaha YZ450F

Fant Files

Does this look oddly familiar? James Stewart will forever be remembered having this number and doing incredible things while riding with it. As another page is turned in the history books of Supercross there are new faces, new numbers, and new teams formed for the class of 2019.  For the new season  there will be a new rider representing the #7 on a Yamaha as rookie Aaron Plessinger moves up in the premiere class in Supercross.  Last year we had the pleasure of checking out Justin Barcia’s machine in Las Vegas during the Supercross season.  While Aaron and Justin are both on Yamahas, their bikes are tailored to each of them specifically. Each factory bike has its own character features about it. We dove right in with mechanic Billy Hartle on AP7’s Factory Yamaha YZ450F.

Starting at the front of the motorcycle, Aaron runs Renthal 996 Twin Wall handlebars. The standard OEM Yamaha YZ450F comes with adjustable triple clamps like the ones shown here. Aaron runs his handlebars in the back position with the bar mounts facing forward and just slightly rolled back. These triple clamps are the exact same you would find on the showroom floor of a 2019 model.

The first thing we thought of when we saw AP7’s very trick control set up was old school Batman and the thumb tacks that shoot out the back of the bat-mobile. Although there isn’t a thumb tack release button, Aaron has plenty of options on this switch for the bike. This all inclusive switch is made by Light Speed . Start button, map switch and launch control are available on this set up. Both the number 1 and 2 maps are available to Aaron during the race. The Renthal grips are mounted to an aluminum throttle tube. The aluminum is stronger than plastic.

GET supplies a box on the front fender with numbers and light indicator to give Aaron an easy way to know if launch control is on as well as his RPM range. If he is in the proper range and the launch control light is on, Aaron is sure to get a better start.

The obvious is that Aaron Plessinger runs a half waffle Renthal grip with grip donuts. When you look a little closer you will find that Aaron keeps his clutch lever pushed in quite a bit. There are two reasons behind this. First reason is the feel. Aaron likes the feel of the clutch when he pulls it in from this part of the lever. Secondly, the team brings in the clutch lever away from the end of the handlebars to avoid any damage or breaking off in the event of a crash.

The team makes their own kill switches in house at Yamaha. This button has been beefed up to withstand the tough conditions of Supercross, including water that we have already season during the season.

A YRRD Hydraulic clutch is added to Aaron’s YZ450F for a better feel and no fade during racing.

A stock brake caliper and reservoir are used on AP’s race bike. All the braking equipment is supplied to Yamaha from BRAKING. While Plessinger runs a Renthal with cross bar, Justin Barcia does not. The button lay out on both bikes are extremely similar but there are some minor differences where they are placed.

The small plastic piece centered on the triple clamps is the antenna for all the GET data acquisition that is ran throughout the motorcycle. You can also see how flush Aaron is running his front forks to the triple clamps. This could be used to help with stability.

Kashima coated lowers and a GYTR line clamp finds its way on AP7’s bike. There is a ton of GYTR supplied trinkets on his 450 that are available to the public for purchase.

Met-tech supplies an array of titanium fasteners to the team. Yamaha was not specific, but they do make some of their own fasteners in house and place them on the motorcycle as well.

Factory KYB forks are mounted to the rookies’s race bike.

Mounted to the KYB forks is a data sensor that runs from the top to the bottom. This lets the team know how much travel his is actually using and gives them an opportunity to make changes during race day to better suit the track/rider.

Mounted to the fork guards is a double button Pro Circuit holeshot device. Normally in Supercross they run the bottom button which very deep in the fork.

Dunlop spec tires are mounted to DID Dirt Star STX rims for added durability. The spokes and spoke nipples are factory OW pieces that are placed on the wheel for added strength.

Some very trick KITE factory hubs are added to the bike with an aesthetic AP7 insignia etched in. Stock fork lugs are used with titanium axles both front and rear. Also a clear shot to the OEM size BRAKING front rotor.

An in house carbon fiber disk guard is added to the bike to keep AP’s front rotor and caliper out of harms way.

Stock standard radiators are used with a mount that can run a fan if needed for warmer races. The spickets and overall radiator has been beefed up for Supercross to take a hit during racing.

Carbon Fiber guards are added to the shrouds. These guards (made in house) serve several purposes. Not only do they protect the radiators, triple clamps, and electrical but they also prevent from water or debris being sucked in through the intake. These have already done their job as A1 was a complete mud race.

A 1.8 radiator cap is added to the bike for the high temperatures these bikes run at during racing. This helps with boil over.

The meat and potatoes. These engines are built in house at Yamaha with the help of GYTR heads, ignition covers, and clutch components. You also get a better look at the in house built skid plate that protects the cases as well as frame of the motorcycle. A GET ecu is used by the team to read data on the bike including water temperature, oil temp, and any information that might help the team figure out if there is a problem or room for improvements to be made. Billy explained that the team knows A LOT of what is going on with the bike.

On the brake pedal itself you will see that Yamaha has re-routed the spring so the team can access the clutch easier and speed up the process. It also helps prevent more mud packing around that area.

Mounted to the stock brake pedal is a brake snake. This keeps debris and banners away from the engine. Teams have had problems where something gets stuck in between the brake pedal and engine causing the brakes to heat up and completely stop working. With the rear brakes engaged it makes it harder on the engine to perform during racing.

While many of the teams run unique engine hangars on their bikes, Yamaha is using the exact same that you would find on a 2019 YZ450F at your local dealership.

The titanium foot pegs and mounts are made in house at Yamaha. The pins and springs on these are absolutely the epitome of factory eye candy.

The swing arm pivot is stock with a plastic plug on the brake pedal side added to it. This prevents from mud packing in behind the pedal and in the pivot itself. On the opposite side you find that the nut locking down the pivot is aluminum.

A factory OW rear brake master cylinder is used. The site glass is removed to avoid any issue with leaking or damage during racing.

The entire Pro Circuit exhaust system is tailored to Yamaha’s engine package. The Titanium exhaust system features a blue carbon fiber exhaust tip and welded PC emblem on the header. Yamaha creates a base for the team and the riders can adjust them during testing. Aaron prefers more bottom on his bike but Billy did explain that the power curve they are running currently gives Aaron plenty of power throughout the entire range when he needs it.

While in years past the sub frames are adjusted by shortening them or changing position to avoid the rear seat kicking them in the butt, the team uses an OEM Yamaha subframe in 2019. The bike actually was lowered in the rear for 2019 on the stock model so the team is pleased with its stock trim.

A stock size Braking rotor, brake line and caliper are used out back. Another in house build carbon protection piece is added to the bike to avoid any damage.

A better look at the Braking rear rotor. The pads on both the front and rear are shaved at the sides to allow Billy or any mechanic to get wheels on and off easier.

Linkage are standard but the team does have options to change if they want to.

You will find another data sensor next to the KYB rear shock on Aaron Plessinger’s bike. Again this is to keep track of what is going on with the rear shock at all times.

A 48 tooth Vortex sprocket is used with DID chain on Aaron’s bike. You will also notice the Kite hubs, polished swing arm, and oem rear axle that has been modified in house for the team to use. The axle blocks are also an in house item. The team can change the length of the bike by moving the rear wheel in or out on the swing arm. Aaron runs his rear wheel towards the back for stability. You also see in the photo a Light Speed chain block.

Under the back fender you will find a plastic plug. This is for the team to plug in during initial start up with a jump pack to supply max power so the battery is fresh and fully powered when the bike takes off for racing. Speed Cell provides the batteries to the teams.

Stock seats are used and Aaron prefers to have them ridden in before use. Stock seat foam is used and Factory Effex provides the ribbed seat cover. An interesting note about Aaron’s bike compared to Barcias is the cut out at the front by the gas tank. Justin Barcia actually cuts away a large chunk of the front part of the seat for the starts. This cut out allows him to snag on something when hes leaned forward and taking off out of the gate. Aaron does not run that style seat.

A close up of the Dunlop spec rear tires that Aaron runs on his bike. Typically the rear tires will change for Factory riders while the front will maintain the same throughout the course of a season.

An array of adjustment inluding high and low speed compression are found on the Factory KYB rear shock.

Pro Circuit provides the shifter to Yamaha. This is a longer shifter than stock to fit Aaron’s larger feet.

The chain rollers and chain slider is stock.

A counter sprocket guard is made in house along with the housing for the hydraulic clutch system the team is running.

A close look at the GYTR supplied head as well as O2 sensor supplied to the team by Pro Circuit. This is another data acquisition component the team uses to collect information on the exhaust and engine.

A Twin Air air filter is used on Aaron’s bike. A netting can be used to cover the filter in particular conditions if need be. Factory Effex works with the team on weight and provides thinner material specifically to them to help that out. In the fuel tank is VP racing fuels.

Throughout the bike you will see titanium and aluminum fasteners which help with weight and strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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