Japan Spy Photos | 2017 Suzuki RM-Z 250 and 450

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Round one of the 2016 All Japan National Championships kicked off this weekend in Kumamoto, Japan, and as always, TransWorld Motocross was on hand to check out the racing and machinery. More often than not, the bikes of the Japanese series are a very good indicator of what’s to come the following year in production. In the past, we’ve seen several all-new models in action on the Japanese race tracks, as far as two years before they hit the showroom floors in America.

The factory Suzukis of defending All Japan National Champion Yohei Kojima and 250 rider Junya Takenaka are both packed with special works parts, even though they look much like the race bikes of AMA riders James Stewart and Blake Baggett. Though we had hoped to see some all-new bikes under the yellow tent this year, it appeared as if – and was confirmed by Kojima – that they were racing the same basic platforms as last year. Alas, it seems that the 2017 Suzuki RM-Z 250 and 450 will boast only small changes, and that 2018 will be the big year for the RM-Z450. We learned that an all new chassis, engine, and bodywork will grace the 2018 bike, and we may have even caught a glimpse of a photo…very trick!

We couldn’t confirm the rumor, but we’ve heard that a prototype version of the machine will make its debut at a later round of the All Japan Championship. If it does, our Japanese correspondent Toru Matsunaga will certainly get the scoop!

Stay tuned for more from Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, and more, throughout the week!