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re: "I am intrigued to know why anyone would pick the R1?"
2 words... masao furusawa. he, yamaha, and ross did in '09 what soichiro and honda did in '69. ie. gave motorcycling the gift of a entirely new engine configuration. need i mention crossplane technology has won a whopping 11 champions across 5 riders since it's debut (2 added just this season). this is known as EPIC...!!!