This GP season witnesses a landmark of World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) motorcycle racing for Yamaha, having successfully competed at the highest level for 50 years (1961-2011).
From the very first Grand Prix entry in the French GP of 1961 to today, Yamaha has been at the forefront of Grand Prix racing with many victories delivered the world over to the delight of the many loyal and dedicated fans. Yamaha looks to commemorate their achievement this MotoGP racing season with Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.
A special 50th Anniversary logo has been created using Yamaha colors and will be used during the season. The logo will be displayed on the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1 fuel tank, on all Yamaha Factory Racing Team uniforms, within the pit garage of riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies and also on the Yamaha MotoGP Factory Racing trucks.
Several motorcycling events are also planned to bring some of the glorious MotoGP racing history to life. A special demonstration run for the public and global media at Motegi in Japan will see iconic motorcycles back on track.
The legends on the circuit for this event will include the 1974 Yamaha YZR-500 (OW20), Yamaha’s first 500cc factory race bike and the 1978 Yamaha YZR-500 (OW35K) which delivered three championships at the hands of Kenny Roberts. This event will also be scheduled for Assen to allow European fans to take part in the celebrations and see Yamaha’s racing history.
When Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies take their places on the grid to contest the Dutch TT at Assen, their Yamaha YZR-M1 race bikes will wear a unique Yamaha 50th Anniversary livery design, reflecting Yamaha’s legendary MotoGP racing activity.
Hiroyuki Yanagi (Yamaha CEO) says: "As we enter the 2011 race season, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of our Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix category.
"These 50 years of continued challenge at the top level of the sport would not have been possible without the support of the fans, our suppliers and sponsors and the race organizers. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to everyone for this.
Yamaha Motor Company began participating in races from the year of the company founding in 1955. The history of competition in the World MotoGP began in 1961, when we entered a team with riders Taneharu Noguchi and Fumio Ito in that year’s French GP.
In these 50 years of competition, Yamaha has tasted sweet victories as well as bitter defeats. Last year, Yamaha won the Triple Crown of rider, team and manufacturer titles in the pinnacle MotoGP class for the third consecutive year. Because of their efforts, Yamaha has brought us many technological motorcycle breakthroughs.
Shigeto Kitagawa (President of Yamaha Motor Racing) says: "It is my honor to announce that this year marks the memorable 50th Anniversary of our great challenge for the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix, started in 1961.
"Since then we have consistently produced many exciting scenes for our global audience and various motorcycles for our customers with excellent cutting edge technology from the racing world.
"In this memorable year we are planning to express our gratitude to the people all over the world who supported us with their help and expectation. We will do this through the various events throughout the season.
"We will start strongly for the next 50 years remembering our primary mission which is to create fresh emotion, new technologies and potential engineers to contribute for the promised future".