Hideo "Pops" Yoshimura started the company that bears his name 55 years ago in Japan having trained as an airplane mechanic during the war. But motorcycles were his first love.
Initial Yoshimura efforts were with Kawasaki motorcycles and a rider named Wes Cooley; but in 1978, Yoshimura switched over to Suzuki. The bikes made massive power and Steve McLaughlin won the Daytona Superbike race that year on a Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000.
In 1979, Team Yoshimura racers Ron Pierce, Wes Cooley and Dave Emde finished one-two-three at Daytona. This was the first time a team swept the podium in an AMA Superbike race and from 1978 through 1981, Yoshimura and Suzuki won four straight Daytona Superbike races.
In 1981, Pops went back home to Japan placing son Fujio Yoshimura in charge of Yoshimura R&D of America. Through the late 70’s and early 80’s, Fujio’s creative foresight and innovative design helped Yoshimura R&D of America to become a leader in sportbike performance technology. Pops passed away in 1995, but his legacy will live forever in the history of Superbike racing.
The year 1996 saw the addition of young Aussie, Mat Mladin, to Yoshimura. After a decent season, Mat left for the Ducati team, but returned in 1998 to Yoshimura where he remained for the remainder of his career.
That year Mladin finished third in the Championship chase, but since then, Yoshimura brought new meaning to the word "dominance." They won the AMA Superbike title in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, with Mladin, and 2007, 2008 and 2009 with Ben Spies. In the process, Yoshimura Suzuki carded an unprecedented and absolutely astounding 53 consecutive Superbike race wins in the premier AMA national Championship.
Don Sakakura, now President of Yoshimura R&D of America has been running the racing efforts for many years now. Starting as a mechanic, Don now oversees the day to day operation of the Team Yoshimura Suzuki Road Race Team.
Don also oversees Yoshimura’s motocross and Supercross collaboration with Team Suzuki, Team Honda support, Team Rockstar Suzuki and Team 199 with rider Travis Pastrana.
Yoshimura bring their considerable race experience to the motorcycling public and offer many services and hard parts for sale. For the closed-course competitors only, there are a myriad of racing kit parts and engine building services available from the Yoshimura Race Shop.
Services include Stage 1,2 and 3 cylinder head porting and valve job as well as reshaping of the combustion chamber for Stage 3 tune.
Yoshimura’s in-house Isotropic Superfinishing Process (ISF) department can blueprint an entire engine and typically includes gear sets and transmission parts as well. Yoshimura say that this process is identical to the one they use on their 240-horsepower superbike engines and 70-horsepower motocross/ATV racing motors.
After ISF treatment every reciprocating part interacts smoothly and the reduction in internal friction unleashes previously trapped power and lowers operating temperatures.
Yoshimura race parts include camshafts and sprockets at Stage 1 & 2 level, and Stage R/Type S camshafts that are AMA Superbike legal. These modifications can be augmented with a valve cotter and retainer set, and high compression pistons and cylinder head gaskets.
On the electronic side of things Yoshimura also offer the state-of-the-art EM Pro engine management system. Yoshimura claim improved throttle response and smooth dyno power curves. Along with both fuel and ignition management the EM Pro also features over-rev adjustment, 3-level engine brake adjustment and a pit-lane speed limiter.
The EM Pro also needs the Yoshimura full race wiring harness that incorporates only what is needed on a racebike, not only saving weight and unnecessary complexity, but also allowing the rider to take full advantage of all the EM Pro functions.
Yoshimura hard parts are not just functional but also gorgeously crafted, beautiful looking accessories for your bike. These include Case Savers and Chassis Protectors designed to reduce damage in the event of a light crash or scrape, a rear linkage kit that gives the rear shock a more linear-rate geometry, and a swing arm pivot kit that raises the pivot 2mm and enables the rear tire to provide more traction.
Axle Adjuster Blocks and a good looking Fender Eliminator kit reduce weight, while Fork Tube Caps allow an extra 25mm in front ride height. Stand Stoppers, Oil Filler and Engine Plugs, Steering Stem Nuts and Bar End Weights not only reduce weight but also look really cool with their laser-etched Yoshimura logos and gorgeous Magnasonian copper-look or black finish.
Similar offerings are also available for off-road machines, both two-wheel and ATV, and for many other brands other than Suzuki.
Last but not least, Yoshimura manufactures slip-on and full exhaust systems for both road and off-road machines in carbon-fiber, titanium and stainless steel variations. The Yoshimura systems not only save considerable amounts of weight, but equally importantly also help the engine breathe easier and release extra horsepower.
They come in a variety of shapes and lengths giving you a choice between a MotoGP-style exhaust or a more Superbike-styled one. These are available for not just all four Japanese brands, but also the BMW S1000 RR, the KTM Super Duke, the Triumph Daytona 675 and the Ducati 1098/848.
Yoshimura’s methodology is the key to their considerable success and their clearly talented R&D technicians constantly raise the bar on quality. The Yoshimura design philosophy is simple: Make the best parts possible and never compromise.