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Yamaha - 2004 and Beyond - December 20th 2004


    Yamaha has enjoyed a year to remember in 2004. Our third-generation YZF-R1 has confirmed Yamaha's place as the technological innovator in the motorcycling world, something we have also proved on the racetrack, where Valentino Rossi powered his Yamaha YZR-M1 to racing's ultimate prize - the MotoGP world title.

    But Rossi was not Yamaha's only world champion in 2004. Motocrosser Stefan Everts won his fourth successive title with Yamaha, the eighth of his illustrious career. Another Stefan, Stefan Merriman, took his WR250F to the title in world enduro. Yamaha GMT94 won the tough endurance world championship with their R1, while the R1 was also the bike to beat in superstock racing - winning the American and European titles. Also in America, Chad Reed and Heath Voss ruled the supercross tracks, winning the AMA and world titles on their Yamahas to complete a great year of competition.

    Of course, while it is nice to look back with pride, we must also focus on 2005. This is the 50th anniversary of the Yamaha Motor Company and it looks like being another exciting year for us. We've an exciting line-up of new machines: with the MT-01 we believe we have an exciting new sports roadster which fills a category of its own, while the latest YZF-R6 (and the limited edition R46 replica) continues our philosophy of bringing racetrack technology to the road.

    Our racing programme continues to excite in 2005 and with Rossi and Everts defending their titles with us in 2005 I hope that in 12 months time we are again writing with news of their success.