Yamaha's Factory MotoGP team goes to this weekend's United States Grand Prix in celebratory mood, wearing the famous Yamaha USA colours of yellow, white and black.
This special livery marks Yamaha's 50th Anniversary and acknowledges the significant contribution made by American riders to the marque's racing history. The Yamaha Motor Company was founded on July 1st 1955, just two weeks before the factory's first bike, the YA1, won its first race, the Mount Fuji Ascent race. Since then three American riders have won nine premier-class World Championships with Yamaha - 'King' Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey, each taking three crowns across three decades, the 70s, the 80s and the 90s.
The livery that Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will wear at Laguna Seca was first used by Yamaha USA in the late 1960s and won global renown when Roberts scored his World Championship hat-trick.
Masao Furusawa, Senior General Manager of Yamaha's Engineering Operations, finds that this is a perfect time for the company to celebrate its first half-century. "This is a moment of which we can be proud," he said. "We will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary at Laguna as the reigning World Champions, while our factory MotoGP team leads the riders', manufacturers' and teams' World Championships, so it's great that we can celebrate in style."
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing, explains the thinking behind the yellow, white and black colour scheme of the YZR-M1 50th Anniversary US Edition. "We chose to race in Yamaha USA's historic colours as a tribute to the American riders who have played such an important part in Yamaha's history," he says. "It is also right that we should celebrate the return of Grand Prix racing to the USA, which is great for the American fans and also very important for the future of MotoGP.
"Of course, this isn't the first time that our YZR-M1 has carried the yellow, white and black colours. Some of you may have noticed the seat graphics on Valentino's M1, which since last year have featured his dog Guido wearing an old-school Yamaha USA T-shirt! It will be fantastic to see Valentino racing in yellow, which is his favourite colour. And this is also a big weekend for Colin, his first US Grand Prix, plus he is the first American GP rider in 25 years to race in Yamaha USA's traditional colours. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our 2005 title sponsor Altadis for their cooperation in permitting Yamaha to race in Yamaha-only livery for this special event."
Rossi's and Edwards' one-off livery is only one aspect of a busy weekend of 50th Anniversary celebrations during the US GP. The fun starts with a Friday night party for media and VIP guests at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Yamaha's entire GP history will be covered on a dedicated and public microsite on www.yamaha-racing.com/50years. The site contains information and photography of all riders that won championships in the past. Members of the media are advised to visit www.yamahamotogp.com, bringing even more exclusive information on Yamaha's rich racing GP history.