News 23 Jun 2011

Yamaha celebrates 50th year in GPs with current and past legends at Assen

Yamaha celebrated its 50th anniversary in GP racing last night at Assen.

Yamaha celebrated its 50th anniversary in GP racing last night at Assen.

Yamaha’s 50th year of Grand Prix racing was celebrated in unique style last night with a very special gathering of MotoGP riders both past and present at the legendary Assen circuit.

The event marks the launch of the YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery, to be used by Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies at the Assen TT and Laguna Seca races.

The MotoGP media were treated to not just the one-off red and white liveried YZR-M1s but also an Expo containing many of the iconic machines that have decorated Yamaha’s racing history.

Current World Champion Lorenzo and teammate Spies were joined onstage by Yamaha Tech3 riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow along with all members of both teams.

Bringing the past to life with them were the first ever Yamaha World Champion Phil Read and the first non-Japanese rider to race with Yamaha, Cees Van Dongen.

“It is very special to be here celebrating this event,” said Jorge Lorenzo. “I met Phil Read earlier this year and we talked about the many things that remain the same with Yamaha, and also the things that are very different!

“I’m very proud to ride with this livery and will try my hardest to deliver the result.”

Texan Spies was also happy with the new livery, marking a special occasion in his young GP career.

“I love this new livery so much – I wish we could ride with it all year. This is now my third year with Yamaha but it feels like I’ve been in the family much longer,” commented Spies.

“So many of my heroes from when I was a child were on Yamaha bikes so to be here now is an unreal feeling. I can’t wait to run the livery at Laguna in front of my home crowd, it’s going to be quite a show!”

Racing machines from the 1960s through to the present day will be on public display until the end of the Assen TT week before moving on as part of a European tour.