There are lots of things that make us feel old these days – but the press release that Yamaha’s just sent out celebrating 60 years in GP racing is a new one. The tuning-fork firm first entered the blue-riband world championship in May 1961, competing with the 250cc RD48 race machine in France.
Two years later, Fumio Ito took the brand’s first ever GP win on the RD56 at the Belgian Grand Prix, and the company has never looked back. Just three years after its first GP entry, 1964 saw Yamaha win its first World Championship and Constructor’s title with Phil Read in the 250cc class.
It was the beginning of an incredible journey for everyone involved in the company’s race programme, and during the past 60 years Yamaha has established itself as one of the most successful manufacturers with over 500 Grand Prix race wins, along with 38 rider titles, 37 constructor titles and 7 team titles.
The 1964 250cc racebikes used a new white fairing with a solid red stripe and red front fender. It proved to be a good omen, and factory rider Phil Read went on to win Yamaha’s first ever world title. This bold, simple red/white colour scheme soon established itself as the instantly-recognisable Yamaha look in Grand Prix road racing, and was the forerunner to Yamaha speed block: arguably the most famous and best-loved colour scheme ever featured on a racing motorcycle.
A white fairing with red speed block rapidly established itself as the definitive Yamaha racing colour scheme in Europe for the next two decades right through to the Rainey and Lawson era – and the Speed Block appeared on many of the firm’s road bikes, including the legendary RD250, RD400, RD350 LC, RD350 YPVS and the RD500 GP replica.
And now, to celebrate the anniversary, the firm has released a whole range of special limited-edition versions of its current supersport bikes, with the white/red Speed Block paintwork, yellow number boards and gold wheels – just like the 1960s GP racebikes. The 2022 R1, R7, R3 and R125 models will all be available in limited-number World GP 60th Anniversary livery. The bikes all feature pure white bodywork with a bold, horizontal, red stripe and white vertical lines creating the red speed block.
This authentic race bike colour scheme features an all-red front fender and gold-coloured wheels just like Yamaha’s title-winning factory bikes, and this timeless look is completed with a yellow front number plate, a special 60th anniversary emblem and a red stripe running along the top of the fuel tank and the tail.
Since Yamaha made its GP debut in 1961, the company has achieved over 500 Grand Prix race wins with legendary riders including Phil Read, Bill Ivy, Jarno Saarinen, Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and more recently Fabio Quartararo. And for Yamaha fans, these historic racing colours highlight the connection between Yamaha’s race bikes and every R-Series model.
The bikes are in dealers from November, and will be strictly limited in numbers. More info on prices when we get it! www.yamaha-motor.co.uk
World GP 60th Anniversary model highlights
White bodywork with red speed block graphics
Special 60th Anniversary emblem
Red stripe along top of tank and tail
Red front fender
Yellow front number plate
BIKE TECH HIGHLIGHTS
R1 World GP 60th Anniversary highlights
998cc, 200PS, crossplane, 4-cylinder engine
6-axis IMU with Gyro/G sensors for 3D motion data
Banking sensitive Traction Control (TCS) / Slide Control (SCS)
Quick Shift System (QSS)
Two-mode brake control (BC) cornering ABS
Three-mode Engine Brake Management (EBM) system
Ride-by-wire APSG throttle
Short wheelbase aluminium Deltabox frame
Upward truss type swingarm/magnesium rear frame
Magnesium wheels and 17-litre aluminium fuel tank
Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD instruments
R7 World GP 60th Anniversary highlights
Compact, high-torque, 689cc, CP2 crossplane technology engine
Highly aerodynamic full fairing with aluminium lower cover
High specification inverted 41 mm front forks
Link-type Monocross rear suspension with newly designed shock
Lightweight tubular frame with aluminium centre brace for tuned chassis rigidity
Clip-on handlebars and lightweight rearsets with stylish heel guards
Sporty and adaptable tucked-in riding position
Aggressive R-Series twin-eye face with LED position lights
Powerful central LED headlight
Lightweight 10-spoke cast alloy wheels
Radial mount front brake calipers with Brembo radial master cylinder
Supersport cockpit design with full LCD instruments
Central M-shaped front air duct
Powerful 298 mm front and 245 mm rear brakes
120/70 front tyre, 190/55 rear tyre
R3 World GP 60th Anniversary highlights
Ultimate Yamaha lightweight supersport
High-revving 321cc inline 2-cylinder liquid cooled DOHC 4-valve EU5 engine
Compact and lightweight, high-tensile tubular steel chassis
Radical M1 MotoGP® inspired styling
R1 style dual LED headlamps and position lamps
37 mm inverted front forks and Monocross rear shock
Multi-function LCD instruments with easy-to-read displays
Refined performance with outstanding reliability and excellent economy
Balanced 50/50 weight distribution for agile handling
R125 World GP 60th Anniversary highlights
High-tech 125 cc EU5 engine with Variable Valve Actuation
Excellent combustion efficiency
Compact Deltabox frame
Lightweight aluminum swingarm
R-series LED twin-eye body design
M1 MotoGP-inspired cockpit layout
High-visibility LCD instruments
Sporty and comfortable riding position
Wide 140-section rear tire
Outstanding braking performance