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Yamaha Racing Heritage Club Celebrates Our Rich Racing Legacy

Over sixty years have passed since Yamaha first began competing in the road racing Grand Prix World Championship, what is now the MotoGP World Championship. The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club was formed to safeguard and showcase this incredible legacy and below we look back decade by decade at the races, machines, riders and technology that carved Yamaha's name in the history books from 1961 to the current day.

Yamaha's 60 years in Grand Prix Racing

Taking the Next Steps In Our Never-ending Challenge

Motorsports have been an essential part of Yamaha Motor’s corporate culture since our founding, and the first time a Yamaha motorcycle competed in earnest happened 10 days after the company was established, at the third Mount Fuji Ascent Race on July 10, 1955. We considered motorsports to be a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the strengths of our products to the public. We sent the newly released YA-1 to the course and took a dominating victory in our racing debut, making a major step forward as a motorcycle manufacturer. “If you’re going to do it, try to be the best.” In time, we took the words of Yamaha Motor Genichi Kawakami to heart, calling on our Spirit of Challenge to drive us to take on the world.

After making our first foray into international racing at the Catalina GP in the United States in 1958, we made our first entry in a Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix round at the Grand Prix of France in May 1961. Two years later in 1963, Fumio Ito sealed Yamaha’s first GP win at in the Belgian Grand Prix, racing an RD56 in the 250cc class. The following year we won our first Rider and Constructor titles with Phil Read’s 250cc class win. Between 1963 and 2021 we have taken 517 wins in total acrossd all classes. Fabio Quarataro became Yamaha's latest MotoGP World Champion when he lifted the title in 2021.

And, just as we have sought out racing victories, we have also poured our passion into supporting, safeguarding and encouraging motorsports culture as a member of the Grand Prix paddock. While things began with Grand Prix riders, we have turned our attention to riders around the world, discerning what they need and creating technologies to help grow their potential. We have also developed numerous new technologies through racing and have made it a top priority to keep feeding those results back into production models, and in these ways our challenge in racing has been a wide-ranging one.

In February of 2021 we announced that we will continue competing in MotoGP for another five years (2022–2026). As a company we have never been content with the status quo. This decision represents our commitment to pave the way forward to a fantastic future through racing, driven by our Spirit of Challenge.

Grand Prix History