Yamaha Motor Company
Yamaha Motor Company, LTD is the world’s largest piano maker and in 1955, then Yamaha CEO Genichi Kawakami, took Yamaha into the field of motorized vehicles.
The company’s intensive research into metal alloys for use in acoustic pianos had given Yamaha wide knowledge of the making of lightweight, yet sturdy and reliable metal constructions. This knowledge was easily applied to the making of metal frames and motor parts for motorcycles. The Yamaha corporate logo is composed of three tuning forks placed on top of each other in a triangular pattern.
Yamaha has a long racing heritage with riders such as Bob Hannah, Heikki Mikkola, Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Jeremy McGrath, Stefan Merriman, Chad Reed, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Ben Spies and James Stewart. Yamaha has compiled more than 38 World Championships, including five in MotoGP and nine in the preceding 500cc 2-stroke class, and one in World Superbike.
Jorge Lorenzo is the 2010 World Champion. He won an impressive nine races to Valentino Rossi’s two for a team total of 11 wins, which is Yamaha’s most successful year ever in MotoGP. For the third consecutive year, Yamaha has won the MotoGP Triple Crown of rider, team and manufacturer championship titles.
The indomitable and irrepressible Valentino Rossi took his ninth World Championship crown in 2009. It was the Italian’s seventh title in the premier class, his fourth for Yamaha – more than he has won with any other manufacturer.
Ben Spies made history by claiming his and Yamaha’s first-ever World Superbike title in 2009. Spies’ focused performance put him in the history books as the most successful rookie ever in World Superbike with 11 poles and 14 out of a possible 28 race wins during the season. Cal Crutchlow won the World Supersport title for Yamaha in 2009 as well. In 2010, Spies was MotoGP Rookie of the year and for 2011 will be on the factory MotoGP team with Jorge Lorenzo.
Josh Hayes, the Yamaha/Graves Motorsport rider won the 2010 AMA Superbike Championship. It is the first for Hayes and the first for Yamaha in America’s premier road racing class since 1991 when Thomas Stevens won.
Yamaha was instrumental in helping Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca bring MotoGP back to the U.S. in providing a safe track for the riders. As a sponsor of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Yamaha has contributed a significant portion of the $7 million in safety modifications and improvements at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2006. This falls on the heels of the $2 million in changes contributed by Yamaha that allowed the MotoGP World Championship to return to the circuit in 2005.
These track safety improvements were required by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) to homologate the track for MotoGP.
The first phase was to increase runoff area in Turn 9 (Rainey Curve). The Turn 9 bridge was moved to an area between Turns 8A and 9. Other changes made to the circuit included widening the front straight by moving the outside (riders’ right) wall back and increased the run-off area in several turns, including Turn 2 (Andretti Hairpin).
Yamaha is the official motorcycle at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a Proud Sponsor of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.
In addition, the circuit has the Yamaha Marketplace, the popular vendor area located in the lakebed. It contains vendors representing all areas of motorsports, memorabilia, product demonstrations and entertainment.