It has been 60 years since Yamaha Motor Co turned wheels in anger in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing, and to mark the occasion, a Yamaha YZR-M1 in special 60th anniversary colours has been unveiled. Presented by Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Test Team rider Cal Crutchlow, who moved from Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), the YZR-M1 race machine is decked out in Yamaha’s original 1961 racing colours of red and white.

Yamaha started in motorcycle Grand Prix in 1961, when a fledging team of five riders travelled to Europe, including Fumio Ito, who started racing for Yamaha in 1957 and finished third in the 1963 250cc Motorcycle Grand Prix, as well as Taneharu Noguchi, who had a career best of eighth at the 1961 French Grad Prix in the 125 cc class.

For its first year of Motorcycle Grand Prix, Yamaha campaigned the RD48 250 cc parallel-twin, progenitor of the RD-LC sports bikes much loved by Malaysian riders, and the 125 cc single-cylinder RA41. The 2021 Yamaha YZR-M1 follows the colour scheme of those original racing weapons of 60 years ago, including the iconic red bar stripe down the flanks of the bike’s fairings.

This year’s MotoGP season for Yamaha sees Fabio Quartararo teams up with Maverick Vinales in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team, while Valentino Rossi moves down to satellite team Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT), taking Quartararo’s place and joining Franco Morbidelli. In the 2020 MotoGP season, SRT performed beyond expectation for a satellite team, with Morbidelli grabbing second in the rider’s championship while Vinales, Quartararo and Rossi finished sixth, eighth and fifteenth, respectively.