Yamaha To Run Special Red-And-White Anniversary Livery At Assen And Laguna Seca

One of the advantages of not having a title sponsor is the freedom to use special liveries on your motorcycle as and when you see fit. Throughout the preseason, while Yamaha haggled over potential title sponsorship deals with companies such as Telefonica, Petronas and AirAsia, in the back of their minds, the Japanese factory knew that if they failed to secure a title sponsor, they would be able instead to use the season - and Jorge Lorenzo's #1 plate - to promote their own brand in their 50th anniversary year in world championship motorcycle racing.

And this is exactly what they have done. In addition to running their current bike in corporate (blue and white) colors throughout the year, Yamaha will be a special anniversary livery for the Assen and Laguna Seca rounds of MotoGP this year. The classic red-and-white livery is based on the colors the factory sported when they first entered the sport 50 years ago, and the colors used throughout Yamaha's years of successful racing in the 1970s and '80s. 

The other classic Yamaha livery - the yellow-and-black bumblebee sported by Kenny Roberts in the '70s - will not be used at Laguna Seca, as it was back in 2006. For the bumblebee is Yamaha USA's corporate colors, rather than Yamaha Japan. For fans of the yellow-and-black livery - among which we number ourselves - there is still hope; the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix takes place at the end of August, so there is still time to announce the livery for that race.

Below is the official press release announcing the special livery, as well as hi-res photos of the livery, courtesy of Yamaha Racing:

Yamaha Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in Red and White

2011 marks a very special moment in two wheeled motorsport as the 50th Anniversary of World Championship Grand Prix racing for Yamaha. As part of a series of ongoing activities to celebrate this landmark Yamaha Factory Racing will run a special livery, the ‘YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition' for the Assen TT and Laguna Seca races.

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and 2010 Rookie of the Year Ben Spies will unveil the livery at a special event on Wednesday 22nd June close to the Assen circuit

The unique red and white livery design pays homage to the iconic Yamaha Factory Racing liveries of the past with a modern twist. The red and white livery will be used by Yamaha Factory Racing team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies. The colours will also appear on all Yamaha staff and team crew as well as the Yamaha Factory Racing team's pit box.

A special 50th Anniversary logo is also being used this season. The logo is proudly displayed on the 2011 YZR-M1 fuel tank, on all Yamaha Factory Racing Team uniforms, within the pit garage of riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies and also on the Yamaha Factory Racing trucks.

The Yamaha World GP 50th Anniversary is also celebrated online with a special dedicated website www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/race/wgp-50th/ (English). The website features an impressive archive tracking the history of Yamaha's involvement with racing along with detailed historical information. Throughout the season the site will be regularly updated with columns and videos along with exclusive messages and interviews of key people involved in the World Championship Grand Prix racing story of Yamaha.

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But Yamaha would be better be offer spending time on working on why the bike that has been clearly the best in recent history seems to be going rapidly backwards this year.

Such a beautifully proportioned racing motorcycle the M1. Those red speed blocks are 2hp each don't you know?

Does anyone know what Chassis Lorenzo raced at Le Man's 2010 or 2011? Or were these mere rumours.

I would also love to know which chassis Lorenzo was running.

"Those red speed blocks are 2hp each don't you know?"

Too funny, but seriously that looks awesome! Almost enough to forget they don't have a full sponsor.

I sure hope Ben Spies can get it together, Crutchlow isn't making him look good...

How did Crutchlow make Spies look bad?

Crutchlow crashed on lap 6 and Ben had better lap times on 4 of the 5 laps prior to Cal's crash. When Cal picked up the pace to catch Ben he went down in that attempt.

Spies is definetly having some issues and I think he just wanted to be sure to finish this race. He doesn't like the track and his conifdence was down due to the DNF's he has suffered.

Cal is for sure doing better as a rookie than Ben is as a factory rider but it is well known that this year's Tec 3 machine is much better than last year's, and this years's factory M1's are having acceleration problems.

Ben (and Yamaha) will soon get it together and be his old speedy self.

Something is going on over there that the public does not know about. He was setting good test times and sometimes better than his teammate. Hope whatever it is that is wrong gets fixed.

Cal Crutchlow is VERY impressive this year. But forget both of those guys, COLIN EDWARDS, the one person who has consistantly been the person to seperate who is an Alien from who is not. Has gone pretty good this season. He has been pretty solid. Being one of the oldest, (if not THE oldest), person on the grid, says alot.

My all time FAVORITE Yamaha livery!! Blue is for suzuki by gosh..

what did crawl into Ben's head??

HOPE the Tuning Forks Team recovers soon
it doesn't do my brain any good to see the hondas dominate...

That is absolutely stunning. Why don't they run it like that all year? The dark blue is boring. Proper blue and white is for Suzukis anyway, like captaincombat said (14:36).
All that's missing now is a big number 1 plate on the sides. Like there should be as a rule.
Next thing to do for Yamaha (apart from getting more speed) is bring an R1 looking like this. Even just that fairing would make it better on track AND on the road.

The bike looks great and i want one. At preseason tests both JLo and Edwards were claiming how the 2011 bike that JLo developed was better in all areas than the 2010 that Rossi developed.

Low and behold at Estoril and LeMans rumors of poor stability under braking in the front end are causing them to go back to the 2010 chassis. The same bikes that Rossi developed and have been dominating since 2008.This chassis that JLo developed is only four races old.

What could have changed in 4 races? Seems JLO developmental skills are lacking and the fear of stagnation appears to be real.

Great looking bike!

I grew up on dirtbikes. As far as i'm concerned yamahas are blue and suzukis are yellow!

As to the performance... I think if Stoner got an m1 ride instead of an rc212v then we would all be talking about how the yamaha is the best bike.

That is a proper Yamaha! In my opinion that's the livery they should be running this year. No idea where the blue came from as being the traditional race colours?

I think the Yams will go forward on the next engine refresh, Lorenzo isn't exactly out of the title hunt!

Anyone notice the difference in the seats on no.11 and no.1 bikes? Does Spies need the extra space?