In May, 1961, Yamaha made its Road Racing World Championship debut at the Grand Prix of France. Racing an RD56 in the 250cc class, Fumio Ito captured Iwata’s first GP win at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1963. Just one year later in 1964, Yamaha won its first constructor title and rider championship with Phil Read. Following the early success, the brand quickly became a fixture on the Grand Prix grid.
Sixty years later, Team Blue revealed its commemorative 60th Grand Prix road racing anniversary YZR-M1 livery days before the start of the 2021 MotoGP season. While we still haven’t seen the special paint job on the circuit this season, that isn’t stopping Yamaha from debuting the World GP 60th Anniversary Edition of the 2022 R1, R7, and R3.
Gallery: 2022 Yamaha YZF-R1/R7/R3 World GP 60th Anniversary Edition
From Kenny Roberts yellow/black color scheme to the Marlboro-sponsored liveries of the ‘80s and ‘90s to Valentino Rossi’s flamboyant Hi-Viz yellow and blue, Yamaha Grand Prix bikes have evolved over the years. Despite that diversity, the bLU cRU consistently returns to its white/red roots during each anniversary year.
While Giacomo Agostini won his final 500cc championship aboard a similarly designed Yamaha, the World GP 60th Anniversary livery takes most of its inspiration from Johnny Cecotto’s 1978 race machine. Featuring Yamaha’s iconic speed block pattern and white/red color combo, the special-edition paint scheme pairs the modern design of Yamaha’s R series sportbikes with the classic lines of yesteryear. The yellow racing number section on the front fairing and bronze wheels also remind customers of the brand’s racing heritage.
The special livery certainly commands attention and only marginally increases the MSRP of all three models. At $18,099, the World GP 60th Anniversary Edition R1 adds $500 to the base model’s price tag. Similarly, the R7 goes up to $9,299 (base model: $8,999), and the R3 makes a modest jump to $5,499 (base model: $5,299).
Of course, with 511 Grand Prix wins and 37 constructor titles to its credit, Yamaha has remained a prominent protagonist in MotoGP. Accounting for 38 rider’s championships and with names like Agostini, Roberts, Lawson, Rainey, Rossi, and Lorenzo in Team Blue's pantheon, Yamaha’s World GP 60th Anniversary Edition has a lot to celebrate. Currently leading in the team and rider’s championship standings, we wouldn’t be surprised if Yamaha made even more history during their 60th year on the grid.
Sources: Yamaha (1), (2)