Like you, we would have assumed that Kandō was the name used for the latest prototype to emerge from Yamaha’s R&D department. However, it turns out that Kandō is something completely different. The Japanese term is used to describe the feeling you would get when experiencing something that raises deep satisfaction and extreme excitement.
Despite the economic hardships many motorcycle manufacturers are currently facing, 2011 will mark a year filled with Kandō for Yamaha. The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing this year and have set up a special website that features an archive with Yamaha’s racing history. The website will also be regularly updated with columns and videos from key people involved in Yamaha’s racing story.
Also planned for later this year are demonstration runs of vintage Yamaha race machines such as the 1974 YZR-500 (OW20) – Yamaha’s first 500 cc two-stroke factory bike – and the 1978 YZR-500 (OW35K) that Kenny Roberts used to win three World Championships. The vintage bikes will be run on the track at Motegi in Japan and at Assen, Netherlands as part of the MotoGP round. The Dutch TT at Assen will also see the Yamaha YZR-M1s used by Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies fitted in a special 50th Anniversary livery meant to mark Yamaha’s very first Grand Prix entry in 1961.
“Yamaha Motor Company began participating in races from the year of our company’s founding in 1955,” explains Hiroyuki Yanagi, President and CEO of the Yamaha Motor Co. “In these 50 years of competition, Yamaha has tasted sweet victories as well as bitter defeats, but through it all we have never lost the ‘spirit of challenge’ that we started out with. Those ongoing efforts have brought us countless technological breakthroughs and, equally important, has enabled us to share the Kando of racing with people all over the world.”
Yamaha’s current racing efforts can be followed at: www.yamaha-racing.com.