It was a very special gathering inside the MotoGP paddock at Misano this evening as the Yamaha family joined with the paddock and media to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first world title with legend Phil Read.
The British racing icon took Yamaha to their first world championship victory aboard the RD56 250cc machine on the 13th September 1964, at the Monza circuit in Italy. To honour the occasion Phil Read presented Masahiko Nakajima (President of Yamaha Motor Racing) and Marco Riva (General Manager of Yamaha Motor Racing) with the original 1964 World Championship certificate. The certificate will now be taken to Japan to take its rightful place at Yamaha’s Hall of Fame in Iwata.
A copy has been made of the certificate that will be signed by all those present to mark the event; this will in turn be presented to Phil Read to keep.
Phil Read went on to win a total of eight world titles across four classes, 125, 250, 500 and 750. His career is littered with impressive achievements, including eight IOM TT race wins, 121 Grand Prix podiums and more 250cc world titles than any other rider. Alongside Mike Hailwood and fellow Yamaha icon Valentino Rossi, Phil is one of the only riders to have won road racing championships in three or more classes.
Phil Read – MotoGP Legend
This special evening to celebrate my bringing Yamaha’s first world title to them after 50 years is like coming home to the happy team, the reception has been fantastic, its overwhelming for me to see I get this recognition. I’m lucky to be here after fifty years of racing! It’s also thrilling to be here in Misano with Jorge on pole and Valentino so close on the front row too. It’s a little different now, from 1964; I came to Monza with two factory 250 Yamaha RD56s in the back of my car with one English mechanic and a Japanese mechanic who came over for the race in Monza. I think we had our carburettor settings written on a postcard! I still feel as much part of the Yamaha family today as I did then, and feel privileged to have started a run of world championship success that has continued to this day.”
Marco Riva – Yamaha Motor Racing, General Manager
“Our success with the RD56 wrote a page in motorcycle history. It was very competitive for many years and is still in my opinion the best race bike. Our aim has always been to have the rider at the centre of our racing project, Phil and other Yamaha icons such as Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are all still the most important factor. We are the only manufacturer that raced from the beginning of the world championship to now, we’ve never stopped and this is something very special. We are honoured to have Phil here with us to celebrate this anniversary. He is an icon in motorcycle racing, fourth in the all-time world rankings with eight world titles. We hold riders such as Phil in a special place in our hearts over these years for allowing us to win these titles together.”