2015 Suzuka 8 Hours SST Class Winners and
YZF-R1 Developers Talk About the Machine
Two very important things happened for Yamaha in the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours: the company’s first win in 19 years—its 5th ever—and the debut of the latest version of its supersport flagship model, the YZF-R1.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team stole most of the headlines with its stunning victory, but at the same time and in the same race, another Yamaha team also took top honors in its class. That was “team R1 & YAMALUBE,” which was made up of Yamaha employees from Japan and abroad who were members of the R1’s development team.
The team members had designed the R1 to be the “fastest bike on the racetrack,” and they entered the 8 Hours to demonstrate that with their own efforts in a real race rather than just in theory. They entered the SST class, in which machines run with stock engines, suspensions, brakes and other components, much like the production bike that comes off the factory line. Along with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, team R1 & YAMALUBE proved to the world that the YZF-R1 really is the fastest bike on the racetrack.
It’s been one year since then.
Last year’s team R1 & YAMALUBE riders Makoto Tokinaga and Norihiko Fujiwara, and Akinori Hirano, who had been involved in the bike’s development from the beginning and is now the current YZF-R1’s Project Leader, came together to talk about the machine. They looked back at last year’s event, shared some of their thoughts as developers and recounted what it was like to experience the R1’s amazing potential in the heat of battle.