Born April 1951. Debuting on a Yamaha in 1971, he showed he was capable of great speed, and in 1974 was elevated to the position of the country's top senior rider. Became a Yamaha factory rider. However, in the middle of that year, went independently to Europe and raced a TZ250 in World GPs there. In the Swedish GP, he won his first victory and went on to be ranked 3rd, with three podium finishes in the season. In 1976 again traveled to Europe. Contested World GPs as a privateer and achieved a ranking of number two in the 250cc class and 7th in the 350cc category.
Then, in 1977, signed up with Yamaha Motor Europe N.V. (YMENV), Yamaha's sales company in Europe. Riding a production TZ250/350 and the locally developed three-cylinder TZ350, achieved a ranking of 4th in the 250cc class and became Japan's first World GP champion in the 350cc class. In 1978, borrowed a YZR500 and TZ350 from YMENV and achieved 2nd place in the 350cc class and 5th place in the 500cc class. However, the following year, he switched to Honda, which had resumed World GP activities. In 1982, Katayama notched up his first 500cc victory in the Swedish GP. In 1985, during the French GP, he announced his withdrawal from racing.
|Year||Class||Result & Pole position||Machine|
|1974||250cc||4th||PP: 2||1st: 1||2nd: 1||3rd: 1||TZ250|
|1976||250cc||2nd||PP: 1||1st: 1||2nd: 4||3rd: 2||TZ250|
|1977||350cc||Champion||PP: 0||1st: 5||2nd: 0||3rd: 2||TZ350|
|1977||250cc||4th||PP: 1||1st: 1||2nd: 2||3rd: 0||TZ250|
|1978||500cc||5th||PP: 0||1st: 0||2nd: 1||3rd: 2||YZR500(0W35)|
|1978||350cc||2nd||PP: 0||1st: 2||2nd: 1||3rd: 3||TZ350|
*Results for years with a Yamaha factory team, riding a Yamaha factory machine or ranked 5th or higher riding a Yamaha production racer (World GP, World F750)