First competition in Grand Prix racing
First Grand Prix, first points
Following in the footsteps of Honda and Suzuki, 1961 was the year that Yamaha made its first appearance in the World GP, competing in the five races of the France GP, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race, the Netherlands GP, the Belgium GP, and the Argentine GP. With the exception of the East German MZ, the engines used in the World GP at that time by MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi, Moto Morini, Benelli, Mondial, and Honda, etc., were all 4-strokes. Nonethless, Yamaha had its sights pinned on the possibilities of the 2-stroke engine for making its bid in the 250cc and the 125cc classes.
It was the 3rd round, the Clermont-Ferrand in France, where Yamaha made its debut. Racing on the RD48, an air cooled, 2-cylinder 2-stroke factory machine, Fumio Ito placed 8th, and Taneharu Noguchi placed 10th, but finished outside the points.
The next race was the 4th round, The Isle of Man TT. In this race it was Ito riding the RD48 that gave Yamaha its first GP points, placing an overall 6th, 13 minutes behind the leader in the 5-lap race of the 60km circuit. After that, Ito and Noguchi placed 6th and 8th in the Netherlands. In the Belgian Grand Prix, Ito and Yoshikazu Sunako placed 5th and 6th respectively, and then Ito finished a creditable 4th in the Argentine GP. This 5-round challenge by Yamaha gave Ito 7 series points and a ranking of 9th, while Sunako ranked in 17th with 1 point. This left Yamaha with 7constructor points in 6th position. The season finished with Yamaha being left in Honda's wake.
In its first challenge in this category, Yamaha ended the season without scoring a point.
The 1961 season saw Yamaha begin competing in the 125cc class as well as the GP250 class. Yamaha developed the air cooled, 2 stroke-2 cylinder RA41 to compete in the 125cc class. The results were an 8th by Noguchi in the first round in the French Grand Prix, 11th, 12th, and 17th placings from Ito, Hideo Oishi, and Noguchi respectively in The Isle of Man TT, 9th and 10th for Sunako and Ito in the Netherlands, and finally a 13th placing in Belgium. Unfortunately, no points were won by Yamaha riders in the 125cc class that season.
Cate. Rider Machine 250cc Fumio Ito RD48 250cc Taneharu Noguchi RD48 250cc Yoshikazu Sunako RD48 125cc Fumio Ito RA41 125cc Taneharu Noguchi RA41 125cc Yoshikazu Sunako RA41 125cc Hideo Ohishi RA41
Pos. Cate. Rider Constructor Point 1 250cc M. Hailwood Honda 44(54) 2 250cc T. Phillis Honda 38(45) 3 250cc J. Redman Honda 36(51) 4 250cc K. Takahashi Honda 29(30) 5 250cc B. Mclntyre Honda 14 6 250cc T. Provini Morini 10 9 250cc F. Ito Yamaha 7 17 250cc Y. Sunako Yamaha 1
Pos. Constructor Point 1 Honda 48(86) 2 MZ 11 3 Morini 10 4 Benelli 10 5 MV Agusta 8 6 Yamaha 7