Yamaha YZF-R1 Receives Classic Racing Liveries
Oberdan Bezzi is at it again and quite frankly, I want him to keep going with these sick renderings of his. Known for some mighty fine design renderings of bikes we’d love to see hit the road at one point or another, Bezzi’s latest masterpiece involves transforming the new Yamaha YZF-R1 and flipping its appearance over its head with special liveries inspired by two of the Yamaha’s most famous racers, Kenny Roberts and Giacomo Agostini.
These works didn’t change the YZF-R1’s aesthetics so don’t expect any engineering manipulation that Bezzi has come to be known for. Instead, these renderings involve the pretty simple practice of color-swapping, which is what happens when you take a standard YZF-R1, strip it down of its colors, and repaint it with some other color combination. It’s a pretty straight-forward practice but Bezzi takes it to a whole new level by bringing back two of the most iconic racing colors Yamaha has had on its bikes in history.
The first rendering features a yellow-black-white livery with three so-called speed blocks, evoking images of the bike made famous by Kenny Roberts Sr. back in the 1970’s. Some of us may be too young to remember, but for a time, yellow was a staple of Yamaha’s racing heritage and the color looks absolutely fantastic on the YZF-R1.
It might be a little tough to top that one, but Bezzi somehow manages to at least make it look as cool as his second color scheme. This one includes splashes of silver, red, and yellow with trims of black mixed in. Not surprisingly, it’s the same color scheme that was used by none other than Giacomo Agostini on the 1975 YZR500 that captured the 500cc GP title in the same year.
Don’t expect Yamaha to bring back these colors because if it really wanted to, it would have done so a long time ago. Then again, maybe it’s just waiting for a special time to do it, even though Bezzi already beat it to the punch in his own way.
Continue reading to read more about Oberdan Bezzi’s renderings for the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1.
Why it matters
This is where we take a little stroll down memory lane to understand why Bezzi used these two color schemes for his rendering. Not only are they steeped in Yamaha lore, but these two styles came to define Yamaha’s racing bikes generations ago, winning championships left and right with the help of Kenny Roberts and Giacomo Agostini and doing so with a level of style and flair that’s still being talked about to this day.
The word “legend” is thrown around far too loosely these days, but if there was one man who can be called that, it’s Kenny Roberts. With Yamaha by his side, Roberts’ career is defined by championships, having won the AMA Grand National Championship in 1973 and 1974 and following that up with three European titles from 1978 to 1980, doing so in a yellow and black Yamaha OW48 that is widely regarded as one of the most important bike’s in Yamaha’s racing history.
Roberts is considered one of the best motorcycle racers in history, but even he knows who is widely regarded as the greatest rider of all time. That distinction lies in the shoulders of Giacomo Agostini, the multi-titled world champion who has 15 world championship titles under his belt to go with a record 122 Grand Prix wins. If “legend” is an apt word to describe Roberts, then Agostini can probably be best described as “dominant.”
The numbers certainly speak for themselves. From 1965 to 1975, Agostini competed in the 350 cc and 500 cc classes of the Grand Prix motorcycle races. In that span, Agostini won the world title a staggering 15 times to go with five second-place finishes, one third-place finish, and one fourth-place finish. Agostina’s dominance was at its peak from 1966 to 1972 when he won the 500 cc class each and every year, or as some of us have grown to describe it: a seven-peat.
Agostina actually won most of his championships with MV Agusta, but his last Grand Prix title came with Yamaha in 1975. The color of the rendering Bezzi used for his second design study is a tribute to the colors Yamaha was sporting on its bike in that year. It’s even fitting that despite only winning one world title with Yamaha, Agostini’s stature as the best motorcycle rider of all time remains unthreatened.