Former Yamaha President Honored with Valentino Rossi Painting

The North American division of Yamaha has presented a specially commissioned painting yesterday to honor former Yamaha Motors President, Takashi Kajikawa, at the company’s headquarters in California.As you can see in the adjacent picture, the special painting features Valentino Rossi at the top of the famous corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the inaugural MotoGP event at the facility in 2005.

Artist Bill Patterson was commissioned to capture the moment over 5 years ago when both Valentino Rossi and his then teammate Colin Edwards competed in the special Yamaha 50th anniversary livery.

Yamaha's Factory MotoGP team wore the famous Yamaha USA colours of yellow, white and black. The livery that Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards used back then was first used by Yamaha USA in the late 1960s and won global renown when American rider ‘King' Kenny Roberts scored his World Championship hat-trick.

“Mr. Kajikawa was very instrumental in his support of our factory’s MotoGP effort and in our company’s 50th Anniversary celebration during 2005,” said Bob Starr, General Manager of Motorsports communications. “And this special painting truly captures both initiatives on one canvas.”

Kajikawa had to resign from his position as company President in late October 2009 after a $2 billion loss, while retaining a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. Yamaha had projected only a loss of $465 million, but in fact lost almost four times that amount.

His place was at the time filled in by Tsuneji Togami, who was soon admitted to hospital. Togami was to be replaced by the company’s Senior Executive Officer at that time, Hiroyuki Yanagi. The huge loss in revenues also translated into a new management team.
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