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Q&A: Ichiro Yoda – Kawasaki technical director.

A love of motorcycles, which started with riding street bikes, led Ichiro Yoda to take a job with Yamaha immediately after graduating from Tokyo's Metropolitan University at the end of the 1970s.

Yoda's first project for his new employer was a single-cylinder machine designed for the Middle Eastern market; a far cry from the high-tech MotoGP machines he would work on in the future.

But it was not long before Yoda made the switch to the racing department, where he was involved in projects as varied as a four-stroke 500GP machine and a 1000cc endurance racer, both of which were tested but never raced.

Yoda also worked on the development of the OW61 500GP engine campaigned by Kenny Roberts, before taking over as project leader on the YZR250 machine that Venezuelan rider, Carlos Lavado, took to the world championship title in its debut season.

In 1994 Yoda returned to Japan to work on Yamaha's 500GP project, but switched back to the quarter-litre class in 1998 to win the All Japan Championship with a young Shinya Nakano.

Yoda returned to Europe in 2000, where he saw Olivier Jacque and Nakano finish the season first and second in the 250cc World Championship aboard the bike that he had developed and built.

Yoda has spent the last four years heavily involved in the development of Yamaha's YZR-M1 MotoGP machine, but then surprised many by switching to rivals Kawasaki - in the role of technical director - for 2005.

Here, Yoda talks about that move, how he's settling into his new team, Kawasaki's 'Big-Bang' engine, his targets for 2005, if the team can - as planned - challenge for the 2007 MotoGP world championship and much more…

After more than 20 years with the company your name is almost synonymous with Yamaha. Why did you make the decision to switch allegiance to Kawasaki after such a long time with one manufacturer?

Ichiro Yoda:

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ichiro Yoda, Sepang MotoGP Test, 11-13th, February, 2005
Kawasaki ZXRR, Barcelona IRTA MotoGP Test, March 2005
Nakano, Barcelona MotoGP IRTA tests, March 2005
Michael Laverty on PBM’s BSB Kawasaki at Cartagena Test (pic: Stephen English)
Edwards bike, Spanish MotoGP 2013
Blusens Avintia FTR Kawasaki CRT, Jerez MotoGP Test March 2013
NGM mobile team, Jerez MotoGP Test March 2013
Kawasaki Streetbike with engine removed for FTR CRT , Sepang MotoGP tests, 31st Jan-2nd Feb 2012
FTR Kawasaki CRT, Sepang MotoGP tests, 31st Jan-2nd Feb 2012
Kawasaki on Yamaha Parade lap,   Japan MotoGP 201
Kawasaki, Japanese MotoGP 2011
Kawasaki, Japanese MotoGP 2011
Mamola and Kawasaki, Japanese MotoGP 2011
Motohashi, Kawasaki, Mitsuo Abe, Nakano, Japanese MotoGP 2011
Melandri, Bike, Czech MotoGP Race 2009
Yoda, Czech MotoGP 2009
Yoda, Czech MotoGP 2009
Yoda, Czech MotoGP 2009

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