Yamaha Motor Co. president Takashi Kajikawa has released the following statement celebrating Fiat Yamaha's 2008 MotoGP World Championship success and confirming the manufacturer's presence for 2009 - but notably makes no assurances beyond the end of this season.
The global financial crises has already prompted the withdraw of Kawasaki from MotoGP and Kajikawa admits that the “extremely difficult and adverse business environment” will affect Yamaha's motor sport activities. However, he believes a MotoGP presence remains justified:
"I am proud to say that last year we achieved our season goal of recapturing the MotoGP triple crown of rider, manufacturer and team titles for the first time since 2005, thanks to the magnificent efforts of everyone involved.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors and all the people involved in this great achievement.
"As you know, 2008 was also a year that saw a dramatic worsening of the world economy, which left Yamaha Motor in an extremely difficult and adverse business environment. Needless to say, the severity of this environment also affects our motor sports activities.
"However, we believe that the MotoGP is an especially important competition for sharing Kando [excitement and deep satisfaction] with Yamaha fans around the world, and as a “Kando Creating Company,” this is a core part of our corporate mission. Therefore, we have decided to continue our participation in MotoGP in 2009 despite the extremely harsh business environment we face.
"As we carry on our MotoGP campaign in 2009, I hope that we can continue to count on the support and cooperation of our sponsors and all the people involved in this great motor sports competition."
Speaking separately, Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis admitted that it is hard to justify a MotoGP project when budgets are being slashed and jobs lost, but remains 'quite confident' that Yamaha will stay due to the marketing and promotional benefits - and referred to previous comments made by Kajikawa.
“Yes, [justifying the costs of MotoGP] is one of the big questions, of course, at the moment, as we've seen the withdrawals from some of the other manufacturers in different sports,” said Jarvis, referring to Honda's withdraw from F1, plus Suzuki and Subaru from the WRC. “And there is a lot of pressure on costs on all of our business.
“We are very fortunate, I would say that firstly we were fortunate to be successful for the brand last year, but also several times in recent years. Yamaha is very much a marketing oriented company and we've really seen the benefit, especially in the last 5 or 6 years, we've seen the integration of MotoGP into a lot of our promotions worldwide, so there is a real support, even under pressure, from the Yamaha network, there's a real support to continue MotoGP.
“Only last week our president, Mr Kajikawa, made a statement, in Japan, to the media, where he said that we will continue in racing and especially in MotoGP, because the activities we do in the MotoGP, he said it's like the beat of a war drum for the company. I think that if you've got a president giving you that much support, then it's fantastic and it's up to us to deliver the promise, but I'm quite confident that Yamaha will stay in MotoGP,” Jarvis added.