2011 will mark the 50th anniversary of Yamaha's participation in World Championship Grand Prix Motorcycle racing, which began in the 1961 French GP.

Yamaha will commemorate this milestone by running a special logo on the factory YZR-M1s of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, plus a special demonstration run of iconic Yamahas at Motegi and Assen.

The Dutch TT will also see Lorenzo and Spies will wear a unique Yamaha 50th Anniversary livery design.

"As we enter the 2011 race season, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of our Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix category," began a statement from Hiroyuki Yanagi, president, CEO and representative director of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

"These 50 years of continued challenge at the top level of the sport would not have been possible without the support of the fans, our suppliers and sponsors and the race organizers. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to everyone for this.

"Yamaha Motor Company began participating in races from the year of our company's founding in 1955. Our history of competition in the World GP began in 1961, when we entered a team with riders Taneharu Noguchi and Fumio Ito in that year's French GP.

"In these 50 years of competition, Yamaha has tasted sweet victories as well as bitter defeats, but through it all we have never lost the "spirit of challenge" that we started out with. Those ongoing efforts have brought us countless technological breakthroughs and, equally important, has enabled us to share the 'Kando' of racing with people all over the world.

"We are both grateful and proud that one of the highlights of our history of World GP competition came last season, when Yamaha won the Triple Crown of rider, team and manufacturer titles in the pinnacle MotoGP class for the third consecutive year.

"This is another achievement that would not have been possible without the support of the fans and everyone involved. At the same time, I believe it stands as proof that our spirit of challenge is as alive today as it was five decades ago.

"Although economic conditions and the business environment may be tough at the moment, I promise that we will continue our race efforts as the "Kando Creating Company" we strive to be. In closing, I would like to express my gratitude once again and ask for your ongoing support of Yamaha Motor's corporate activities."