Few racing teams can claim a partnership as long and as successful as that of Yoshimura Racing and Suzuki motorcycles. Hideo “Pops” Yoshimura started his Tokyo-based tuning garage in 1954. The entire Yoshimura family was involved (legend has it that Mrs. Yoshimura made molds for their exhaust pipe components). In 1971 Pops Yoshimura moved to Los Angeles with his son, Fujio, and began manufacturing performance parts for the new generation of large-displacement Japanese bikes selling well in the American market. In 1977 Yoshimura and Suzuki began a partnership in international and American racing that has only gained in strength over 40 years.
Yoshimura and Suzuki
I photographed a quiet and focused Fujio Yoshimura watch over preparation of Suzuki GSX-R1000 engines, tuned to World Superbike Championship spec, supplied by his company to the Crescent FIXI Suzuki team. He, like all the senior management of the Yoshimura company, has hands-on experience as a talented performance tuner as well as highly successful businessman.
As evidence of Yoshimura's no-nonsense reputation in racing: The Yoshimura Suzuki team in the American AMA superbike series (now, MotoAmerica) won every championship from 1999 through 2009 with only one exception in 2001.
Doing what successful competitors do: keeping an eye on what other successful competitors are doing. Fujio Yoshimura takes a peek into the pit garage of Max Biaggi’s Aprilia WSBK team.
A World Superbike racing effort requires technical, financial and logistical resources on a massive scale, with organizational complexity to match. The Crescent Motorcycle Company is a British motorcycle dealership that can trace its roots back to 1936. Paul Denning, the second generation of the family that has owned Crescent since the 1950s, manages race team operations. Suzuki supplies the motorcycles and Yoshimura provides the engine tuning and performance package for the GSX-R1000 powerplant. FIXI, a U.K.-based brokerage and foreign exchange trading company is the title sponsor. And more than 30 other companies also supply products, services and financial support to make the team competitive. And that’s how the team comes to be “Crescent FIXI Suzuki powered by Yoshimura.”
Powertrain performance tuning has evolved from almost purely mechanical to electronic controls and sensors for engine management functions during the 40 years of the Yoshimura Suzuki partnership. Fujio Yoshimura, and Yoshimura management team members Suehio Wantanable -"Nabe" and Don Sakakura, created an advanced R&D center for development and testing to maximize competitiveness of their race teams.
Yoshimura and Suzuki: "I've got the power!"