Giacomo Agostini and Yamaha go to Paul Ricard for Sunday Ride Classic

While Fabio Quartararo was busy destroying the competition in MotoGP on his #20 factory Yamaha M1, Yamaha was also in Le Castellet for a day of classics. 

Giacomo Agostini leads Yamaha Heritage Club bikes at Le Castellet. - Yamaha Racing

The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club was one of a number of attractions at the Sunday Ride Classic in Le Castellet. 

The Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France will soon host Yamaha for a Racing Experience with the owners of the R1M, but the Iwata factory decided to make something of a recce on the famous French track, home of the Bol d’Or, a few months in advance. 

Taking a number of classic bikes, as well as some top names from Yamaha’s racing history, Yamaha turned up to Paul Ricard for the Sunday Ride Classic to celebrate the days of the past, before unified electronics, spec tyres, four-strokes and ride height devices were the reality of the World Championship. 

Among the bikes taken by Yamaha to southern France were some old 250cc Grand Prix bikes. One such bike was that of Carlos Lavado, who himself showcased the YZR250s with which he won the 250cc world title in 1983 and 1986. Lavado also hit the track on a TZ250 from 1991, while Christian Sarron was also out there on his 1984 title winning TZ250, and the 1982 250cc championship winning machine of Jean-Louis Tournadre was on display.

There was also a selection of bikes taken by the TZ Club of France, including the 1974 TZ350 of Patrick Pons, and the TZ750s of the aforementioned Sarron, Johnny Cecotto, Hubert Rigal and more, and even the YZR500 ROC of Freddie Spencer from 1993.

Perhaps the most special 750 present in Le Castellet was that of Giacomo Agostini. The Italian himself was there to ride around the Paul Ricard track on the 750 with which he won at Hockenheim in 1977, the famous ‘123rd win’ of the most decorated rider in GP racing history.

At the time of writing, on the Monday after the German Grand Prix, Fabio Quartararo and the rest of the current crop of MotoGP stars and teams have already left the Sachsenring long behind. But, for the Yamaha Racing Heritage Club, the east German circuit is the next location on its 2022 calendar when the Sachsenring Classic takes place on 15-17 July. After that, the YRHC is Britain-bound, for the CRMC Classic Motorcycle Festival at Donington Park on 30-31 July.

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