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Weekly magazine "MOTOR", volume 64, no. 2, January 14, 1977.
YAMAHA's comeback
With a brief response by Heikki Mikkola
On 21 December 1976, in the Tokyu hotel at Ginzo, the Yamaha Motor Company held an official press conference announcing the plans for the 1977 race activities. Director Hasegawa, road racing manager Kazuhiko Nomura, motocross manager Toshinori Suzuki and the general director of competition were present on behalf of the Company. Apart from about 100 journalists, Heikki Mikkola too, was present to hear the statement, which was as follows: “In view of the 1976 financial and social situation of the motor cycle, Yamaha ceased its overseas race activities and only supported Japanese events. However, the Company expressed the view that racing events stimulate the motorbike sport because racing, particularly on a world championship level, is vital in the research and development of motorbikes. The decision to renew participation in international competition sport has been taken with the view that these activities will enable Yamaha to provide consumers with top quality products.
Mikkola tries the YZ400 on the Hamakita test circuit of Yamaha.
Here follows the list with riders who have a contract at Yamaha with behind the names the races in which they will take part.

Road racing: Steve Baker and Johnny Cecotto, world championship F750 and 500cc. Kenny Roberts (Yamaha Int. USA), AMA Grand National Championship and some F750-races. Giacomo Agostini (Yamaha Italy), F750 and 500cc-class.
Note: According to expectation, the 500cc road racing machines will be completed at the beginning of February. Probably it are V-4 engines with rotating intake, although about that there are still no official statements have been made. At the moment there exist still no plans to take part in endurance races.
Motocross: Heikki Mikkola (Yamaha Motor N.V.), world championship 500cc- motocross, Pierre Karsmakers (Yamaha Int.), world championship 500cc-motocross, Trans AMA en national races in the US. Bob Hannah, Rick Burgett en Broc Glover (Yamaha Int.), Trans AMA en national races in the US.

Trial: Mick Andrews (Yamaha Motor N.V.), world championship trial en I.S.D.T.
Further on several Japanese riders still have a contract with Yamaha, of which the most well known names are Hideo Kanaya and Ikujiro Takai.
General press interview with Heikki Mikkola

"Why did you sign at Yamaha?"
H.M.: "Husqvarna intended to reduce its race activities, which imply that I couldn’t pursue my target. For me this means to beat my arch-rival Roger DeCoster, because my only intention is to reconquer the world champion title 500cc. To be able to reach this, I need Yamaha."

“What is the difference between the motocross machines of Yamaha and Husqvarna?”
H.M.: There is little difference between the two bikes. Both the frame and the suspension are more or less the same, but it appears that the Yamaha has somewhat more capacity. (I think the biggest difference between Yamaha and Husqvarna is the size of the factory!”)

“How did the bike perform on the Yamaha test circuit?”
H.M.: “The bike is very good.”

“What was the purpose of your visit to Japan this time?”
H.M.: “Testing the machine”

“Just name three big rivals”
H.M.: Roger Decoster, Gerrit Wolsink and Graham Noyce from England. As well, I regard Bengt Aberg, who is going to race a 4-stroke Yamaha XT500, as one of my rivals.”

“What do you think of Brad Lackey?”
H.M.: “Right now he exclusively races in the United States and although he is very good, I don’t consider him to be a threat.”

“Who is going to be your mechanic?”
H.M.: “Heikki Penttila, who right now is studying automotive engineering at the Helsinki university and who will graduate next year, will join me soon thereafter as my mechanic. For him it will be the first time that he will be working with a motocross machine, but I have known him for about ten years and also because he has about ten years experience as a motor mechanic, I have confidence in him.”

“What reaction do you expect from your fans now that you have joined Yamaha?”
H.M.: “It will be the same as when I still raced Husky, it probably will not be different when I race Yamaha.”

“Just tell us something about your training routines.”
H.M.: There is a race on Sunday. Monday I do a 5 km run followed by a massage and a visit to the sauna. Tuesday I have a two hour training session on the bike and another run in the afternoon. Wednesday morning I do 45 minutes indoor training and a ten to fifteen km. marathon run in the afternoon. Another session of motor training and a massage is scheduled for Thursday and another marathon on Friday. There is a free afternoon, but then you are already heading to the next race.”

“Finally, how much is the contract worth?”
H.M.: “To me, the money is not important. The only thing I want is to win the 500 cc world championship!”

Heikki in the Yamaha outfit.