For long-time followers of motorcycle racing the notion of winning a championship and keeping the bike would come as no surprise. In the earlier days of motorcycle racing this was a common gift given to the victor.
Today, Mr. Hasegawa, President of Yamaha Motor Corporation, presented an M1 to MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi to keep.
"Valentino Rossi is more than the world's best motorcycle racer; he is a personality that is not limited to just the confines of the MotoGP championship," Hasegawa praised the Italian champion. "From the moment you work with Rossi you instantly become a fan, and you are naturally driven to give more than 100 percent to support him.
"It is this very trait, and his ability as a rider that led to him winning the world title in his first year (with Yamaha). Because of this skill and personality I am proud to present Valentino with the YZR-M1 as a sign of our appreciation for his efforts this year," Hasegawa continued.
In reply Rossi said: "This is the best gift I could wish for. I must say thank you to Yamaha and Mr. Hasegawa for giving me my very own M1 to take home. I'm not sure where I will keep it, maybe next to my bed, or maybe in a safe at a bank!"
So next time you are out at a track day and see an M1 being flogged around, don't be surprised to find out it is not an R1 replica, but the real bike.