Copyright 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
By John Ulrich
Etsuo Yokouchi, a hard-driving perfectionist and engineer behind the ground-breaking GSX-R series who reached the upper levels of Suzuki Motor Company management, died in Japan on Wednesday, October 20th. He was 87.
As an engineer, project leader and ultimately Deputy General Manager of the Motorcycle Design Department, Yokouchi oversaw the race department and was also responsible for designing and developing production models including the X6 Hustler 250cc two-stroke Twin streetbike in the 1960s; RG500 Grand Prix racebikes in the 1970s; and four-valve four-stroke GS750 and GS1100, Katana 1000 and 1100, and GSX-R750 and GSX-R1100 models in the 1980s. Even after he retired, he influenced production of the 1996 GSX-R750 and the 2000 GSX-R1000.
He championed the application of racing-developed technology to street models and talked about high-performance motorcycles being born on the track, reaching production for street use, and then being modified for Superbike racing and returning to the track.
More information will be posted as it becomes available.