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Etsuo Yokouchi: The Creator of Suzuki’s GSX-R Line Passes

Etsuo Yokouchi (right) with racer Graeme Crosby (center) and John Ulrich (left) at the introduction of the 1985 GSX-R750 at the Ryuyo test track in Japan. Photo by Masao Suzuki, curated from RoadRacingWorld

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a revered and well-loved member of the motorcycle community. Etsuo Yokouchi, the engineer of the iconic Suzuki GSX-R Line, passed at the ripe age of 87 on Wednesday, October 27th. 

Not only was this fine man an engineer, but he was also a project leader and the Deputy General Manager of the Motorcycle Design Department. 

Yokouchi’s work had him oversee the race department at Suzuki Motorcycles, with other various responsibilities in the design and developing studios. 

All told, RoadRacingWorld states that motorcycles influenced by Yokouchi’s touch include the following:

The 1960s

A 1967 X6 Hustler 250cc two-stroke Twin streetbike

Suzuki X6 Hustler Twin

The 1970s

A side view of a racer astride the Suzuki RG500 GP Supersport race bike

Suzuki RG500 GP Supersport series

The 1980s

A side view of a 1987 Suzuki Katana 1100

Suzuki GS750

Suzuki GS1100

Suzuki Katana 1000

Suzuki Katana 1100

Suzuki GSX-R750

Suzuki GSX-R1100

The 1990s

A view of the 1996 Suzuki GSX-R750

1996 Suzuki GSX-R750

The 2000s

A side view of the 2000 Suzuki GSX-R1000

2000 Suzuki GSX-R1000

“He championed the application of racing-developed technology to street models,” states John Ulrich, “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.”

A view of Etsuo Yokouchi: "To infinity, and beyond!" Etsuo Yokouchi, in a photo taken about a 15 years after unveiling the first Suzuki GSX-R750, which was launched at the 1984 Cologne motorcycle show.

Our hearts go out to Yokouchi’s family during this time.  If you happen to be blessed with a machine that’s had the Midas touch from Etsuo, be sure to drop a comment and spare a moment in commemoration of his brilliant work at Suzuki.