The World's Fastest Piano Player: Motorcycle Racer James Toseland at Home with 200 Mph Speeds and 88 Keys

8/1/2008 [Pianos & Keyboards]

Classically-Trained Pianist Rides for Tech 3 Yamaha Team on MotoGP Circuit and Plays Yamaha Keyboards; Band Performed at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey

BUENA PARK, Calif. — When motorcycle racer James Toseland wants to unwind after pushing his Yamaha YZR-M1 bike to speeds up to 200 mph, he sits down at a Yamaha keyboard or piano and pounds out virtuosic classical, jazz or boogie-woogie riffs. Toseland, 28, classically-trained from the age of seven, plays music on his own and with Crash, his pop-rock cover band.

James Toseland
James Toseland plays a CP33 at the Laguna Seca race track.
In his native England, he's treated like a rock star not just for his piano-playing prowess and his good looks, but because he is the only English rider on the MotoGP circuit, the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, which features the world's top racers and fastest bikes in 18 Grand Prix contests held in 14 countries from March to October.

In addition to competing in the first race of the circuit held in the United States this year, the Red Bull U. S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, Calif., Toseland and Crash performed on a professional sound stage at the track. The Yamaha Corporation of America, a subsidiary of the Japanese company that markets and distributes musical instruments and sound reinforcement equipment in the United States, outfitted Toseland and his band with a complete line of pro-quality gear, including an SBG2000 electric guitar, a CPX900 acoustic-electric guitar, a TRB1004 bass, a Recording Custom drum set with a Steve Gadd Signature snare drum, a CP33 stage piano and an MM8 synthesizer. Toseland also performed solo during a private function held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

James Toseland
Crash guitarist wields an SBG2000 during a rocking number.
On the racetrack grounds, The Yamaha Corporation of America also set up a booth equipped with drums, guitars and keyboards, which received a steady stream of visitors throughout the weekend.

"James Toseland's concert at Laguna Seca reflected the synergy between the different products made by Yamaha and embodies the glamour of both worlds," said Rick Young, Senior Vice President, Yamaha Corporation of America. "It's a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the company's philosophy of One Yamaha."

The Yamaha Corporation is, of course, the only motorcycle manufacturer that also produces a complete line of musical instruments. In fact, the company's logo—consisting of three interlocking tuning forks—pays homage to the company's early roots, which stretch back to the 1880's, when founder Torakusu Yamaha developed the first reed organ in Asia. By 1904, the company produced award-winning pianos. Yamaha first developing motorcycles in the 1950's and began selling its motorcycles through dealers in the United States beginning in 1960.

The Yamaha Corporation, based in Hamamatsu, Japan, owns several subsidiaries in the United States, including Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A, which carries an ever-expanding line of motorcycles, outboard motors, ATVs, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, boats, outdoor power equipment, race kart engines, accessories and apparel; the Yamaha Corporation of America, which carries a full line of musical instruments and sound reinforcement products; Yamaha Electronics Corporation, U.S.A., which sells home audio and video products; and Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc., which sells commercial audio equipment in the United States.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; or e-mail

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