If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re one stone-cold person. After 26 years, Wayne Rainey – three-time 500cc World Champion and current MotoAmerica President – got the chance to ride a motorcycle again. It’s his first time back on a motorcycle since his life-changing crash in Misano 1993 that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The event took place at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California, where Yamaha was on hand testing for the 2020 season. No surprise then that the machine Rainey piloted was a Yamaha YZF-R1. It’s quite a machine for anybody to ride after a two-and-a-half decade hiatus, but if anybody could handle it, Wayne freakin Rainey could. While mostly stock, the R1 wore sticky Dunlop rubber, a thicker seat from Saddleman, and featured an air-shift setup so Rainey could shift via buttons on the left bar.
As you’ll see in the video below, it didn’t take long for The Champ to get up to speed. It’s probably safe to say this isn’t the last time we’ll see him on a racetrack. Welcome back, Wayne.