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.
Honda Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa announced his retirement early thursday morning ahead of the ninth round of the 2018 MotoGP season at the Sachsenring. The announcement comes on the heels of a flurry of news in the MotoGP paddock with Jorge Lorenzo joining Marc Marquez next year at HRC and the proposed Yamaha Petronas team. Not to mention Pedrosa’s own scheduled press conference at the last round in Assen where the HRC rider was unable to make his announcement for whatever reason, as he had planned.
All season long, we at MO have been chanting the mantra, “Let Valencia Decide.” With the title unsettled heading into the weekend, the opportunity for a riveting finale existed (if only mathematically), Marc Marquez holding a 21 point lead over Ducati pilot Andrea Dovizioso as the riders lined up on the grid. The math caught up with Dovi on Lap 25 when, desperate to get past insubordinate teammate Jorge Lorenzo, he ran hot into Turn 8, ultimately laying his GP17 down gently in the gravel. And so the 2017 title was awarded at Valencia, having been decided some weeks earlier.
The Spanish city of Madrid hosted a celebration of the life of 12+1 World Champion, Angel Nieto. Nieto would always refer to his 13 world championship titles as 12+1 due to the superstition of 13 being an unlucky number. Out of respect, fans around the world would do the same.
Eddie Lawson is a four-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion. In 1983, Eddie became Kenny Roberts’ teammate on Yamaha’s GP team and won his first 500cc title in 1984. Steady Eddie went on to win two more 500cc GP world titles for Yamaha, in 1986 and 1988, and since this interview took place at a Yamaha event, we’ll downplay his ’89 Championship on the Honda. In 1990, he teamed up with Tadahiko Taira to win the Suzuka 8 Hours on a Yamaha FZR750RR OW01. Lawson also won the Daytona 200 in 1986, and came out of retirement to win it again in 1993. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
With 13 points separating defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo and rookie challenger Marc Marquez heading into the 2013 finale in Valencia, the tension leading up to the race couldn’t have been cut with a machete. Unforced falls by leaders in the Moto2 and Moto3 tilts served as a reminder that, as Yogi Berra once observed, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” When it was over, however, Yamaha icon Jorge had won the race and handed over his crown to Repsol Honda’s boy wonder Marquez. It feels like the beginning of a new era in grand prix racing.