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Barros celebrates 200th Grand Prix

Barros celebrates 200th Grand Prix

Barros celebrates 200th Grand Prix

Alex Barros reaches an unprecedented landmark this weekend as he takes part in the 200th premier-class Grand Prix of his career, more than any other rider in the history of the sport.

It is an outstanding achievement for the evergreen Brazilian, who has taken part in an incredible 32.4% of all premier-class races since the series began back in 1949, and there could have been no more fitting a venue to celebrate it than at the historic Assen circuit, where friends, family and former team-mates and mechanics of the veteran rider threw a special party on Thursday evening.

Barros made his Grand Prix debut at 15 years of age amidst rumours of a falsified date-of-birth at Jarama in 1986 and began his 500cc career just four seasons later, riding a Cagiva. Since then, the 33 year old has ridden no fewer than six different types of machinery and has finished on the podium with every one of them.

During his three year period on the Cagiva his best result was a third place finish at the Dutch TT in 1992. During 1993 and 1994 he was Kevin Schwantz's team mate in the Lucky Strike Suzuki Team, taking his first win at the last race of 1993 at Jarama.

For 1995 he set up his own team together with Erv Kanemoto running a leased factory Honda, again riding a Honda in 1996 for Team Pileri, finishing the championship in fourth place.

Moving to the Team Gresini for 1997, still with Honda machinery but this time the new V-twin customer bike, Barros finished in third place at Donington Park, the only time a privateer V2 Honda finished on the podium.

He stayed with Team Gresini for 1998, this time riding the four-cylinder Honda, and rode the same type of machine in the Honda Pons Team for the following four years, finally scoring his first pole position at Mugello and picking up his second Grand Prix victory at the Dutch TT in 2000.

After a couple more victories on the two-stroke Barros was given the Honda RC211V for the last four races of 2002 and, amazingly, he won twice – including his first appearance on the bike at Motegi. After a disappointing year riding a Yamaha in 2003 he is aiming for more success in 2004 back on a Honda as he looks to overtake Mick Doohan as the highest premier-class points scorer of all-time.

Riders with most MotoGP starts

1. Alex Barros – 199
2. Jack Findlay - 165
3. Randy Mamola - 144
4. Alex Criville - 139
5. Mick Doohan - 137
6. Norick Abe - 133
7. Carlos Checa - 128
8. Eddie Lawson - 127
9. Kenny Roberts - 121
10. Giacomo Agostini - 119

MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES TT ASSEN, Alex Barros

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