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Blast from the past: Yamaha's first victory at Jerez

Blast from the past: Yamaha's first victory at Jerez

Blast from the past: Yamaha's first victory at Jerez

Almost two decades have passed since Yamaha's first success at the Jerez circuit, when Eddie Lawson clinched victory in what was actually then called the ‘Portuguese Grand Prix' in 1988. It was only the second race to be held at Jerez and Yamaha was completely dominant, filling the podium with new boys Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee taking second and third places respectively behind Lawson.

The victory signalled a return to form for ‘Steady Eddie', who had lost his title to Wayne Gardner in 1987 after two consecutive 500cc World Championship-winning campaigns for Yamaha. It also triggered a run of results that would see the Californian reclaim his throne for the third time, as he went on to win the next round at Imola and take four further victories from the remaining ten races.

"That race feels like 100 years ago now but it was a really important victory for myself and Yamaha," remembers Lawson, who ended his illustrious Grand Prix career in 1992.

"To be honest there were so many close races that season against guys like Rainey, Gardner, Magee and Mamola that it's hard to remember the details, but one thing that always stands out in your mind from Jerez is the atmosphere. The sport had been made huge there at that time by guys like Angel Nieto and I guess the tradition has continued from there."

Before Valentino Rossi's historic title triumph last season for Yamaha, Lawson was the only rider ever to have won the premier-class for different manufacturers in successive seasons. It is a feat he admits he expected to be repeated much sooner and says that Rossi is a special talent.

"Records are there to be broken and to be honest I was sure mine would fall much quicker than it did. I suppose if there is anybody out there who had to do it, it would be Valentino. From what I have seen he is in another league to the other riders, he is very impressive."

"Above all I was pleased to see Yamaha win the title again. I've still got a lot of friends there and I'm delighted to see them enjoying the success they definitely deserve."


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