Wayne Rainey returns to Misano

Friday, 2 September 2011

The three-time World Champion was back at the circuit on Friday evening for the first time since 1993.

Eighteen years after the crash that ended his career Wayne Rainey returned to the Misano World Circuit for this weekend’s San Marino GP, and on Friday evening the American took part in a special event to mark his visit.

In a special presentation organised by Yamaha the three-time 500cc World Champion (1990, 1991 and 1992) was joined on stage by Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and current factory team riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.

“It’s pretty crazy, my emotions are much higher than I thought they would be,” said Rainey, who was back at the track for the first time since the career-ending crash he suffered on September 5th 1993. “This is Yamaha’s 50th year of Grand Prix racing and just to have been a part of that for six years is very special.”

Rainey continued: “My first Grand Prix in Europe was in 1984 and was at this race track – I finished in third place – and this is where I finished my career. I can tell you that I never enjoyed a race track more than I did here. I’m just very happy to be back again and I want to thank Yamaha for bringing me back. It’s been 18 years since I’ve been here and I’ve got to thank the fans and a lot of my friends and my family. It looks like Yamaha’s going to be okay with these current guys, so I’ll be a spectator on the side watching and rooting these guys on this weekend.”

Mr Ezpeleta paid credit to the impact Rainey has continued to have on the sport, and said: “Wayne has always been involved in MotoGP and he has been a big help to us in continuing with our duty of managing the Championship. Wayne was the man responsible for convincing us and the people at Laguna Seca to bring the Grand Prix back to the States, and now today he is here in Misano. All I can say to you Wayne is thank you very much for all the help you have given to MotoGP to make this Championship as important as it is.”

Reigning World Champion Lorenzo added: “I would like one day to have the same number of titles as Wayne. We are working on it and hopefully in the next few years we can achieve that. Wayne always put everything he had into making Yamaha win races. This gives me great encouragement and a role model for being the best rider I can be.”

Rainey’s fellow American Spies also had a few words to say about one of the riders he watched whilst growing up.

“I started watching GP racing at the end of 1989 so I got to watch a lot of it on TV,” he said. “One thing that stood out for me about Wayne was how tough he was, riding through injuries. A lot of people won’t know this but in America through 1989 to 1993 there were GP review tapes and I watched them and memorised them. I want to do what he did and do the best I can.”

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