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500cc, 250cc




Los Angeles

Geschichte der Legende

Wayne Rainey is the last of the great American multi-World Champions to have graced MotoGP. The Californian won three 500cc titles in a row from 1990 to 1992 and joined the ranks of those such as Kenny Roberts Snr., Freddie Spencer and Eddie Lawson in a hefty US legacy that has also been augmented by the likes of Kevin Schwantz, Kenny Roberts Jnr. and Nicky Hayden.

A Yamaha stalwart, Rainey was one of the protagonists in the so-called Golden era of the premier class through the late 1980s and early ‘90s. The fact that he won three championships while having to compete against such talents as Schwantz, Lawson, Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner, in an era when the 500cc two-strokes were at their quickest and most brutal, rightfully places him amongst the MotoGP Legends.

Emerging at the same time as Schwantz through the pair’s hair-raising antics in US Superbike racing, Rainey was taken under the wing of Kenny Roberts Snr for his maiden 500cc campaign in 1988. He made an immediate impression with his dedication, careful study and tidy riding style. A debut Grand Prix victory arrived that year with a win at Donington Park and a further six podiums were added for third overall.

In the following seasons up until the final phase of 1993, Rainey accrued 24 wins and 65 podiums but was not immune to injury as he often tried to make up for the short-comings of Yamaha’s efforts to compete with the might of Honda’s NSR and Suzuki’s RGV. That fateful last year would have delivered his crowning fourth title if an uncharacteristic crash while leading the Grand Prix at Misano had not had sent the reigning number one tumbling into the gravel and causing the breakage of his sixth thoracic vertebrae.

Rainey’s consistency and relentlessness in the pursuit of sporting fulfilment reached such a point that the man’s mistakes tended to catch the eye more than his fantastic ability to galvanise points and podiums even when seemingly against the odds. A fine and well respected ambassador for MotoGP, he continues to race Karts to this day and is a frequent visitor to the US Grand Prix at the Laguna Seca circuit, which is close to his current home.