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125cc, 250cc

Date de naissance


Lieu de naissance



In the early days of MotoGP, the Italian rider Carlo Ubbiali became the first competitor to truly dominate the 125cc and 250cc classes. Born in Bergamo in 1929, he took part in the first World Championship season in 1949, won his first Grand Prix the following year, took his first title in 1951 and went on to collect nine titles in total in the smaller classes before his retirement in 1960.

His first championship triumph in ‘51 was secured onboard a bike from the Italian Mondial factory in the 125cc class, but the next season he lost his crown to the MV Agusta rider Cecil Sandford, which perhaps persuaded Ubbiali to switch manufacturers.

After his subsequent move onto MV Agusta machinery in 1953 he remained with the company for the rest of his racing days, though it was not until ‘55 that he regained the 125cc title.

That same season Ubbiali had also participated in his first 250cc race and it did not take him long to get the hang of things as became double 125 & 250 World Champion in 1956, winning every race in the quarter litre category and all but one in the 125 competition.

Ubbiali added another 125cc honour to his trophy cabinet in 1958, before ending his spectacular career with two more 125 & 250 double title wins in '59 and '60.

Had it not been for Honda’s emergence and MV Agusta’s policy to class riders as solely 500cc/350cc or 250cc/125cc competitors based on height and weight Ubbiali would conceivably have added even more titles to his list of achievements. However, he never questioned that policy from his team and retired without knowing whether he could have been a premier class World Champion.

Ubbiali had a disciplined, effective and unflustered riding style which prevented him from suffering a single serious crash in his career and he left the sport at the age of 31, still at the full height of his powers. With his nine World titles he remains one of the most decorated names in the history of the World Championship.