2 wheels Stories
To carry on Honda’s racing activities from its Isle of Man TT declaration, HRC was born in 1982.
40 years on, it has been decades of glory and achievements.
The team first competed in the Isle of Man TT race, on March 20, 1954.
It was the year that Roman Holidays was released in Japanese theatres. It was also a year of change for motor sports in Japan. At the time, Honda was still selling the Cub Model F2, an quxiliary engine for bicycles.
The Isle of Man TT declaration: It was a declaration to race in the motorcycle world championship by Honda, a company in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, that had been established only six years prior, in 1948.
The motorcycle world championship began in 1949. Divided into the 125cc / 250cc / 350cc / 500cc categories (the 50cc category was held between 1962 and 1983, the 80cc category between 1984 to 1989). Honda became the first Japanese manufacturer to race in the championship. The 1954 declaration stated Honda’s intention to race in that year’s Isle of Man TT, the pinnacle of the series which grands prix were held at the Isle of Man and Belfast in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, West Germany, Italy and Spain. It was, in other words, a challenge to the world’s best motorcycle race.
The declaration was made, of course, by Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda. In it is an intriguing passage:
“My childhood dream was to become champion of the world in car racing with a car I made myself.”
“Every car that completes a race, not only the winner, is considered by the world as outstanding.”
In 1959, Honda competed at the Isle of Man TT, and late that year suggested at a meeting to construct welfare facilities for the Suzuka Factory in Mie, the construction of Japan’s first world-class race track.
At the meeting Honda said, “I want a place where we can race. Cars cannot be improved without that,” believing that producing cars for the 1960s, a new age of high speed transportation, and constructing a safe and high-speed race track, were the manufacturer’s responsibility.
In 1961, only two years since competing in the Isle of Man TT for the first time, Honda claimed its first victory in the 125cc class at the season-opener in Spain. It won its first 250cc class race in the following round in West Germany, and once claiming the championship titles in both classes, Honda said in the company newsletter:
“We have to race. Racing allows us to measure our strength and technologies against the world, and that allows us to determine where our management foundations should be. […] Racers are the advance guards of our products, so racers and products provide a feedback loop.” (“President’s thoughts on racing”, 1964 Company Newsletter)
Honda’s passion grew from grand prix racing to race track building, and the technologies gained there were applied to its production motorcycles. In 1964, Honda declared its entry into Formula 1 grand prix racing, the pinnacle of automobile racing, and technologies gained led to the development of the world’s first low-emission engine.
Passion for motorcycle racing was not limited to grands prix, but production-based racing categories as well.
Honda paused its participation in grand prix racing in 1967, but continued to race in Japan. In 1973, Honda established the Racing Service Center (RSC) at the Suzuka Circuit as an separate company. The RSC began its racing service activities including development of racing cars and bikes for domestic racing, and supplying these to major privateers, and in 1976, began to manufacture racing bikes for the endurance championship it was competing in. The racing bikes developed at this time, the RCB1000 and RC1000 would go on to compete in the European and World endurance championships.
The RCB1000 endurance racer, based on the production CB750 FOUR, entered the 1976 European endurance championship, and won seven of the eight rounds to clinch the championship. The following year, it won all nine rounds, and in 1978, eight or the nine rounds for its third consecutive championship victory. The RCB’s successor, the RS1000 based on the new generation production CG900F, won the championship in 1979 and 1980. Honda had won the championship for five straight years.
At the same time it was competing in the endurance championship, Honda declared its return to grand prix racing, starting development of a completely new, 4-stroke racing bike. At the time 2-stroke engines were mainstream, Honda developed a V4 engine with oval pistons. Honda’s New Racing (NR) block in charge of the NR project, would later develop 2-stroke powered racing bikes, merging with RSC. On September 1, 1982, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) was born.
HRC expanded on RSC’s business by developing, manufacturing and retailing racing cars / bikes and components, and later went on to handle all of Honda’s racing activities.
In 1983, the first season when HRC became Honda’s racing division, 2-stroke NS500 rider Freddy Spencer became Honda’s first champion since it returned to grand prix racing, Joy Dunlop won the TT-F1 championship on his RS850R, and in late 1982, Cyril Neveu gave Honda its first Paris-Dakar Rally victory. For grand prix racing, sales of the RS500 production racing bike, based on the NS500, began.
In September 1982, Honda’s racing spirit, restarted with HRC (Honda Racing Corporation), moves to a new level, as it returns to premier world grand prix racing.
Honda’s motorsports challenge had begun in the 1959 Isle of Man TT. In 1966, the company made history by winning the titles in all five classes (50 / 125 / 250 / 350 / 500cc), and withdrew from racing activities, as it had achieved its initial goals.
Honda returned to racing in 1979, in the premier 500cc class, citing its need to improve its production models and new technologies. In a category where 2-stroke engines prevailed, Honda opted to power its racing bikes with 4-stroke engines, widely viewed as a disadvantage due to lower output.
Honda’s NR (New Racing) project ended without any positive results, paving the way for Honda to revert to 2-stroke engines. The new NS (New Sprint) project, however, would develop 3-cylinder engines, considered to be less powerful than the prevailing 4-cylinder rivals. In March 1982, the new 2-stroke NS500 grand prix racer debuted to third place in the Argentine Grand Prix. It took pole in Round 4, Spain, in May, and two months later in Round 7, Belgium, Honda claimed its first victory since returning to grand prix racing, and its first 500cc victory in 14 years and nine months.
In September, coinciding with the San Marino Grand Prix in the second half of the season, RSC (Racing Service Center) combined with the NR project team and NR block, newly forming HRC. The new organization had been planned since Spring 1982 as a new entity to replace RSC. In April 1983, its head quarters was set up in Niiza-shi in Saitama, its Suzuka office in the Suzuka Circuit, Mie, and its base of grand prix racing activities in Belgium (HRC-E / HRC-Europe).
One of HRC’s aims was to take the NR project’s factory team technologies, apply them to products for RSC-supported users, and by growing the grassroots of racing, raise the awareness of motorsports in society.
HRC was not limited to road racing, but handled all of Honda’s racing activities, which at the time covered grand prix and world endurance road racing, and at the same level, motocross, trial and the Paris-Dakar held over the new year.
For Honda, applying motocrosser technology to road racers was not uncommon. The initial design of the NS500 grand prix bike started off combining three 2-stroke 125cc engines.
Honda competes in off-road racing, including motocross.
In the 1960s when motocross began to rise in popularity, Honda mainly made 4-stroke engines, and development of off-road models powered by 2-stroke engines, considered better for motocross, would have to wait until the 1970s.
In 1972, Honda entered the All Japan championship with the RC335A, later introducing the improved 335C / 335D. In 1973, Honda won the AMA250 title in the US, and in 1974 - 75, became the AMA125 class champion. In 1973, Honda introduced the CR250M motocrosser to the US market. TV commercials were aired in the US where motocross was popular, featuring an American hero, Steve McQueen.
One of HRC’s racing activities was participating in the newly-launched Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979.
Honda France was in charge of customer support for Honda riders in the Paris-Dakar, the bikes commissioned to Honda being developed by RSC. In the fourth edition of the race in 1982, French rider Cyril Neveu rode an XR500R, engine tuned by RSC, to victory. Since then, as the popularity of the Paris-Dakar was on the rise, HRC developed the rally bikes, debuting the Paris-Dakar factory bike, the NXR750 in 1986. The NXR won the Paris-Dakar from 1986 to 1989, a testament to Honda’s strength in the event.
Honda also participated in various national championship series.
In the US, AHM (American Honda Motors) supports Honda’s motorsports activities. The pinnacle of US national motorsports includes road races such as the AMA superbike and Daytona, and motocross and dirt track racing. At the time, the NR block developed Honda’s pre-HRC racing bikes. The NS750 Sidewinder factory bike was developed by the NR block for US dirt tracks, to be replaced by the RS750D after HRC was established.
In Japan, the Suzuka 8 Hours Road Race was gaining in popularity since it began in 1978. Honda participated with the RCB1000, a bike developed by RSC for HERT (Honda Endurance Racing Team) who were competing in the European Endurance Championship. Customers also went on to compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours on RS1000s and custom CB900F bikes, but in 1983, HRC released the completely new RS850R endurance bike, and in 1984 as engine displacement regulations changed from 1000cc to 750cc, the RS750 factory bike for the Suzuka 8 Hours.
Since then, HRC has been supplying factory bikes for its factory team and major racing teams to race in the Suzuka 8 Hours, arguably Japan’s biggest racing event. Between the inaugural event in 1978 and 1990, said to be the height of the event’s popularity, Honda had won seven of the 13 races (1979 / 1981 / 1982 / 1984 / 1985 / 1986 / 1989).
Popularity-wise, however, grand prix racing is undoubtedly the most popular on the world stage.
Beginning with the Isle of Man TT in 1959, to winning the title in all five classes in ‘66, withdrawing from motorsports, and returning in 1979. Returning in 1982, the podium, pole position, and the first victory. Honda and HRC’s grand prix plans were bearing fruit, and in 1983, the company set its next goal： to become world champion.
HThe last time Honda had won the manufacturers’ title in the premier grand prix class was in 1966. Honda returned to grand prix racing in 1979, but the 4-stroke NR500’s engine technology was too advanced for its time, unable to win, or finish on the podium, or even within the top 10, within the points, in its four seasons of racing. In 1982, Honda switched its main bike to the NS500.
The best results for the NR500 during its four years of racing were qualifying 15th in the 1981 British Grand Prix, and finishing 11th in the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
The NR500 raced not only in grands prix, but in European and American international races, and the All Japan Road Racing Championship. In the 1980 Mizuno International Race, it finished third, and in the 1981 All Japan Suzuka 200km Race, it took pole and won for the first time. The NR500, however, could not get the results in grand prix races.
In the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix, Honda managed to win a grand prix with the new NS500, replacing the NR500 which only managed to finish 11th at the same track. The NS500 was built upon the knowhow through trial and error accumulated by the NR Block, and finished its debut season third overall.
Freddy Spencer was the rider, who debuted in grand prix racing in 1981 on the NR500. He was the rider who claimed 15th, Honda’s best qualifying result on the NR500.
The NS500 was powered by Honda’s first 2-stroke grand prix engine. Regulations at the time allowed for up to four cylinders, used by all manufacturers except for Honda, which opted for a seemingly less-powerful 3-cylinders. Honda was nothing but unique since its NR500 days, and despite the power disadvantage, the 3-cylinder bike handled better than its 4-cylinder counterparts, allowing it to level the field and finish third in its debut season.
Spencer and his NS500 went all in from the 1982 season. After debuting in the season-opener in Argentina claiming second in Qualifying and third in the race, Spencer took his first pole in Round 4, Spain, and his first victory in Round 7, Belgium in July. He was third overall for the season. The victory in Belgium was Honda’s 139th win across all grand prix classes since the 1960s, and set the stage for Honda’s attempt to become world champion for the first time in 17 years, since 1966.
In the NS500’s second season, Spencer battled against Kenny Roberts who rode for a competing manufacturer, throughout the season. Spencer won the first three grands prix, while Roberts won rounds 8 through 10, the dead heat going Spencer’s way in the end by a mere two championship points, giving Honda its first riders’ title.
Out of the twelve grands prix of the 1983 season, Spencer won six, was second three times and was third once. Roberts won six, and was second three times. Only two points separated the two in a season for the history books.
In 1984, the NS500 evolved into the 4-cylinder NSR500. The number of cylinders was conventional, but true to Honda tradition, the bike had a unique layout with its fuel tank low within the chassis to reduce the center of gravity, and the exhaust chamber where the fuel tank would normally be. The new 4-cylinder engine needed more development though, and Honda raced with the old 3-cylinder NS500 depending on the race. The season was a learning experience, in which Honda won some races with the NSR500, and others with the NS500.
Spencer finished the 1984 season fourth overall, but thanks to the performance of other NSR500 and NS500 riders, and teams competing with the RS500 production racer, Honda managed to win its second-straight manufacturers’ title.
In the Endurance World Championship, Gerard Coudray / Patrick Igoa became the champions, and Joey Dunlop won the TT-F1 World Championship.
In off-road racing, Andre Malherbe won the Motocross World Championship 500cc class, and Eddy Lejeune won the Trial World Championship. Then, Ricky Graham became the first Honda rider to win in the US, after claiming the American Flat Track Grand National Championship title.
1985 was a year for Honda to celebrate.
Spencer, in his fifth year as a Honda rider, entered the 250cc class in addition to the premier 500cc class, racing in two classes for the same grand prix.
Honda had plans to increase 250cc class entries towards the late 1980s, aiming to sell 250cc racing bikes, and had asked Spencer to test ride. Spencer was so impressed by the bike that he had challenged himself to claim an unprecedented two class titles in the same year. Honda later developed production racers for the GP125 class, and began sales in 1988.
Grands prix at the time consisted of 125cc, 250cc and 500cc races. As soon as Spencer would finish his 250cc race, he would prepare to race in the 500cc class. He set an astounding record of winning seven 500cc class races and seven 250cc races, four of those being same-day wins. He took the title in both classes, a feat unheard of until then.
Spencer also won the Daytona 200 in the US, and from an American perspective, had won the triple crown.
With Spencer’s spectacular performance, Honda had won the manufacturers’ title for the third consecutive time in the 500cc class, and the first time since 1967 in the 250cc class.
1985 also saw the completion of Honda’s current head office in Aoyama, Tokyo. Prince Charles and Princess Diana have visited the new head office.
In 1985, Honda had participated in grand prix racing such as the Endurance World Championship, the Suzuka 8 Hours, the TT-F1 World Championship, the All Japan 250 / 500 / TT-F1 / TT-F3 classes, the AMA Superbike, and Daytona 200. It also participated in the Motocross World Championship 125 / 250 / 500cc classes, the AMA SuperCross and AMA National, the All Japan Motocross 125 / 250cc classes, the Paris-Dakar, the Trial World Championship, and the All Japan Trial Championship. Honda supported its users, providing factory bikes, support, and selling production racers, contributing to the popularizing and growth of motorsport, while developing its technologies.
Motorcycle racing was popular in Japan and the world during the 1980s and ‘90s. Honda played its part in this popularity, with HRC operating races and user support worldwide.
In grand prix racing following Spencer’s historic double-title, Wayne Gardener won the riders’ title in 1987, followed by Eddie Lawson in 1989, Mick Doohan in 1994 - 98, and Àlex Crivillé in 1999. Honda won the manufacturers’ title in 1989, 1992, and 1994 - 99.
In the 250cc class, Anton Mang won the riders’ title in 1987, followed by Alfonso "Sito" Pons in 1988 - 89, Luca Cadalora in 1991 - 92, and Max Biaggi in 1997. Honda won the manufacturers’ title in 1986 - 89, 1991 - 94, and 1996 -97.
Especially in the 1990s, with the emergence of Mick Doohan, who was as successful as Spencer, Honda was able to achieve results worthy of being called the strongest Grand Prix manufacturer.
After Mick Doohan won his first grand prix, two years into his career, in the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix, he won three rounds in 1991, and the first four rounds in 1992 before crashing and missing the rest of the season.
Following a terrible 1993 in which Honda won only two grands prix, Doohan went onto win nine of 14 races in 1994, finishing within the points in all races. He went on to win eight races in 1996, twelve in 1997, and eight in 1998. Doohan had won the championship five years straight. Although 1993 was not Honda’s finest year, HRC had newly added fuel injection to its 2-stroke bike, taking Japanese Grand Prix rider Shinichi Ito to a top speed of 200mph (320km/h) in the German Grand Prix.
In 1997, Honda riders won all 15 rounds. Honda dominated the podium in nine rounds, and the top five riders were all Honda riders. From the 1997 season-opener in Malaysia to Round 7, the Dutch TT in 1998, Honda riders won 22 consecutive races, setting a new record.
Although Doohan ended his illustrious grand prix career due to the injury in Round 3 in 1999, he had won five riders’ titles between 1990 - 99, and a total of 54 race victories.
By the end of 2001, Honda had won ten 500cc class races in the 1960s, and after its return to grand prix racing in 1982, the 2-stroke NS500 / NSR500s had won 25 races by Spencer’s double-title winning 1985. From 1986 to 1989, Honda had won 20 races, and another 83 by 1999. From then until the beginning of the 4-stroke MotoGP class, Honda had won 18 races. Its total was 156 500cc class victories.
In the opening round of 2001, the Grand Prix of Japan, Honda won its 500th grand prix, counting its victories across all 125 / 250 / 500cc classes. As the dawn of the MotoGP era neared, bike regulations were about to change dramatically.
Since 1949, when grand prix racing began, the premier class has been powered by 500cc racing bikes.
Honda first participated in grand prix racing in 1959, with the 4-stroke 2-cylinder RC141 in the 125cc class, and in 1960, with the RC161 in the 250cc class. Honda then entered the 350cc class in 1962 with the RC170, and the premier 500cc class in 1966 with the RC181.
The 500cc displacement of premier class engines was an upper limit, not a fixed size, as 2-stroke / 4-stroke decisions were left up to the participants. Honda predominantly made 4-stroke engines at the time, fighting against conventional wisdom that with the same engine size, 2-strokes could produce more power.
When Honda withdrew from grand prix racing in 1967, 2-strokes ruled. In the 500cc class in particular, MV Agusta’s 4-stroke bikes dominated from the 1950s. Apart from Gilera taking the manufacturers’ title in 1957 and Honda in 1966, MV Agusta had won the title 16 times between 1956 and 1973.
MV Agusta’s reign was ended in 1974 by Yamaha’s 2-stroke YZR500, in its second season, followed by Suzuki’s RG / RGA / RGB / RGC500 / RGΓ won seven-straight seasons from 1976 to 1982.
On its return to grand prix racing, Honda’s 4-stroke NR500 failed to win, but the 2-stroke NS500 was victorious in 1983. No 4-stroke racing bike has won the title since.
Between the 1990s and 2000s, the number of 2-stroke bikes were on the decline on the track and on the road, mainly due to emissions and noise regulations.
Grand prix racing was no exception, leading to the opinion that racing 2-stroke bikes was pointless as they would not lead to production bikes sales. In April, 2000, FIM, the sanctioning body of grand prix racing, declared the move to 4-stroke racing bikes. The premier 500cc class would be renamed to MotoGP from 2002, allowing 4-stroke 990cc bikes to race alongside the conventional 2-stroke 500cc machines.
In this tumultuous time, HRC developed a 4-stroke, 990cc V-5 engine. As the bike’s weight was being regulated according to the number of pistons, HRC determined that five cylinders was the best balance between high-revving multi-pistons and minimum weight.
The new generation 990cc 4-stroke V-5 powered grand prix bike with Unit Pro-Link rear suspension was named the RC211V. “RC” became the prefix for Honda’s grand prix bikes, “211” as its was the first model in the 21st century, and “V” which denoted the engine type and is also the Roman numeral for five.
In the 1960s, Honda introduced multi-cylinder 4-stroke engines to grand prix racing. In the 2-stroke dominated 1970s, the 4-stroke NR500. In the 2-stroke 4-cylinder 1980s, the 3-cylinder engine. And now, Honda once again defied conventional wisdom by introducing a unique, 5-cylinder engine.
The RC211V debuted with the dawn of the MotoGP era, in the opening round of the 2002 season at a rainy Grand Prix of Japan. Valentino Rossi’s RC211V won. From there, the RC211V dominated, winning 14 of the 16 rounds： Rossi won 11, Alex Barros two, and Tohru Ukawa one.
The RC211V went on the win 14 of the 16 rounds in the following 2003 season, giving back-to-back titles to Honda and Rossi.
In 2004, Rossi had left Honda, and the riders’ title went with him, but Honda nonetheless claimed four straight manufacturers’ titles. In 2005, Honda was unable to win either the riders’ or Manufacturers’ titles.
2006 was the final season for the 990cc bikes, as the FIM had announced the move to 800cc beginning in 2007. HRC wasted no time in downsizing the 990cc RC211V to 800cc, the “New Generation,” which was handed to Nicky Hayden. Honda was no stranger to pre-empting regulation changes, as it had done so at the 1983 Suzuka 8 Hours by reducing displacement from 1000cc to 850cc a year before the new TT-F1 regulations were set to take effect.
In 2006, Hayden gave Honda its 200th premier class victory at Round 8, the Dutch TT, and emerged victorious in the riders’ championship after winning the final round from Rossi. Honda also won the manufacturers’ title. During the 990cc MotoGP era, Honda had won over half of the 82 races. The 990cc MotoGP era came to a close.
As the maximum engine size from MotoGP bikes was reduced to 800cc in 2007, Honda replaced its unique 5-cylinder engine with a more conventional V-4 engine, and renamed the bike the RC212V. Honda failed to win the riders’ or manufacturers’ titles between 2007 and 2010, but in 2011, Casey Stoner debuting for Honda won both. Honda won the manufacturers’ title the following year, and in 2013, Moto2 class rider Marc Marquez joined the Honda team.
The Moto2 class began in 2010 as the 2-stroke GP250 class bikes were replaced with 4-stroke engines. The class was contended by various chassis manufacturers, but all were powered by Honda CBR600RR engines.
After three years racing in the GP125 class, Marquez won the Moto2 class in his second season, and moved to the MotoGP class in 2013, joining Honda’s factory team. He became the youngest premier class champion in his debut season, and claimed the riders’ title in 2014, and 2016 - 19, becoming one of Honda’s highest performing riders.
Marquez has not been able to perform well due to injuries sustained in 2020, but he will undoubtedly regain his unparalleled form.
In the two decades from 2002, HRC’s activities focused on MotoGP, but it has also been involved in road, off-road, trial and rally racing, from national championships to world championships.
In early 2013, Honda returned to the South American Dakar Rally (formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally) as a factory team for the first time in 24 years. In 2020, it won its first Dakar since making its comeback.
In 2002, Honda developed the RN-01 for downhill mountain biking competition, supplying teams in the Japanese and World Cup series. Seemingly unrelated to motorcycles, the RN-01’s gear mechanism played a role in developing Honda’s MotoGP transmissions. True to form, Honda applied technologies developed in one category, to improve another.
In 2022, Honda four-wheel racing division HRD Sakura (Honda Research and Development in Sakura, Tochigi) was combined with HRC. Four decades since its establishment, HRC now enters a new era.
In 2022, Honda four-wheel racing development division, HRC Sakura was merged with HRC, which until then operated Honda’s two-wheel racing activities.
HRC continues to supply factory bikes, and support outstanding teams and privateers in the various motorcycle motorsports championships.
The company believes its purpose is to continue supporting motorsports, and discover and nurture riders and drivers aspiring to become champions.
Mobility is facing a period of dramatic change. Honda announced that it will strive to realize carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities Honda is involved in by 2050.
Honda believes this includes motorsports, and is concentrating on developing new electrification and carbon-neutral fuel related technologies.
FIM, the governing body for motorcycle sport, has announced that it will introduce zero-carbon fuel to MotoGP, aiming to power MotoGP bikes with at least 40% non-fossil fuels by 2024, and 100% by 2027. Moto2 and Moto3 are included, aiming to use 100% sustainable fuels by 2027.
This regulation change is based on the use of internal combustion engines, and does not mean MotoGP / Moto2 / Moto3 bikes will suddenly use hybrid systems. Every MotoGP manufacturer, including Honda, is in negotiations to find the best possible path ahead.
With Formula 1 newly added to HRC’s portfolio, HRC will provide technical support to Red Bull Powertrains which replaces Honda as a power unit supplier, while tackling carbon-neutrality.
Honda has announced that it plans to globally release thirty EV models ranging from light utility vans to its flagship models, and will exceed annual production of over 2 million units.
For its motorcycles, Honda has announced that it aims to realize carbon neutrality for all of its motorcycle products during the 2040s. It will continue to evolve ICEs (Internal Combustion Engines), while shift towards its environmental strategy and accelerate electrification of its motorcycles.
HRC aims to contribute to Honda’s goal to take all of its two- and four-wheel products carbon neutral, through its associates and technologies developed through racing.
HRC will head into the next forty years taking on the challenge for sustainable mobility, and sustainable motorsports.
HRC Champions Gallery
The riders who battled, and were rewarded, alongside HRC.
＊All data is as of December 23, 2022.
- Freddie Spencer WGP 1983,1985(500cc,250cc)
- Wayne Gardner WGP 1987
- Eddie Lawson WGP 1989
- Àlex Crivillé WGP 1999
- Mick Doohan WGP 1994-1998
- Valentino Rossi WGP/MotoGP 2001-2002,2003(MotoGP)
- Nicky Hayden MotoGP 2006
- Casey Stoner MotoGP 2011
- Marc Márquez MotoGP 2013-2014、2016-2019
- Álex Márquez Moto3 2014
- Anton Mang WGP 1987
- Sito Pons WGP 1988-1989
- Luca Cadalora WGP 1991-1992
- Max Biaggi WGP 1997
- Daijiro Kato WGP 2001
- Dani Pedrosa WGP 2004-2005
- Hiroshi Aoyama WGP 2009
- Andre Malherbe MXGP 1984
- David Thorpe MXGP 1985-1986,1989
- Eric Geboers MXGP 1987(250), 1988(500), 1990(500)
- Georges Jobé MXGP 1987, 1991, 1992
- Jean-Michel Bayle MXGP, AMA-SX,AMA-MX 1988(FIM MX125), 1989(FIM MX250), 1991(AMA SX250, AMA MX250, AMA MX500) ,
- Tim Gajser MXGP 2015(MX2) , 2016(MXGP) , 2019-2020(MXGP),2022(MXGP)
- Trampas Parker MXGP 1991
- Greg Albertyn MXGP 1992(125), 1993(250)
- Marcus Hansson MXGP 1994
- Stefan Everts MXGP 1996-1997
- Frederic Bolley MXGP 1999-2000
- Alex Puzar MXGP 1995
- Bubba Shobert AMA Grand National,
AMA Superbike 1985-1987(Grand National), 1988(Superbike)
- Darrell Schultz AMA-MX 1982
- David Bailey AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1983(SX250, MX250), 1984(MX500), 1986(MX500)
- Rick Johnson AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1986(SX250, MX250), 1987(MX250, MX500), 1988(SX250, MX500)
- Donnie Hansen AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1982
- Johnny O'Mara AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1983(MX125), 1984(SX250)
- Jeff Stanton AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1989(SX250, MX250), 1990(SX250, MX250), 1992(SX250, MX250)
- Jeremy McGrath AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1991-1992(SX125 West), 1993-1996(SX250),1995(MX250)
- Ricky Carmichael AMA-MX, AMA-SX 2002-2003(SX250, MX250), 2004(MX250)
- Davi Millsaps AMA-SX 2006
- Trey Canard AMA-MX, AMA-SX 2008(SX250 East), 2010(MX250)
- Justin Barcia AMA-SX 2011, 2012
- Eli Tomac AMA-MX, AMA-SX 2012(SX250 East), 2013(MX250)
- Wil Hahn AMA-SX 2013
- Justin Bogle AMA-SX 2014
- Malcolm Stewart AMA-SX 2016
- Chase Sexton AMA-SX 2019-2020
- Jett Lawrence AMA-MX, AMA-SX 2021(MX250), 2022(X250 East, MX250)
- Ron Lechien AMA-MX 1985
- Micky Dymond AMA-MX 1986-1987
- Keith Turpin AMA-SX 1986
- George Holland AMA-MX 1988
- Mike Kiedrowski AMA-MX 1989
- Brian Swink AMA-SX 1991
- Doug Henry AMA-MX, AMA-SX 1993(SX125 East, MX125), 1994(MX125)
- Steve Lamson AMA-MX 1995-1996
- Travis Preston AMA-SX 2002
- Ty Davis AMA-SX 2002
4 wheels Stories
Honda has a long history of challenging the top of four-wheeled motorsports categories, including Formula One.
August 2, 1964, Round 6 of German Grand Prix, an ivory-white car donned with a red circle which symbolizes Japanese flag lined up on the Nurburgring starting grid. The driver was a young American, Ronnie Bucknam, unknown to most. Qualifying did not go well, and the car would start from 22nd, at the back of the grid. This was the beginning of Honda’s Formula One history. There was no-one behind, and a whole future ahead.
The history of the Honda’s Formula One started from this moment. No one was behind, and the goal was to overtake the cars in front as many as one. This is how it started.
Although Honda was already a world-renowned motorcycle manufacturer, demonstrating its strength by winning the Isle of Man TT and other motorcycle races, but in the year before it entered Formula One racing, it had begun its journey as an automobile manufacturer, the last Japanese to enter the market, having just released its small S500 sports car and T360 light “kei” truck. Without any background in automobiles, Honda’s decision to enter Formula One racing was an incalculably insane challenge.
The RA271, Japan’s first formula car developed upon the foundations of the RA270 prototype, performed poorly in Qualifying, but ran in up to ninth place during the race. With three laps remaining it crashed, but its impressive speed gave Honda the confidence to continue.
Honda’s first victory came in 1965, the company’s first full season of Formula One competition. Ronnie Bucknam was joined by a second driver, fellow-American Ritchie Ginther. In the final round in Mexico, the improved RA272 was carefully set up for the high altitude track, and Ritchie Ginther was third on grid.
Ginther led the race throughout, and gave Honda its first victory. Teammate Bucknam finished fifth. In less than two years, Honda had reached the pinnacle not through luck, but earned its victory. Honda had also proven that its automobile technologies were world-class.
In 1966, engine displacement regulations changed from 1.5 to 3.0 liters. In 1967, Honda’s team was joined by motorcycle world champion John Surtees who had switched over to Formula One racing. Surtees was Honda’s lone representative this season. In Round 9, Surtees drove the RA300, just completed on-site at the Monza Circuit, from ninth grid to challenge race leader Jack Brabham in the closing stages.
After exiting the final turn neck-and-neck, Surtees pulled ahead to win by a car’s length.
With its second victory, and a third and four second places, Honda ranked fourth in the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. 1967 was the most successful season in what would later be called Honda’s first era of Formula One racing.
In 1968, Honda decided to exit from Formula One racing to tackle the society-wide issue of exhaust gas pollution by developing low-emission engines, and to solidify its place in the world as an automobile manufacturer.
At the press conference after winning the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix, Soichiro Honda said, “Ever since we first decided to build cars we have worked hard and been willing to take the most difficult path. We must study the reasons why we lose, and do the same when we win, so that we can use that knowledge to improve the quality of our cars and make them safer for our customers. That’s our duty. Once we had established our goal, we decided to choose the most difficult path to get there. This is why we entered the Grand Prix series. We will therefore not be content with this victory alone. We will study why we won and aggressively apply those winning technologies to new cars."
Passionate engineers who made their goal to be victorious in F1 racing of 1st era also played huge roles in developing mass-produced automobiles afterward.
Honda’s return to Formula One racing was preceded by the company supplying engines for the European F2 Championship in 1980. Since Honda had last participated, technological advances, regulation changes, and even the world environment had changed dramatically. With many of its young engineers inexperienced with Formula One racing, Honda decided to first take on F2 to gain experience.
In 1981, its second year in F2, Ralt-Honda’s British driver, Geoff Lees won the European F2 Championship. It was followed by a monumental record of twelve consecutive victories for Honda engines spanning the 1983 and 1984 seasons.
Honda began developing Formula One engines, and in July 1983, returned to Formula One racing with an F-1 chassis built by Spirit Racing, to which Honda supplied F2 engines, combined with the new Honda engine.
Honda decided to re-enter Formula One by supplying engines, as it was doing in F2. Its first race ended after only five laps, but in the same season, the Williams FW09, powered by a turbo-charged 1.5L Honda V6 engine, came fifth in the final round.
In July 1984 at the Dallas Grand Prix, Finnish racer Keke Rosberg driving the Honda-powered Williams FW09 won. Honda and Williams continued their partnership the following season, and after updating the engine mid-season, won four grands prix. In 1986, Williams-Honda won nine of the 16 rounds, dominating the season to win the constructors’ title.
Honda went on to win six consecutive constructors’ titles until 1991. In 1988, McLaren-Honda won 15 of the 16 rounds, a near-total domination, to take the championship.
During this period, Honda engines powered many legends to victory: Nelson Piquet (Williams-Honda, 1987), Ayrton Senna (McLaren-Honda, 1988), Alain Prost (McLaren-Honda, 1989 when turbos were banned and replaced by 3.5L normally-aspirated engines), and Ayrton Senna (McLaren-Honda, 1990 and 1991).
One of the reasons Honda was so successful during the period was that it was quick to bring to Formula One a telemetry system it developed that monitored the racing car via sensors installed throughout, replacing experience and hunches to set up the car with data-driven electronic control. From there, the electronic control of Formula One cars then accelerated.
In 1992, a decade into its second era, Honda announced to end participating Formula One. In these ten years, Honda had developed a 1.5L V6 turbo, a 3.5L normally-aspirated V10, and a 3.5L normally-aspirated V12.
Honda once again returned to Formula One in 2000. In the spring of 1998, the company announced Honda’s Formula One racing team, which would not only develop and supply the engines, but develop and manufacture the chassis, and operate the team, as it did in its first era.
One year later, in May 1999, Honda announced to be partner with British America Racing (BAR) in its second year of Formula One racing, and in addition to designing and supplying the engine, co-develop the chassis and leave team management to BAR, setting the stage for Honda’s third Formula One grand prix challenge to begin in 2000.
The technological advances in Formula One were not easy for Honda to match, especially after a seven year hiatus, and from 2000 to 2003, Honda was fifth, sixth, eighth and fifth in the constructors’ championship, far from being victorious.
In 2004, British driver Jenson Button and Japanese Takuma Sato, who was driving for Jordan which Honda supplied engines to in 2001 and 2002, were chosen to represent BAR-Honda. Winter tests were promising, and after five years since it returned, Honda was finally as fast as its rivals.
Although Button did not win grands prix, he scored Honda’s first pole position for its third era in Round 4, San Marino, and was on the podium for three-straight rounds, consistently high up in the rankings throughout the season. He finished the 2004 drivers’ championship third, with four second-places and six third-places.
In Round 9, the Grand Prix of the Americas held in June, Sato became the first Japanese driver in 14 years to finish on the podium, to the delight of Japanese F1 fans. This year, the two BAR-Honda drivers’ performance gave Honda second place in the constructors’ championship.
In 2006, when engine regulations changed from 3.0L V10 engines to 2.4L V8s, Honda acquired all of BAR’s shares, realizing its plan since first considering its third era in Formula One, to race as a full constructor, for the first time in 38 years.
Finally, in August that year, at the Hungaroring in Round 13, the Hungarian Grand Prix, the time had come. In wet conditions, Jenson Button won. The first victory in its third era was as a true factory team, for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix in 1967. For Jenson Button, it was his first Formula One victory on his 115th race.
Honda ended the 2006 season fourth in the constructors’ championship, eighth in 2007, and ninth in 2008. In December 2008, after the season ended and the world reeled from the financial crisis, Honda announced it would withdraw from Formula One racing. Honda had ended its third era with only one victory.
In May 2013, Honda announced that it would return to Formula One in a joint project with McLaren as power unit supplier from 2015. Honda developed a power unit (PU) combining a 1.6L V6 single-turbo engine with Energy Recovery System (ERS).
Although expectations were high, as the partnership so strong during its second era had come back, catching up with other teams in the power unit development race was difficult. McLaren-Honda’s track record in the constructors’ championship was ninth in 2015, sixth in 2016, and ninth in 2017. In September 2017, the team announced the end of the partnership.
In 2018, Honda began to supply power units to Scuderia Toro Rosso, and in June, announced that it would also supply power units to Red Bull Group’s Red Bull Racing team.
In 2019 as Honda continued to supply power units to Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, it worked closely with its various deparments, such as aircraft engine R&D to dramatically increase turbo durability, to improve power unit output and reliability.
With a new, more powerful and reliable power unit, Red Bull’s Dutch driver, Max Verstappen, came third in the opening round in Australia, giving Honda its first podium in its fourth era.
In Round 9, Austria, Verstappen fended off Scuderia Ferrari‘s Leclerc to secure Honda’s first win in its fourth era. Verstappen ended the season third in the drivers’ championship, behind only the dominant Mercedes drivers. Red Bull Racing Honda was third in the constructors’ championship.
In 2020, Verstappen was third in the drivers’ championship. Red Bull Racing Honda was second in the constructors’ race, closing in on Mercedes AMG F1, who had won the title every year since 2014.
In 2021 fighting with its back to the wall, Red Bull Racing Honda’s Verstappen, racing with a new power unit, was the only other contender apart from the defending champion, Mercedes AMG F1’s Lewis Hamilton. Going into the final round, Verstappen had nine wins while Hamilton had eight. Honda ended participating in Fomula One in 4th era with the victory of Verstappen who raced in a thrilling last lap battle, and won his first championship. It was Honda’s first since Ayrton Senna won three decades ago.
Honda pulled out of Formula One in 2022, but Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) continues to provide Red Bull Powertrains (replacing Honda as power unit supplier) with technical support, which will continue until 2025.
SUPER GT continues to be the largest, and most popular, motorsports series in Japan. The series, originally named the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, kicked off in 1994. Unique from its inception, the two-class (GT1 / GT2 classes, later renamed the GT500 / GT300 classes) race format continues to this day.
Honda first joined the competition in 1996 with the NSX, based on the NSX GT2 which raced a Le Mans. Since then, it was refined according to GT500 regulations, modifying rear wings or front bumpers each year, or even changing the engine to a turbocharged unit in 2004. The car retained the mid-engine layout of its production sibling.
In its first year of competing in the series, Team Kunimitsu’s NSX was the sole entrant, but as the years went on, there were up to five NSXs competing by 2000, a season in the Hondas were consistently well placed. After TAKATA Dome (Juichi Wakisaka / Katsutomo Kaneishi) won its first race of the season at Round 2, Fuji, Mobil1 NSX (Daisuke Ito / Dominik Schwager) dominated Round 3, SUGO with the newly-introduced 2000 model NSX. In Round 4, Fuji, ARTA NSX (Agri Suzuki / Keiichi Tsuchiya) won. ARTA’s two drivers are now the team’s manager and executive advisor, and their first victory as teammates in 2000 is remembered by many fans.
In 2000, NSXs won four of the seven rounds. Castrol MUGEN NSX finished consistently in the points, with four second-places. Ryo Michigami was crowned the drivers’ title, giving Honda its first series championship.
In 2005, the series was renamed to SUPER GT. Honda continued to race its NSX, which was improved, and became more competitive, every year. In 2007, ARTA (Daisuke Ito / Ralph Firman) gave Honda its second drivers’ title in the series.
2009 was the final year Honda’s first generation NSX raced in the series. From 2010, five front-engine layout, 3.4 liter V-8 engine-powered HSV-010 GT cars raced in SUPER GT.
Although Honda suffered a setback through a multi-car pileup at the 2010 season-opener at Suzuka, weider HSV-010 (Takashi Kogure / Loïc Duval) took the all-new car to victory at the following round at Okayama. The HSV-010 was a big success. In Round 5, SUGO, weider HSV-010 and KEIHIN HSV-010 (Toshihiro Kaneishi / Koudai Tsukakoshi) were in such a dead-heat throughout, they crossed the finish line in a dramatic side-by-side finish, KEIHIN HSV-010 winning by 0.025s. Despite fierce competition throughout the season, weider HSV-010 finished second in the final round, securing its overall victory.
Technical regulation changed drastically in 2014, mandating that all teams user a common monocoque chassis. At this time Honda decided to compete with the NSX CONCEPT-GT, based on the second-generation NSX concept model. Once again a mid-engine car, the new NSX incorporated the unique regeneration system of its production counterpart, powering the engine / motor hybrid car that Honda hoped would be victorious.
Unfortunately, the NSX CONCEPT-GT failed to win the championship in the three years it raced. In 2017, the car was replaced by a non-hybrid NSX-GT. There was much attention brought to the series the following year, as former F1 driver Jenson Button became a full-time SUPER GT driver.
The 2018 NSX-GT had many internal components rearranged to reduce its center of gravity, and the proof of its effectiveness was seen on track, as NSX-GTs fought side-by-side from the season-opener. KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi / Takashi Kogure) won this race, with RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto / Jenson Button) a close second. The NSX-GT performed well all season, winning four of the eight rounds, with another 1-2 at Round 3, Suzuka.
The Yamamoto / Button team had the highest consistency throughout the season, but rival teams were also relentless. RAYBRIG NSX-GT went into the final round at Suzuka equal-first on points, and after Button drove a persistent race to finish third, the team won Honda’s first overall championship in eight years.
Since 2020, the front-engine NSX-GT compliant to SUPER GT / DTM Class 1 has been raced by five teams. Although the new regulations wreaked havoc in the first few rounds, Honda managed to win four races, and in Round 7, Motegi, dominated the top five positions for the first time. As numerous NSX-GTs went into the final round as championship contenders, RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto / Tadasuke Makino) made a comeback to prevail and win the title.
From 2022, HRC has taken charge of four-wheel racing in addition to its motorcycle activities. Team livery and driver racing gear now sport the HRC logo, giving the drivers one more reason to improve, win, and keep on racing.
The premier Japanese formula category, the All-Japan F2000 Championship, began in 1973. Honda began supplying the RA261E engine to the All-Japan F2 Championship series in 1981, since which it won many championships alongside many drivers such as Satoru Nagashima.
In 1987, the F3000 series that replaced F2 in Europe in 1985 came to Japan, at which timing the Japanese championship was renamed as the All-Japan F3000 Championship. Engine output was raised more than 100 horsepower, as was the excitement. In its first year of competition, Kazuyoshi Hoshino drove his car powered by a V-8 RA387E engine designed for F3000, to victory. Since1988, Honda has signed on M-TEC to handle operations, to provide a wider range of teams with technology, leveling the field so that drivers could compete more on their own merits.
At this time, many drivers came from overseas to compete in the All-Japan F3000, and many have moved on to higher categories such as F1. Even after the series was renamed Formula Nippon in 1996, the Mugen MF308 engine powered the premier formula class in Japan until 2005.
Since 2006, Honda and Toyota have supplied engines for the series. In 2009, the 3.4 liter V-8 HR09E engine was exceptional, helping Loïc Duval and his team NAKAJIMA RACING win both the Drivers’ and Team championships. In 2012, the final year of Formula Nippon, DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING with Takuya Izawa and Koudai Tsukakoshi won the team title.
In 2013, the series was renamed SUPER FORMULA. That year, Naoki Yamamoto (TEAM MUGEN) took his first championship title in the final round.
In 2014, engine regulations changed to 2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engines. Honda’s HR-414E initially fell behind the competition, but development continued, and in 2017, Honda began supply of its new HR-417E engine. Current F1 driver Pierre Gasly (TEAM MUGEN) won two rounds and was ranked second overall. Next year, Naoki Yamamoto (TEAM MUGEN) won three rounds, and his second championship title. Yamamoto moved to DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING in 2019, helping the team win the Team title, and in 2020 when the new HR-420E engine was released, won the drivers’ title once again.
Honda teams continued to fight for the top spot into 2021. Tomoki Nojiri (TEAM MUGEN) has been consistent throughout the season, winning the championship before the final round. In 2022, Honda supplies engines to six teams / 10 cars. Tomoki Nojiri (#1 TEAM MUGEN) won his second straight championship, and his team has taken the team title.
Now ChallengeCategory of Competition
Racing activities in the 4-wheel category, which HRC has been challenging since 2022.
In each category, the spirit of HRC is inherited and hot battles are being fought.
SUPER GT is Japan’s top level semi-endurance racing series, succeeding the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship which began in 1994. The series has attracted attention worldwide, with high profile drivers from around the world, such as Formula One world champion Jenson Button in 2018 and 2019, competing in the category.
Two drivers (three in long distance races) share the same car, to cover a race distance of 300 - 450km (2022). SUPER GT cars are divided into classes according to their modifications. GT500 is where Honda, Toyota and Nissan race with purpose-built cars to be the “world’s fastest touring car manufacturer.” GT300 is where a wide array of production cars by automobile manufacturers from around the world compete. Although the two classes differ in speed, they share the track, and can be used by the other to gain a strategic advantage.
Honda has been competing in the series since the All Japan days. In 2022, Honda supplies five GT500 teams with NSX-GTs, and two GT300 teams with NSX GT3s. In recent years, Naoki Yamamoto / Jenson Button won the GT500 drivers’ title in 2018, and Naoki Yamamoto / Tadasuke Makino won in 2020.
SUPER Formula began in 2013 in place of the Formula Nippon Championship. SUPER Formula is the premier formula car series in Japan, held at circuits across the nation.
The series not only determines “Japan’s fastest driver,” but is also considered a stepping stone to the world’s top racing categories, as world famous drivers such as Formula One driver Pierre Gasly and 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Parou have raced in the series.
Dallara is the sole chassis manufacturer, and Yokohama the sole tire supplier for the series. Honda and Toyota supply engines. Both companies’ engines are purpose-developed 2L inline 4-cylinder direct-injection turbo engines, competing with their technologies for higher output. As all cars are nearly identical, races are invariably close, relying on driver skills and team strategies.
Six Honda teams (10 cars) compete in the series. Naoki Yamamoto has won the drivers’ championship three times (2013, 2018, 2020), and Tomoki Nojiri once (2021).
The IndyCar Series is one of the highest class of regional North American motorsports, held over 17 rounds per season (2022) in North America and Canada. The three types of race tracks are road (on a race circuit similar to Formula One), street (on public roads) and oval tracks. The Indy 500, held for the 106th time in 2022, is among the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 hour race considered one of the world’s three major automobile races. The Indy 500, which is held on an oval track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over 200 laps at speeds of over 350km/h, attracts 300 thousand spectators from North America every year.
Honda has been participating in the IndyCar series as an engine manufacturer since 2003. In 2006 to 2011, Honda was the sole engine supplier, contributing to the popularity of the series. In 2022, Honda supplies 17 racing cars with 2.2L V6 twin-turbo engines.
The IndyCar series attracts many outstanding drivers from all over the world, one of whom is Japan’s former Formula One driver, Takuma Sato, who has been racing in the series since 2010. He became the first Japanesee driver to win an IndyCar race in Long Beach in 2013. He also won the Indy 500 in 2017, and in 2020, making his mark in IndyCar history as one of its top drivers.
The FIA World Touring Car Cup is an international race category for production car-based racing cars. WTCR started in 2018, taking over from the WTCC and TCR International Series.
Nine rounds are planned for the 2022 season, spanning Europe and Asia. Five manufacturers including Honda compete in the series, and due to regulations that keep performance on par, closely fought battles and collisions are part of the excitement of the series.
TCR racing cars are based on four or five-door front-wheel drive production cars powered by 2000cc or smaller turbo engines, and are tuned according to TCR technical regulations. Honda has competed in the series since 2012 in the WTCC days, with its popular Civic sports hatchback. Since the WTCR began in 2018, Honda competes in the series with the Civic Type R TCR, codeveloped with Italy’s JAS Motorsport. In 2022, Honda competes with two teams (four cars).
The Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) World Championship is the world’s premier category of car racing.
Honda became the first Japanese manufacturer to enter Formula One in 1964. Since then Honda has participated spanning four eras, winning numerous races and championships.
Since 2014, Formula One cars been powered by hybrid power units which combine internal-combustion engines with energy recovery systems. Honda returned to Formula One in 2015 as a power unit supplier for other teams.
Power unit development under complex regulations has been difficult, and Honda initially struggled, but in 2019, five years since its return, won a grand prix. In its final year, in 2021, Red Bull Racing Honda’s Max Verstappen won the drivers’ championship, ending Honda’s fourth era in the best way possible.
Since 2022, in response to Red Bull Group’s request to Honda, HRC has been providing Red Bull Powertrains with technical support for its power units. HRC will continue to support Red Bull Group’s challenge until 2025, when current freezes on power unit development end, while aiming to hone HRC technologies and develop its staff.
NS500, NSR500, RS250RW
Born in Louisiana, USA, in 1961. Spencer began competing in dirt track races at an early age, demonstrating his speed and making a name for himself, and in 1978 began he full-time career in US road racing. During this period, he rode numerous big bikes in Superbike races, gaining popularity in the US, and also gained attention. He signed up with Honda in 1980, to race a CB750F Superbike racer, and in 1981 made his World GP debut as a privateer. Later he rode the NR500, powered by Honda’s 4-stroke oval piston engine. In 1982, his went full-time into the World GP with the 2-stroke V3-powered NS500 that replaced the NR500, and finished the season 3rd with two wins. In 1983, Spencer and Yamaha's Kenny Roberts staged a historic battle that resulted in the two riders with six victories apiece, and being slightly ahead on points, he became the youngest 500cc champion at the time. In 1985, he entered two classes, NSR500 (500cc) and RS250RW (250cc), and became world champion in both. Since 1986, injuries prevented him from further championships, as he raced and retired repeatedly. His last World GP race was in 1993 with Yamaha, and although he since raced sporadically in Superbike, he completely retired from racing in 1996. World GP: 72 races, 27 wins. Titles: Two 500cc titles (1983, 1985), One 250cc title (1985)
Born in New South Wales, Australia, in 1959. Gardner started his road racing career at the age of 17 when a friend invited him to a local race in 1980, where he was spotted by Mamoru Moriwaki, the president of Moriwaki, who had come to Australia from Japan. In 1981, he competed in the British National Championships on a TT-F1 designed by Moriwaki. He first gained international attention when he raced on a Moriwaki bike in the Suzuka 8 Hours that year, and took pole position with an astonishing time, although he retired from the race. Since then, he gradually gained recognition for his riding style that suited the big bikes. He made his World GP debut in 1983, competing in the Dutch TT on a Honda RS500 production racer, and in 1985, went full-time with UK Honda on an NS500, finishing the season 4th overall. His 1985 win in the Suzuka 8 Hours with HRC gained him a seat with Rothmans Honda in 1986, where he was 2nd overall on an NSR500. In 1987, he won his first world championship, outperforming Randy Mamola. He was also the first Australian to win a World GP championship. He continued to compete at the highest level against rivals such as Schwantz and Rainey, but in 1989 he broke his right leg as a result of a severe crash. He was never able to regain his speed and retired from World GP racing in 1992. He continued to race, albeit in a car. World GP: 100 races, 18 wins. Titles: one 500cc title (1987), four Suzuka 8 Hours (1985, 1986, 1991, 1992)
Born in California, USA, in 1958. Lawson started racing minibikes at the age of 7, switched to dirt track racing at age 12, and entered road racing in earnest in 1980. He had a contract with Kawasaki at the time, and raced mainly in Superbike and the 250cc class. In 1981, he became the AMA Superbike Champion and made his debut in the World GP 250cc class as a wildcard entry, attracting international attention. In 1984, he recorded his first GP victory in the opening round in South Africa, and went on to win four races against Spencer and other Honda riders, becoming world champion in his second season. He continued to show consistent speed as Yamaha's best rider, earning the nickname "Steady Eddie," and won the title again in 1986 and 1988. In 1989, at the peak of his career, he moved to Honda, supposedly his biggest rival. In 1990, he returned to Yamaha, and then moved to Cagiva in 1991. Lawson retired from the World GP in 1992. He has since participated in four-wheel racing, including the CART series. World GP: 31 wins. Titles: Four GP500 (1984, 1986, 1988, 1989), One Suzuka 8 Hours (1990)
Born in Catalunya, Spain, in 1970. Crivillé made his debut in the 80cc class in 1987, and in 1988, gained attention by finishing 2nd overall despite not winning a single race. He moved to the 125cc class that year, winning his first race in Australia, and with a total of five victories was crowned the youngest world champion at age 19. At the tine, he was the youngest World GP champion. In 1990, he moved to the 250cc class, but was unable to demonstrate the pace he had shown in the 80cc and 125cc classes, finishing 11th overall with a best finish of 5th, and 13th overall in 1991. In 1992, he made his move to the premier 500cc class, racing for Campsa Honda on an NSR500. He won his first premier class GP at the Dutch TT, was ranked 8th, and his return to form disproved any notion that he was a small-bike specialist. In 1994, he joined HRC and helped his teammate Mick Doohan to his first title, and from 1995, as the team’s livery went to Repsol colors and Doohan’s golden era began, he always seemed to be in Doohan's shadow, despite winning many races and demonstrating speed, consistenly high up in the standings. In 1999, Doohan retired, and Crivillé took over as the team’s top rider. He suddenly became invincible, winning six grands prix to win the title, and became the first Spanish 500cc champion. Crivillé retired after the 2001 season. World GP: 193 races, 20 wins. Titles: One 500cc title (1999), one 125cc title (1989)
Born in Queensland, Australia, in 1965. Doohan had been riding motorcycles since he was a boy, but did not make his professional racing debut until he was 19. He was active in local races in Australia, and in 1987 entered Superbike racing and became a top rider, winning the Superbike World Championship in 1988. His speed was so well regarded that he was selected by Rothmans Honda in 1989 to make his debut in the World GP 500cc class on the NSR500, alongside teammate and fellow Aussie, Wayne Gardner. In 1990, he won his first race and finished 3rd overall, and in 1991, he was 2nd in the overall ranking, unable to better Wayne Rainey for the title. He dominated the opening rounds in 1992 winning the first four of five rounds, but a crash at the Dutch TT caused serious injury to his right leg, leaving him runner-up for the season. In 1994, however, he won his first championship with an unprecedented record of 9 wins out of 14 races, and he was unstoppable until 1998, winning 5 consecutive championships in the 500cc class. In 1999, aiming for his sixth consecutive championship, Doohan suffered another serious crash in the third round of the 1999 Spanish GP, and missed the following races. He tried to make a comeback, but never raced again. World GP: 117 races, 54 wins. Titles: Five 500cc titles (1994-1998), Suzuka 8 Hours: 1 title (1991)
Born in Marche, Italy, in 1979. Valentino’s father, Graziano Rossi, was a GP rider active in the late 1970s. Early in life, Valentino was engrossed in racing karts, but moved to pocket bikes. In 1993, he began competing in road racing, winning the 125cc class of the Italian National Championship and finishing 3rd in the European Championship in 1995, before moving up to the 125cc class of the World GP in 1996. He finished his debut season 9th, including his first win on an Aprilia. In 1997, he outpaced 125cc legend Noboru Ueda to win 11 rounds and become world champion in his second season. He moved to the 250cc class in 1998, and became champion the following year with nine victories. In 2000, his fifth year in GP, he joined Honda with two world titles under his belt and moved to the 500cc class, where he won 11 races in 2001, his second year in the class, and became the last 500cc class champion. Even after MotoGP began in 2002, Rossi dominated, winning five straight championships including 2007 and 2008 with Yamaha. He continued to be the center of attention as a big star with unquestionable speed and flamboyance, and led the World GP for a long time. He also caused a stir in the paddock with a move to Ducati, a return to Yamaha, and rumors of a switch to F1. After a long absence from winning since 2017, he finally retired from the sport in the 2021 season. Rossi is currently the manager of his own team and also competes in four-wheel racing and rallying. World GP: 464 races, 115 wins. Titles: One 500cc title (2001), six MotoGP titles (2002-2005, 2008, 2009), one 250cc title (1999), one 125cc title (1997), one Suzuka 8 Hours title (2001)
Born in Kentucky, USA, in 1981. Hayden started riding motorcycles at an early age, and his dirt track racing career, moved on to road racing. Riding mainly in Superbike races, he became the AMA Supersport Champion in 1999 on a CBR600F, and the youngest AMA Superbike champion in 2002 on a VTR1000SPW. Honda highly regarded his speed on the large-size 4-stroke machine, and in the 2003 season, Hayden was selected for the 4-stroke MotoGP class, making his debut in the World GP on a Repsol Honda RC211V factory bike. He finished his debut season with two 3rd places, 5th overall and a Rookie of the Year award. Although he was 8th in 2004, he scored a long-awaited first MotoGP win from pole position in the U.S. GP, and was 3rd for the season. In 2006, his consistent speed was rewarded with 10 podium finishes, including two wins, giving him the MotoGP championship title beating his biggest rival, Rossi. The following year, his best performance was a 3rd place, and in 2008 he only managed a 2nd place finish. In 2009 he moved to Ducati, where he rode until 2013, but failed to win. 2014 saw him return to Honda (on a production RCV1000R, not an RC213V), but lost his seat at the end of the 2015 season. After two races as a substitute in 2016, he retired from MotoGP and moved to the Superbike World Championship, where an accident in 2017 ended his career. World GP: 218 races, 3 wins, 1 title (MotoGP / 2006)
Born in Queensland, Australia, in 1985. Stoner competed in dirt track races since his childhood, and moved to Europe with his family in 1999 to pursue his racing career. After participating in road racing in England and Spain, he made his World GP debut in the 125cc class in 2001, moved on to the 250cc class in 2002, and moved back to 125cc in 2003 where he won his first World GP. In 2005 he moved back to the 250cc class, where he was locked in a title battle with Dani Pedrosa. He won five races that year to finish 2nd overall. In 2006, he moved up to the MotoGP class, riding the RC211V for LCR Honda, but failed to win a race and finished 8th overall. In 2007, he moved to Ducati and won his first MotoGP class race at the Qatar GP. He outpaced legends such as Rossi and Capirossi to clinch the championship with ten victories. Rossi took the title back in 2008, and Stoner was runner-up, but it was a close call with Aussie’s six wins. He was still fast in 2009 and 2010, but due to health problems and injuries, he finished 4th overall. When he moved to Repsol Honda in 2011, however, he was consistently fast on the RC212V, winning 10 out of 18 GPs, and except for one retirement, he finished third or higher in every race to win his second MotoGP title. 2012 started as a promising year, with Stoner winning two of the first three GPs, but he suddenly announced that he would retire at the end of the 2012 season. He increased his wins to five that year, but injuries kept his overall rank to 3rd. After retiring at the age of 27, he made headlines for his participation in four-wheel racing and the Suzuka 8 Hours, as well as his contract as a test rider with Ducati, and there were rumors of a return to MotoGP, which never materialized. World GP: 176 races, 45 wins, 2 titles (MotoGP / 2007, 2011)
Born in Cervera, Spain, in 1993. Marquez started riding motorcycles at the age of 5, but was exceptionally fast in enduro as a child. In 2002 he moved to road racing, and after competing in the Spanish National Championship, he moved onto the World GP 125cc class with KTM in 2008. In 2010 he moved on to Derbi, and after his first win in the Italian GP, went on to win five consecutive races, fending off Pol Espargaro to become the world champion with 10 victories. In 2011, he won seven GPs in Moto2, but a crash forced him to miss the final two rounds, allowing Stefan Bradl to edge ahead for the title. In 2012, however, he was able to win nine races without a problem, and was crowned Moto2 champion by a wide margin. His speed was recognized by Repsol Honda, which he joined in 2013. On his RC213V, Marquez took six victories against a start-studded field that included Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, and Valentino Rossi, and won the championship. In 2014, he won 10 consecutive races from the start of the season, and became champion with 13 wins. From 2013 to 2019, there was no stopping Marquez, who singlehandedly created a golden era in which he dominated the MotoGP title in six seasons except for 2015, when he finished third. In 2020, however, he suffered a serious injury to his right arm in the second round, which sidelined him for the rest of the season. After treatment he returned to racing in 2021, winning three races, but was sidelined again for an extended period in 2022 due to re-injury to his right arm mid-season. He managed to make his comeback towards the end of the season. World GP: 232 races, 85 wins. Titles: 6 MotoGP titles (2013, 2014, 2016-2019), One Moto2 title (2012), One 125cc title (2010)*
*As of the end of the 2022 season
Born in Lleida, Spain, in 1996. Alex, younger brother of Marc Marquez, started racing at the age of 8 in pocket bikes, following in his older brother's footsteps, moving on to the Catalunya championship, and in 2010, the Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship, which he finished second overall in 2011. He won the championship in 2012, while also debuting in the World GP Moto3 class with Suter Honda, finishing 20th overall. In 2014, he moved to Honda and won the championship with a total of three GP victories. Combined with Marc’s similar title in 2010, this was the first time brothers won the same title in Moto3, and Honda’s first Moto3 title. In 2015, he moved up to Moto2, where he struggled at first, but in 2019, his fifth season, won five races to take the Moto2 title. In 2020, he joined MotoGP to race alongside his brother for the Repsol Honda team. In 2021 and 2022, Alex raced for LCR Honda. World GP: 12 wins. Titles: One Moto3 title (2014), one Moto2 title (2019)
Born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1949. Mang rode his first motorcycle at the age of 11, but it was not until he was over 20, when he became a race mechanic, that he began road racing. In 1975, he became the 350cc class champion in the German National Championship, and debuted in the World GP at the Austrian GP. In 1976, he won his first World GP in the 125cc class at the German GP held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. In 1978, he joined Kawasaki and entered both the 250cc and 350cc classes on KRs equipped with tandem twin engines. He won one race in the 250cc class. In 1979, he won one race in the 350cc class. In 1980, his talent blossomed when he won four out of ten races in the 250cc class, clinching his first world title, also winning two races in the 350cc class to finish second overall. In 1981 he became world champion in two classes, wining ten 250cc races and five in the 350cc class. After Kawasaki withdrew from World GP racing in 1982, he continued to compete in the 250cc class with Honda from 1985. In 1987, he won eight races on the NSR250, and at the age of 38, became champion once again. The following year, he proved that age was no concern by winning the opening round in Japan, but he was seriously injured in a crash at the Yugoslavian GP, and was forced to retire. World GP: 153 rounds, 42 wins. Titles: Three 250cc titles (1980, 1981, 1987), two 350cc titles (1981, 1982)
Born in Catalunya, Spain, in 1959. Pons debuted in the World GP in the 250cc class at the 1981 Belgian GP, and from 1982 he raced for Kobus, and in 1984, his first full year of competition, he recorded his first win in the Spanish GP, eventually finishing 4th overall. In 1985 he raced for HB Suzuki in the 500cc class, but his best result was 7th at the France GP. He joined Honda the following season, returning to 250cc, where he won two races on an NSR250, and fought Yamaha's Carlos Lavado for the title, but finished second. He did, however, become a top contender in the 250cc class, going on to finish 3rd overall with one win in 1987. The following year, he won his first title with four wins in a fiercely contested championship battle with fellow NSR riders Juan Garriga and Dominique Sarron. In 1990, he once again competed in the 500cc class on an NSR500, but was unable to challenge the top riders, and retired at the end of 1991. Since then, he continued to compete in the World GP as a team manager.
Born in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, in 1963. Cadalora entered the World GP for the first time in 1984 with MBA in the 125cc class, and in 1986, his third year, moved to Gilera and won his first title with four wins including his first World GP victory in Germany over Fausto Gresini. In 1987, he joined Marlboro Yamaha and switched to the 250cc class, winning two races in 1988 and finishing 6th overall, followed by another two wins in 1989 for an overall 5th, and three wins in 1990 for an overall 3rd. In 1991 he moved to Rothmans Honda, and accelerated his career on the NSR250 by winning eight rounds out of 15 with 12 podiums and nothing lower than a fifth place, giving him the championship title. In 1992, he won seven races and was once again world champion. In 1993, he returned to Marlboro Yamaha to compete in the premier 500cc class. He stayed at Yamaha until 1995 before moving back to Honda the following year, winning two races each and finishing 5th, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd over the four years. He was, however, unable to hold off Doohan, who was in his prime with Honda, and his results declined after 1997. He lost his full time seat in 1998, returned in 1999 but had a difficult time with MuZ. World GP: 195 races, 34 wins. Titles: Two 250cc titles (1991, 1992), One 125cc title (1986)
Born in Rome, Lazio, Italy, in 1971. Biaggi began racing in 1989, and quickly progressed through the categories, winning the European Championship 250cc class championship in 1991 and competing as a wildcard in the World GP 250cc class. In 1992, he raced with Aprilia and recorded his first win in the final round in South Africa, finishing 5th overall despite being a rookie. In 1993 he was 4th with one win, and in 1994, he won the world championship with five victories, beating Honda's Tadayuki Okada and Loris Capirossi, and went on to win again in 1995, 1996, and 1997 when he moved to Honda. He had won four consecutive 250cc class championships with 27 victories, beating Tetsuya Harada, Ralf Waldmann, Olivier Jacque and Tohru Ukawa. In 1998, he moved to the 500cc class, winning two races on the NSR500 and finishing second overall behind Doohan in his golden era. From 1999 to 2001, he continued to race for Yamaha, and from 2002, once MotoGP began, for Honda, winning many races and ranking high in the standings, but was never able to win the premier class title. He retired from the World GP in 2005 after a winless season. His passion for racing, however, had not diminished, as he switched to the Superbike World Championship, winning the title with Aprilia in 2010 and 2012. He is now retired, but continues to be involved in racing as a manager for a Moto3 team. World GP: 214 races, 42 wins. Titles: Four 250cc titles (1994-1997).
Born in Urawa, Saitama, Japan, in 1976. Kato started riding pocket bikes at the age of 3, had his first race experience at 5, and after racing mini-bikes, started road racing at 16. From 1993, he was active in the Kyushu Championship and other regional championships. As a result, he raced in the newly accredited International A-class All Japan Road Racing 250cc class, and won his first race. In 1995, he was handed an NSR250, which he rode to two victories, finishing 5th overall. He also debuted in World GP racing as a wildcard entry in the Japan GP. In 1997, he joined HRC and once again raced in the Japanese GP as a wildcard, not only winning the race, but the championship and also the All-Japan 250cc title, becoming a top rider. 1998 and 1999 were also All-Japan years for Kato, and in 2000 he made his long-awaited fulltime entry in the World GP 250cc class with Honda Gresini. He fought hard against rivals Tohru Ukawa (Honda) and Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque (Yamaha), winning four races but finishing third overall. In 2002, he moved to the pinnacle MotoGP class. He initially raced on an out-of-spec NSR500, but was armed with an RC211V mid-season, and finished 7th in the standings, his best result yet. World GP: 53 races, 17 wins. Titles: One 250cc title (2001), two Suzuka 8 Hours wins (2000, 2002)
Born in Catalunya, Spain, in 1985. Pedrosa started racing at the age of 4 on a minibike, and was selected for a GP rider training project sponsored by Telefonica. He debuted in the Spanish road racing championship in 2000, finishing 4th overall. In 2001, at the age of 15, he began competing in the World GP 125cc class on a Honda RS125, and in his debut year was on the podium, winning three races including his first victory in 2002, to finish third overall. In 2003 he won five races to secure his first championship title. In 2004, he made his debut in the 250cc class, winning the South African GP on an RS250RW, and eventually took the title with seven wins and 13 podium finishes, beating out Sebastien Bolt and Randy de Puniet. In 2005, he won the title again with eight victories and was quickly recognized as a world-class, beating Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso on the way. In 2006 he continued to race in MotoGP with Honda, controlling the big bike despite his small frame. From 2006 to 2017, he maintained his winning speed for 12 consecutive seasons, finishing second three times and third three times, and with the exception of 2018, his final year of full competition, he was always within the top six, a record of unbelievable consistency. He was, however, unable to beat riders such as Rossi and Marquez, and finally failed to win a MotoGP championship. World GP: 296 races, 54 wins. Titles: Two 250cc titles (2004, 2005), one 125cc title (2003)
Born in Ichihara, Chiba, Japan, in 1981. Aoyama started racing at the age of 5 on a pocket bike, moved to minibike racing at 14, and made his road racing debut at 17. He raced in the All-Japan 125cc class from 1999, moving up to 250cc in 2000, winning the title in 2003. He made his World GP debut in 2000 at the Pacific GP, but his first full season was in 2004 with Telefonica Movistar Honda as a first-batch graduate of the Honda Racing Scholarship. In his first year, he finished 6th overall with a best finish of 3rd, and in 2005, he won the Japanese GP for the first time, finishing 4th for the season. In 2006 he moved to KTM and finished 4th overall with 2 wins, and in 2007 won two grands prix, but was out of contention to win the championship against riders such as Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso. In the meantime, KTM withdrew from the 250cc class, so Aoyama returned to Honda in 2009. He was not in a good position, but he rode consistently with four wins and top-10 finishes in all races to win the final 250cc championship in 2009, ahead of Hector Barbera and Marco Simoncelli. In 2010, he raced in MotoGP, and moved to the Superbike World Championship in 2012. He was back i MotoGP the following year. After four races as a substitute in the 2015 season, he retired from MotoGP, and from 2018 has been focusing on training young riders as the manager of Honda Team Asia in Moto2 and Moto3. World GP: 175 races, 9 wins. Titles: One 250cc title (2009)
Born in Arkansas, USA, in 1968. After gaining extensive experience in dirt track racing as a child, Kocinski began competing in road racing in 1988. That year, he raced in the AMA 250cc class under Kenny Roberts, and also made wildcard appearances in the All Japan Road Race and World GP series. In 1988 he joined Yamaha to race in the World GP 250cc class, and won seven GPs after a full season to win the title in 1990. In 1989, he was a wildcard entry in the 500cc class, and in 1991, after a full season, won his first 500cc race and was 4th overall. In 1993, he moved to Suzuki in the 250cc class, and in 1994, he returned to the 500cc class with Cagiva, again finishing 3rd in the rankings, but lost his seat when Cagiva withdrew. After moving to the Superbike World Championship in 1996, he went on to win the championship the following year after nine wins with Castrol Honda on a RC45. In 1998, he returned to the World GP 500cc class with Honda, but was no longer as fast as he had been in his prime and retired in 1999. World GP: 99 races, 13 wins. Titles: 1 title (250cc / 1990)
WSBK2000 ,2002／WSBK／VTR1000SPW2000 ,2002
Born in Texas, USA, in 1994. Edwards won the AMA 250cc class championship in 1992 and finished 6th in the AMA Superbike class in 1993 and 1994. In 1995, he was hired by Yamaha to race in the Superbike World Championship. He moved to Honda in 1998, where he rode his RC45 to 5th overall with 3 wins including his first in Superbike, and in 1999, he finished 2nd with 5 wins. In 2000, on the VTR1000SPW, he finally won his first World Superbike title, beating Yamaha's Noriyuki Haga. 2001 saw him lose the title to Ducati's Troy Bayliss, but in 2002 he beat Bayliss to regain the title. He returned to Honda in 2004, after riding for Yamaha between 2005-2011, and retired in 2014 without a single MotoGP win. World GP: 196 races, 0 wins / Suzuka 8 Hours: 3 wins (1996, 2001, 2002).
Born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, in 1952. Dunlop started road racing in 1969 at the age of 17. Since his first race at the Isle of Man TT in 1976, he has consistently raced 102 races in multiple classes each year, winning three times between his first victory in 1977 and 2000. He has won a total of 26 races, including three hat tricks, and as of 2022, he still holds the record for the most victories in the TT. In addition to the Isle of Man TT, he has shown his unparalleled strength in races held on public road courses, winning many major road races, including the Ulster Grand Prix and the North West 200. He also entered the TT-F1 World Championship in 1980 with a Honda bike and won the championship five years in a row from 1982 to 1986. He also raced in the Suzuka 8 Hours in 1984 and 1985. In July 2000, he crashed in the 125cc class of a race held on a public road course in Estonia, losing his life at the age of 48.
Born in Verviers, Belgium, in 1961. Lejeune followed his brother, a four-time Belgian trials champion in the 1970s, into the world of trials. In 1979 he signed a contract with Honda, and in 1980 became the first Belgian trial champion, also winning his first Trial World Championship round at his home round. In 1981, he won back-to-back Belgian Championships, and three World Championships rounds, finishing 4th overall. In 1982 he won his first world title with nine wins, becoming the first rider to win a World Championship title on a four-stroke bike. He also won three consecutive world championships for the second time in history, a record unchallenged until 1984, and rode for Honda until 1987. He retired in 1990.
Born in Catalonia, Spain, in 1974. Colomer began bicycle trial riding early in his youth. After moving to motorcycle trials at the age of 14, he became the Spanish youth champion. In 1989, he became the Spanish junior champion. He was third in the Spanish championship in 1991, at the age of 16. He also began his Trial World Championship around this time, becoming world champion in 1996 on a Montesa Honda. Colomer also won three consecutive indoor world championships, from 1994 to 1996, and although he retired from the sport in 2004, he returned to the inaugural Trial-E Cup in 2017, winning the electric bike championship.
Born in West Yorkshire, England, in 1976. Following in the footsteps of his father, Martin Lampkin who was the first Trial world champion in 1975, Dougie won the British Trial Championship in the Schoolboy B class in 1991 at the age of 15, followed by the European Championship in 1993 and the British Trial Championship in 1994. His world championship ranking was 6th. He also won the I.S.D.E. in 1994 and 1996, his first World Championship title in 1997, and dominated the major titles such as the Indoor World Championship, the British Championship, and the Trial des Nations. By the time he retired in 2006, Lampkin had an outstanding trials record: Seven consecutive world championship titles, five consecutive indoor world championship titles, six British championship titles, two Spanish championship titles, twelve I.S.D.E. victories, and four Trial des Nations victories.
Born in Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan, in 1980. Influenced by his father who was also a trials rider, Fujinami started with bicycle trials, moving on to motorcycle trials in 1991. He won the Chubu Championship in 1992, and at age 15, became the youngest champion in the history of the All Japan Trial Championship in 1995. In 1996, he started competing in the world championship and won his first trial in Germany in 1997. In 1999, he became the All-Japan champion, but in the world championship, his Montesa Honda teammate Dougie Lampkin, who was at the height of his career, was tough to overcome. From 1999 to 2003, Fujinami finished runner-up in the championship, behind Lampkin. In 2004, however, he won eight trials, taking the world champion title away from Lampkin. He continued to compete in the world championship with Montesa Honda until retired in 2021. Since then he has been Montesa Honda’s team manager.
Born in Piella, Spain, in 1986. In 1999, Bou won the Catalan Cadet Trial Championship title, and after becoming Spanish Junior Champion in 2001, he began competing in the Trial World Championship in 2003. His first world championship trial win came in 2006, and in 2007 he moved to Montesa Honda and won the championship. He also won the Indoor World Championship (now the X-Trial World Championship) in the same year. Since then, Bou has continued to win both the outdoor and indoor titles for the 16 years up to 2022, setting an unprecedented record of two 16 consecutive world championship titles (32 consecutive titles overall). He is undoubtedly the world’s best trial rider in history.
Born in Belgium, in 1956. In 1973 and 1974, Malherbe won the 125cc class of the European Motocross Championship, and in 1977, finished 3rd in the 250cc class of the World Motocross Championship on a KTM. In 1978, he moved up to the premier 500cc class. In 1979, he signed on with Honda and finished 3rd overall. In 1980, he won his first world title, which he defended in 1981, and in 1984 he won his third 500cc title. He retired from motocross in 1986 and has since been competing in four-wheel racing and rally raids.
Born in England, in 1962. Thorpe began motocross riding as a youth, while also being talented enough as a soccer player to sign a professional contract. He chose motocross, joining Honda in 1983 to race in the Motocross World Championship 500cc class. Thorpe won the world title two years in a row, in 1985 and 1986. For the following two seasons, injury prevented him from reaching his full potential, but in 1989 he won his third 500cc title. Thorpe retired in 1993.
1990／FIM MX500／RC500M1987(250), 1988(500), 1990(500)
Born in Belgium, in 1962. Eric is the elder brother of Sylvain Geboers, who competed in the Motocross World Championship from 1968 to 1972. After following his brother’s footsteps and debuting in the 125cc class with Suzuki, Eric won his first 125cc class title in 1982, and won again the following year. Following Suzuki’s withdrawal from the championship, Eric moved to Honda in 1984 to race in the 500cc class, but was unable to win the title. In 1987, he moved to the 250cc class, and won five races and the title. In 1988, he returned to 500cc and won the championship, becoming the first rider in history to win all three classes of the Motocross World Championship. In 1990, he won the 500cc title again.
1992／FIM MX500／CR500R1987, 1991, 1992
Born in Belgium, in 1961. Also a talented soccer player, Jobé began his motocross career at the age of 16. After competing in the Belgian national championship, he won the 250cc class of the Motocross World Championship with Suzuki in 1980 and 1983. In 1985, he moved to Honda, where he became 500cc class champion in 1987 as a privateer, and won the title again in 1991 and 1992. He also competed in the 125cc class with his goal of winning all three classes of the world championship. He was unable to achieve his goal and retired in 1992. Since then, he devoted his time to training younger riders, but he fell ill and passed in 2012 at the age of 51.
MXGP, AMA-SX,AMA-MX1988／FIM MX125／CR125R
1991／AMA MX500／CR500R1988(FIM MX125), 1989(FIM MX250), 1991(AMA SX250, AMA MX250, AMA MX500) ,
CR125R, CR250R, CR500R
Born in France, in 1969. Bayle entered the 125cc class of the Motocross World Championship and the French National Championship in 1986, and moved to Honda in 1987, winning the French National title and the world championship in 1988. In 1991, he moved to the U.S. and won the AMA triple crown (AMA Supercross 250cc, and AMA Motocross 250cc and 500cc classes). In 1992 he switched to road racing, entering the World GP championship, where he rode in the 250cc class for Aprilia until 1995, moving to Yamaha in 1996 to compete in the 500cc class. He stayed in the 500cc class, after moving to Modenus, until 2002. He was a talented rider, able to win pole positions, but he did not win any titles or victories in his road racing career.
2022／FIM MXGP／CRF450RW 2015(MX2) , 2016(MXGP) , 2019-2020(MXGP),2022(MXGP)
Born in Slovenia, in 1996. In 2015, Gajser joined Honda to compete in the Motocross World Championship, winning his first MX2 world title that year. In 2016 he moved to the premier MX1 class, and won the title in the fiercely competitive class. He went on to win the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and in 2022, won his fifth world title. His bike number 243 is a reference to his late brother's birthday, March 24. To him, it is an important number, which he keeps despite winning champions.
Born in Louisiana, USA, in 1967. Parker competed in AMA motocross in 1985 and 1986 before moving to Italy, where he won the 1989 World Motocross Championship 125cc class with KTM. In 1991, he won the 250cc World Championship title with Honda, and in 1995, he tried his hand at the 500cc class with KTM attempting to win the Triple Crown, but failed. He raced in motocross until 2005. Parker became the first American to win two world championship classes, followed by Donny Schmidt.
1993／FIM MX250／CR250R1992(125), 1993(250)
Born in South Africa, in 1973. After riding in the national championships in his homeland and the Netherlands, Albertyn began competing in the Motocross World Championship in 1988. He rode for JHK Honda, led by Jan de Groot, alongside Takamasa Takagi and Tatsuyuki Motoki. In 1992, he won the 125cc class championship, and in 1993 won the 250cc class title. In 1995, he moved to the United States, where he won the AMA Motocross 250cc class title in 1999. He has also raced in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Born in Sweden, in 1969. Hanson competed in the 500cc class of the 1994 Motocross World Championship for Honda against four-stroke riders such as Jacky Martens (Husqvarna) and Joel Smets (Berti Marti). In the final round, Hanson was fined 3,000 Swiss francs for hitting a rider who blocked him unfairly in the first heat, but managed to reset his mind and rode hard in the second heat to take the title. In 1995, he raced in Supercross but suffered an injury that forced him to retire from the sport.
1997／FIM MX250／RC250M 1996-1997
Born in Belgium, in 1972. Stefan’s father, Harry Everts, is four-time Motocross World Champion. In 1989, Stefan debuted in the World Motocross Championship on a Suzuki, becoming the youngest rider to become the 125cc World Championship in 1991. From 1995 to 1997, he changed teams to Kawasaki, and then Honda, claiming three straight 250cc titles. Riding for Yamaha, he won the premier 500cc / MX1 class from 2001 to 2006, before retiring. He had won a total of ten motocross world championship titles and 101 races, an astounding record. His son, Liam, currently races in the MX2 class, aiming to become the third generation champion in the family.
2000／FIM MX250／RC250M 1999-2000
Born in France, in 1974. Bollée was the 1986 French national motocross champion in the 80cc class and the 1990 French Supercross champion in the 125cc class. In 1997, he debuted in the world championship 250cc class, and after moving to Honda in 1998, won the title in 1999 and 2000. That year, PAMO Honda’s team manager was so impressed with Ryuichiro Takahama, whom he had competed against in the Motocross des Nations, and wanted him for the team. If Takahama had made it into the team, Motocross, including Japan, may have been completely different.
Born in Italy, in 1968. Plizzari made his debut in the Motocross World Championship in 1988. He won the 250cc class title with Suzuki in 1990, but his poor performance the following year led to rumors of his retirement. However, he regrouped, and in 1995 joined Honda to race in the 125cc class. He won the championship in the final round, fending off a challenge from fellow-countryman Alessio Chiodi. After more than 20 years of racing in the championship, he retired in 2009.
Born in Orleans, France, in 1956. After racing motocross and enduro, Neveu competed in the first Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979 on a Yamaha XT500 and won the overall rally including four wheelers. In 1982, he switched to a Honda XR550 for his third win, and in 1986 was given a rally machine, the NXR750 developed by HRC, and won the rally not only in that year, but in 1987 as well. He is one of the leading riders of long-distance rally raids in the early days of the sport.
Born in France, in 1962. Lalay concentrated on enduro racing, winning many French national enduro championships, and has also won the I.S.D.E. 9 times. In 1989, he finally won the Paris-Dakar Rally, giving Honda its fourth consecutive Paris-Dakar victory. However, in the 1992 Paris-Dakar during a liaison, he had a fatal collision with one of the organizer's support cars.
Born in California, USA, in 1991. Brabec started his racing career at local off-road races in 2007, becoming the Hare & Hound AMA Champion in 2014, and went on to win the Baja 1000 and Baja 500. In 2020, in his fifth Dakar, Brabec took the lead in the third stage, riding his way to his first victory at the event.
Born in Argentina, in 1989. After competing in numerous enduro races at a young age and winning the I.S.D.E., Benavides switched to rally raids in 2015 and began competing in the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship with Honda, finishing third in the 2019 overall rankings. He competed in the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2016, finishing 4th, and 2nd in 2018. In 2021, he finally won the Dakar, on a CRF450 Rally.
AMA Grand National, AMA Superbike1985-'87／AMA Grand National／RS750D
1988／AMA Superbike／VFR750F1985-1987(Grand National), 1988(Superbike)
RS750D(Grand National), VFR750F(Superbike))
Born in Texas, USA, in 1962. Shobert began competing in the AMA Grand National in 1980 on a Harley and scored his first win in 1982. In 1984 he signed on with Honda and finished second overall behind teammate Ricky Graham, riding an RS750D. In 1985 claimed his first title with five wins, his second in 1986 with nine wins, and his third in 1987 with six wins. In 1988, he entered road racing, winning the AMA Superbike championship on a VFR750F and debuted in the World GP as a wildcard in the 250cc class of the U.S. GP, finishing 5th. In 1989, he had the opportunity, and took it, to compete in the World GP's premier 500cc class on an NSR500. An accident in the third round left him seriously injured, and his racing career came to an end.
Born in California, USA. In 1978, Shultz began racing AMA Supercross on a Maico bike, and in 1979, he signed a contract with Suzuki to race in the AMA Motocross and Supercross. In 1981, he was victorious in the Daytona Supercross and other events, and in 1982 he moved to Honda, where he lived up to expectations by winning the AMA 500cc class championship. Although he missed out on the Supercross title, he once again gained attention with his victories including Daytona. His knee, which had been injured when he was a teenager and had undergone numerous surgeries, reached its limit, and his career ended at the end of the 1982 season.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1983／AMA SX250／RC250M
1986／AMA MX500／RC500M1983(SX250, MX250), 1984(MX500), 1986(MX500)
Born in California, USA, in 1961. David was given a motorcycle at age 10 by his adoptive father, motocross rider Gary Bailey, and became a professional motocross rider in 1979. He moved to Honda in 1983, and played a role in Team USA’s victory in the Motocross des Nations. In 1983 he won both the AMA 250cc class and Supercross titles, and also won at the USGP as a wildcard entry. The following year, he won the AMA 500cc class title and again won the Motocross des Nations, and in 1986, he once again won the AMA 500cc class. A pre-season crash whilst training ended his career before he had a chance to race in the 1987 season. He was paralyzed from the waist down and retired from motocross.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1986／AMA SX250／CR250R
1988／AMA MX500／CR500R 1986(SX250, MX250), 1987(MX250, MX500), 1988(SX250, MX500)
Born in California, USA, in 1964. Johnson made his AMA professional debut in 1981 and won his first AMA 250cc motocross title in 1984. In 1986 as factory machines were banned in the AMA and production rules came into effect, he moved to Honda and won the AMA National and Supercross titles. In 1987, he won the 250cc and 500cc titles, and in 1988, the 500cc and Supercross titles. His momentum continued in 1989 with seven consecutive Supercross wins, but a broken right wrist prevented him from winning the title. In 1990 and 1991, he was unable to return to form and was forced to retire.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1982／AMA SX250／RC250M
Born in California, USA, in 1959. Hansen became interested in motorcycles in high school, and started dirt track racing and motocross. He joined Honda through Canadian maker Can-Am in 1980. The following year, he won the Motocross des Nations with Johnny O'Mara and others as a member of Team USA. In 1982, he won the AMA Motocross 250cc class and AMA Supercross. Hansen's nickname, ""holeshot,"" spread around the world and become standard racing terminology.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1983／AMA MX125／RC125M
1984／AMA SX250／RC250M1983(MX125), 1984(SX250)
Born in 1961 in California, USA. A local hero, O'Mara first made a name for himself in 1980 when he won the 125cc class at the Motocross World Championship USGP round as a wildcard entry for Mugen. In 1981 he joined Honda, and won the Ama Motocross 125cc title in 1983, followed by the Supercross title the following year. He won the USGP in the 250cc class in 1985. He also was a member of the winning U.S. team at the Motocross des Nations in 1981, 1982, 1984, and 1986. Since his retirement, he has been active in mountain biking, and contributes to the motocross world as a trainer. In recent years, he has coached 250cc champion Jet Lawrence.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1989／AMA SX250／CR250R
1992／AMA MX250／CR250R 1989(SX250, MX250), 1990(SX250, MX250), 1992(SX250, MX250)
Born in Michigan, USA, in 1968. Stanton won the AMA Rookie of the Year in 1987, and the AMA 250cc motocross and supercross championships in 1989, his second year with Honda. He won both motocross and supercross titles in 1990. His missed out on winning the titles in 1991, but was successful in 1992. He retired at the end of the 1994 season, but remained with Team Honda as an advisor, training the next generation of riders.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1991／AMA SX125 West／CR125R
1992／AMA SX125 West／CR125R
1996／AMA SX250／CR250R 1991-1992(SX125 West), 1993-1996(SX250),1995(MX250)
Born in California, USA, in 1971. McDouglas began his professional career in 1989, winning the AMA Supercross rookie class 125cc West Division championship in 1991 and 1992. He moved to a factory team in 1993, becoming Supercross champion for four consecutive years until 1996. The highlight of his career came in 1996, when he won 14 out of 15 races, an astonishingfeat. He also won the AMA 250cc class championship in 1995. In later years, he won three consecutive championships with Yamaha, and his record of seven titles and 72 victories has not been broken yet.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX2002／AMA SX250／CR250R
2004／AMA MX250／CRF450R 2002-2003(SX250, MX250), 2004(MX250)
Born in 1979 in Florida, USA. Carmichael was AMA Rookie of the Year in 1996, won the AMA Motocross 125cc class title in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He moved up to the 250cc class in 2000, and won the AMA Motocross and Supercross titles in 2001. In 2002, after moving to Honda, Carmichael achieved an unprecedented perfect season, winning all 24 races in the 12-round AMA Motocross season. Carmichael's success continued, winning a total of 16 AMA titles over the next 10 years as he changed teams from Kawasaki to Honda to Suzuki. His nickname is GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
AMA-SX2006／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2006
Born in 1988 in Florida, USA. Millsaps won the AMA Supercross 250 East, renamed Lites in 2006. Josh Grant of Factory Connection was a strong competitor, but Team Honda's Millsaps was able to take the championship title, winning four of the seven rounds in the series. This was the first title on a CRF250R, and served as a stepping stone to Honda's dominance in the Supercross East in later years.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX2008／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R
2010／AMA MX250／CRF250R2008(SX250 East), 2010(MX250)
Born in Oklahoma, USA, in 1990. Canard grew up in a family of motocross riders, prividing a solid foundation for his career. In 2007, he turned pro and signed on with Honda, becoming the 2008 AMA Supercross 250 East Regional Champion. In 2010, he won the first major title for an AMA motocross rider in the 250cc class on a CRF250R, and contributed to the U.S. teams victory at the Motocross des Nations. In 2011, he began competing in the AMA 450cc class and Supercross. He is currently a test rider for Team Honda HRC, supporting the team from behind the scenes.
AMA-SX2011／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R
2012／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2011, 2012
Born in New York, USA, in 1992. His nickname, "Bang Bang," comes from his wild riding style. Barcia won the AMA Supercross 250 East for two seasons straight, against tough competitors Dean Wilson (GBR) in 2011 and Ken Loksun (GER) in 2012, which inspired patriotism in his American fans. In 2012, Eli Tomac won the 250 West title, giving Geico Honda its first titles in both East and West in the same season.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX2012／AMA SX250 West／CRF250R
2013／AMA MX250／CRF250R2012(SX250 East), 2013(MX250)
Born in Colorado, USA, in 1992. Eli, whose father is mountain bike legend John Tomac, began his professional career with Honda in 2010, becoming the 2012 AMA Supercross Lites West Regional Champion and the 2013 AMA Motocross Championship 250cc class champion. After moving to Kawasaki and Yamaha, he represented the United States in the Motocross des Nations in 2022, giving his home country its first victory in 11 years.
AMA-SX2013／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2013
Born Texas, USA, in 1989. While his older brother, Tommy , never won a title while racing for Factory Connection and Team Honda, Will became the 2013 AMA Supercross 250 East Champion, with only three points separating Marvin Musquin, the runner-up. Since his retirement, Hahn has contributed to the motocross world as a trainer and team manager.
AMA-SX2014／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2014
Born in Oklahoma, USA, in 1993. Bogle made his professional debut at the Loretta Lynn-AMA Amateur National Championship with a perfect result, and in 2014 he won the AMA Supercross 250 East, giving Geico Honda-Factory Connection its fourth consecutive championship. He also racked up top finishes in AMA Motocross that year, earning a top-five series ranking, and in 2015 he attempted to defend his SX250 East title, but infortunately lost to Marvin Musquin.
AMA-SX2016／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2016
Born in Florida, USA, in 1992. The younger brother of James Stewart, Malcolm joined Geico Honda under a Supercross-only contract. He became AMA Supercross 250 East Champion in 2016. He did not compete in AMA Motocross that year, instead spending his time training in preparation for his move to the 450cc class. Physically suited to the larger bikes, Stewart finished in the top three in the 450cc class.
AMA-SX2019／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R
2020／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R2019-2020
Born in Illinois, USA, in 1999. Sexton won the AMA Supercross 250 East twice in a row. In 2019, he won one of the nine races, and in 2020, won five of the nine races to become series champion. In the summer of 2020, he was promoted from Geico Honda to Honda HRC, and rode in the AMA Motocross 450cc class. In 2022 he went into the final round one point behind Eli Tomac, the closest season it the championship’s history. In September, he was selected to be part of the U.S. team at the Motocross des Nations, where he contributed to the country’s first victory in 11 years.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX2021／AMA MX250／CRF250R
2022／AMA SX250 East／CRF250R
2022／AMA MX250／CRF250R 2021(MX250), 2022(X250 East, MX250)
Born in Australia, in 2003. Jet had been active in motocross with his brother Hunter since he was a child. After winning the 65cc class of the Junior World Championship in 2014, the family moved to the Netherlands to focus on motocross. in 2018, he rode a Suzuki in the 250cc class of the European Motocross Championship, winning the final round. The family then moved to the U.S. to compete in the 250cc class of the AMA Motocross Championship starting in 2019. Once he joined HRC, he won back-to-back AMA 250 Motocross titles in 2021 and 2022, and also become Supercross 250 East champion in 2022. He and his brother are teammates through Geico Honda and HRC.
Born in California, USA in 1966. Lechien signed on with Yamaha in 1983, and began competing in the AMA pro ranks before moving to Honda in 1984 and becoming AMA 125cc motocross champion in 1985. Lechien‘s values, placing more importance on winning the USGP and Motocross des Nations than personal titles, was based on his patriotism. Perhaps for this reason, Lechien‘s dominance, described as genius and ephemeral, did not last long. Since his retirement, he has been supporting the motocross world by working for his father's oil company, MAXIMA.
1987／AMA MX125／CR125R 1986-1987
Born in California, USA, in 1965. Daimond raced in the AMA Motocross Championship with Maico and Husqvarna from 1982, was discovered by Honda in 1986, and won the AMA 125cc Motocross Championship in 1986 and 1987. He moved to Yamaha in 1988, and retired in 1992. After a long hiatus from motocross, including a stint producing the FMX, he began racing motards in 2003 and was AMA Supermoto Champion in 2005.
AMA-SX1986／AMA SX125 East／CR125R1986
Born in Georgia, USA, in 1969. The 125 class was established in AMA Supercross in 1985, and the following year, in only its second season, Honda's support program gained traction, and Turpin became the 125 East Champion. That same year in Dallas, he outpaced Kawasaki riders Donny Schmidt, Jeff Matasevich, Ron Tischner, and Tyson Borland to take the win in the East/West exchange race.
Holland had been riding Suzuki motocross since childhood, and began racing professionally with Suzuki in 1981 in the AMA Motocross and Supercross Championships, finishing third in the AMA 125cc class in 1985 and 1986, and second in 1987. He moved to Honda in 1988, and won the AMA 125cc title. In 1989, he tried to defend his title, but due to an old shoulder injury, it was not meant to be. He retired at the end of the season.
Born in California, USA ,in 1969. Kiedrowski began riding professionally in 1987, initially with Kawasaki in the 125cc class of the AMA Motocross Championship and Supercross. He joined Team Honda in 1989, but the bike was not equal to that of defending champion George Holland. Despite this tough situation, he won the 125cc AMA Motocross title. Kiedrowski‘s bike number 762 that year is etched in AMA history as the champion with the largest number. Kiedrowski would later win the AMA Motocross 250cc and 500c titles, becoming only the second rider in history to win the Triple Crown.
AMA-SX1991／AMA SX125 East／CR125R1991
Born in Michigan, USA, in 1972. Swink was the 1991 AMA Supercross 125 East Champion, and along with Jeremy McGrath on SX125 West, was part of the complete East-West domination by Peak Pro Circuit Honda. His teammates in his first year included Steve Lamson and Jeromy Buhl. Swink moved to the Suzuki factory team the following year and successfully defended his 125 East title.
AMA-MX, AMA-SX1993／AMA SX125 East／CR125R
1994／AMA MX125／CR125R1993(SX125 East, MX125), 1994(MX125)
Born in Connecticut, USA, in 1969. Early in his career, Henry raced for Yamaha. His first title was in AMA 125 Motocross in 1993 when he moved to Honda, and won again the following year. In 1995, he focused on the 250cc class, but was seriously injured in a crash at Budds Creek. After his return, he came into his own as a 4-stroke rider and won the 250cc title in 1998. Even after his legs became paralyzed, he continues to compete not only in motocross, but also in supermoto and snowmobiles.
Born in California, USA, in 1971. Lamson was one of the first members of the now legendary Peak Pro Circuit Honda team that brought excitement to the 125 class. He won the AMA title in the 125cc class in 1995 after joining Honda’s factory team, and again in 1996. In 2000, he teamed by with Ryo Narita compete in the AMA Nationals. The Lamson Jump at Green Park Korakuen, where the All Japan Motocross was held, is named after Lamson, who first jumped over it during his visit to Japan, and is a unique landmark.
AMA-SX2002／AMA SX125 West／CR125R2002
Born in California, USA, in 1978. Preston won the 2002 AMA Supercross 125 West Championship. Preston, with two wins edged out James Stewart, with three round wins, to take the championship. This was the first title in the fifth season of Mike LaRocco's private team, Factory Connection Honda, and the last Supercross championship for the CR125R as Honda switched to four-strokes in 2004.
AMA-SX1990／AMA SX125 West／CR125R2002
Born in California, USA, in 1969. Davis' first major title was 1990 AMA Supercross 125 West Championship. He pride was in beating Jeremy McGrath, but the points system at the time forced him to move up to the 250 class, and he moved out of Supercross. Davis, who had won the Four-stroke National, Enduro, and Hare and Hounds, established Ziptie Racing, which sold offroad parts. In 2012, he was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame.