1979 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season

1979 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing Season

1979 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season

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The 1979 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season was the 31st F.I.M. Road Racing World Championship season.

Season summary

A season of changing fortunes in the 500cc class saw American, Kenny Roberts capture his second crown in the face of the Suzuki-mounted opposition. In the 50cc class, Eugenio Lazzarini won every race in which he finished to take the championship. Angel Nieto dominated on a Minarelli to take his seventh world championship. Kork Ballington would repeat as double world champion in the 250cc and 350cc classes for Kawasaki.

Defending champion Roberts was injured in a pre-season test but came back to win round two in impressive fashion. His rivals also suffered from bad luck. Hartog breaking his arm in practice, Cecotto badly breaking his kneecap in Austria and Sheene suffering from mechanical failures. The British Grand Prix would be remembered as one of the greatest races of the modern era with Roberts beating Sheene to the finish line by three-hundredths of a second. The season was also marked by Honda's return to Grand Prix racing with the exotic, oval-cylindered NR500.

The top riders boycotted the Belgian Grand Prix over safety issues showing their increasing dissatisfaction with the way the FIM conducted races. Near the end of the year, the top riders banded together to announce they would create a competing championship called the World Series. Although the series never got off the ground, the riders had flexed their political muscles and it forced the FIM...
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