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Giacomo Agostini
Giacomo Agostini
Agostini at the 2010 Dutch TT, where he rode a Yamaha YZR500 and a Yamaha YZR-M1.
Grand Prix motorcycle racing career
Active years1964 - 1977
TeamsMV Agusta, Yamaha
Grand Prix186
Championships350cc - 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
500cc - 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975
Career points1493
Fastest laps117
First Grand Prix1964 250cc German Grand Prix
First win1965 350cc German Grand Prix
Last win1976 500cc German Grand Prix
Last Grand Prix1977 500cc British Grand Prix
Isle of Man TT Career
TTs contested8 (1965 - 1972)
TT wins10
First TT1966 Junior TT
Last TT1972 Senior TT

Giacomo Agostini (born 16 June 1942 in Brescia, Lombardy) is an Italian multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Nicknamed Ago, he is the all-time leader in victories in motorcycle Grand Prix history, with 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championships titles. Of these, 68 wins and 8 titles came in the 500cc class, the rest in the 350cc class.

Early career

Agostini was the son of a wealthy Italian industrialist. His father originally didn't approve of his son's motorcycle racing career. He did everything he could to persuade his son not to race. Agostini had to steal away to compete, first in hill climb events and then in road racing.

Eventually his father came to terms with his racing and he won the 1963 Italian 175cc championship aboard a Morini. He got his break when Morini factory rider, Tarquinio Provini left the team to ride for Benelli. Count Alfonso Morini hired the young Agostini to ride for him. In 1964, Agostini would win the Italian 350cc title and proved his ability by finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

World championships

These results caught the eye of Count Domenico Agusta who signed Agostini to ride for his MV Agusta squad as Mike Hailwood's team-mate. Agostini then fought a season-long battle with Honda's Jim Redman for the 1965 350cc world championship. He seemed to have the title won when he led the final round in Japan at Suzuka when his bike failed him, handing the title to Redman.

At the end of the 1965 season, Hailwood left to join Honda as he had tired of working for the difficult Count Agusta. With Agostini now the top MV Agusta rider, he responded by winning the 500cc title seven years in succession for the Italian factory. He would also win the 350cc title seven times in succession and won 10 Isle of Man TTs. In 1967 he battled Hailwood in one of the most dramatic seasons in Grand Prix history. Each rider had 5 victories before the championship was decided in Agostini's favor at the last race of the season.

Practice in 1976 at the Nürburgring with the 350cc MV
Practice in 1976 at the Nürburgring with the 350cc MV

Agostini dropped a bombshell on the Grand Prix world when he announced he would never again race at the Isle of Man TT, after the death of his close friend, Gilberto Parlotti during the 1972 TT. He considered the circuit unsafe for world championship competition. At the time, the TT was the most prestigious race on the motorcycling calendar. Other top riders joined his boycott of the event and by 1977, the event was struck from the Grand Prix schedule.

Agostini surprised the racing world when he announced that he would leave MV Agusta to ride for Yamaha in 1974 season. On his first outing for the Japanese factory, he won the prestigious Daytona 200, the premiere American motorcycle race. He went on to claim the 1974 350cc World Championship but injuries and mechanical problems kept him from winning the 500cc crown. He rebounded and won the 1975 500cc title, marking the first time a two-stroke machine won the premier class.

The 1975 championship would also be the last world title for the 33 year old Italian. In 1976, he rode both Yamaha and MV bikes in the 500cc class, yet raced only once in the 350cc to win in Assen. For the challenging Nürburgring, he chose the 500cc MV Agusta and took it to victory, winning the last Grand Prix for both himself, the marque and the last for four-stroke engines in the 500cc class.

He retired from motorcycle competition after finishing 6th in the 1977 season in which he also raced in 750cc endurance races for Yamaha.

Non-riding career

Like John Surtees and Mike Hailwood before him, Agostini raced in Formula One cars. He competed in non-championship Formula One races in 1978. He competed in the European Formula 2 series in a Chevron B42-BMW and British Aurora Formula 1 with his own team and a Williams FW06. He ended his auto racing career in 1980.

In 1982, Ago returned to the motorcycle racing as the Marlboro Yamaha team manager. As team manager he managed many successful riders including Kenny Roberts, and Eddie Lawson. He also served as the Cagiva race team manager in 1992.

MotoGP Champions
500cc/MotoGP Motorcycle World Champions
1950 – U. Masetti 1960 – J. Surtees 1970 – G. Agostini 1980 – K. Roberts 1990 – W. Rainey 2000 – K. Roberts, Jr. 2010J. Lorenzo
1951 – G. Duke 1961 – G. Hocking 1971 – G. Agostini 1981 – M. Lucchinelli 1991 – W. Rainey 2001 – V. Rossi 2011 – C. Stoner
1952 – U. Masetti 1962 – M. Hailwood 1972 – G. Agostini 1982 – F. Uncini 1992 – W. Rainey 2002 – V. Rossi 2012 – J. Lorenzo
1953 – G. Duke 1963 – M. Hailwood 1973 – P. Read 1983 – F. Spencer 1993 – K. Schwantz 2003 – V. Rossi 2013 - Marc Márquez
1954 – G. Duke 1964 – M. Hailwood 1974 – P. Read 1984 – E. Lawson 1994 – M. Doohan 2004 – V. Rossi 2014 - Marc Márquez
1955 – G. Duke 1965 – M. Hailwood 1975 – G. Agostini 1985 – F. Spencer 1995 – M. Doohan 2005 – V. Rossi 2016 – J. Lorenzo
1956 – J. Surtees 1966 – G. Agostini 1976 – B. Sheene 1986 – E. Lawson 1996 – M. Doohan 2006 – N. Hayden 2016 - Marc Márquez
1957 – L. Liberati 1967 – G. Agostini 1977 – B. Sheene 1987 – W. Gardner 1997 – M. Doohan 2007 – C. Stoner 2017 - Marc Márquez
1958 – J. Surtees 1968 – G. Agostini 1978 – K. Roberts 1988 – E. Lawson 1998 – M. Doohan 2008 – V. Rossi
1949L. Graham 1959 – J. Surtees 1969 – G. Agostini 1979 – K. Roberts 1989 – E. Lawson 1999 – À. Crivillé 2009 – V. Rossi
Categories: Motorcycle Racers