- Wayne Rainey
Infobox Former Grand Prix motorcycle rider
Caption = Wayne Rainey on the Yamaha YZR500
Name = Wayne Rainey
Nationality = flagicon|United States
Years = 1984, 1988 - 1993
Teams = Yamaha
Races = 95
Championships = 500cc - 1990, 1991, 1992
Wins = 24
Podiums = 65
Points = 1270.5
Poles = 16
Fastest laps = 23
First race = 1984 250cc Nations Grand Prix
First win = 1988 500cc British Grand Prix
Last win = 1993 500cc Czech Republic Grand Prix
Last race = 1993 500cc Italian Grand Prix
Wayne Wesley Rainey cite news | url=http://www.amaproracing.com/archive/00rr/RIDERS/PASTCHPS/SBCHPRO/RAINEY.HTM | title=Wayne Rainey Profile | publisher=AMAProRacing.com | accessdate=2008-07-16 ] , born birth date and age|1960|10|23 in
Downey, California, United States, is an American former Grand Prix motorcycleroad racer. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he won the 500cc World Championship three times and the Daytona 200once. He was characterized by his smooth, calculating riding style. His career was ended by a crash at the Italian Grand Prix, which left him paralysed from the chest down.
Rainey began his career racing in the American Grand National Championship, a series that encompassed four distinct dirt track disciplines plus road races. Following his success in the Novice 250cc roadrace class, Kawasaki hired him to compete in the 1982
AMA SuperbikeChampionship as a teammate to the then defending National Champion Eddie Lawson. The following year, Lawson moved to the Grand Prix circuit and Rainey took over the role of leading rider, earning the 1983 National Championship for Kawasaki.
In 1984, he accepted an offer to ride for the newly formed
Kenny RobertsYamaha squad in the 250cc class of the Grand Prix World Championship. A less than successful season (1 podium and difficulty push-starting the bike) saw him returning home in 1985 to join the Maclean Racing team in U.S. 250 and Formula 1 classes, and then on to the American Hondateam from 1986 to 1987 where he raced Superbike and F1. It was during the 1987 Superbike National Championship that his intense rivalry began with Kevin Schwantzas the two battled it out for the title. Rainey won the Championship, but the fierce rivalry between the two competitors was just beginning. So intense was their rivalry that they continued their battle during the 1987 Trans-Atlantic Match Races in which they were supposedly teammates competing against a team of British riders.
In 1988 Rainey returned to Europe, again joining Team Roberts Yamaha, this time in the premier 500cc division riding the YZR500. His arch-rival Schwantz followed him to Europe, signing to race the 500cc class for Team
Suzuki. The two would continue their rivalry on race tracks all across Europe, driving each other to higher levels of competitiveness. In 1988, Rainey and his Team Roberts Yamaha teammate Kevin Mageewould also win the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hoursendurance race in Japan. In the 1989 campaign, Rainey would finish second overall. From 1990 to 1992, Rainey hit his stride earning three consecutive 500cc crowns for Yamaha. Rainey was well on his way to his fourth-consecutive title in 1993. He was leading the championship points and leading the GP when he suffered his career-ending crash at the Italian Grand Prix in Misano, in which he slid into the gravel trap at high speed, breaking his spine against the raked surface designed as a safety feature for car racing. The injury handed the title over to his great rival, Schwantz. Rainey's injuries would render him permanently paralyzed from the chest down.
After turning to Williams team owner,
Frank Williamsfor advice, Rainey later became the team manager for Marlboro Yamaha for a few years. After the 1995 season, Schwantz retired from the Grand Prix circus, partly due to nagging injuries and partly because losing the one great rival that had fired his competitive intensity made him view his own mortality much more clearly [Scott, Michael. (1997). "Wayne Rainey: His own story." Newbury Park, CA: Haynes Publications, Inc.] .
Rainey has refused to give up racing despite his disability and now races a hand-controlled
kartin the World SuperKart series based in Northern California. He lives in Monterey, Californiain a house which is built overlooking the Laguna Secacircuit shortly before his career ending accident. The nearby circuit has named a corner in his honor, the Rainey Curve, a medium-speed, acute left-hander that follows the famous Corkscrew. Rainey was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famein 1999. the FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2000. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Famein 2007.
=Grand Prix career statistics cite news | url=http://www.motogp.com/en/motogp/motogp_riders.htm?menu=riders&rider_id=488&from=archive | title=Rider Statistics - Wayne Rainey | publisher=MotoGP.com | accessdate=2007-10-26 ] =
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