500cc 1998 –  Michael Doohan

Michael Doohan

1998

500cc

Michael Sydney Doohan AM[1] (born 4 June 1965) is an Australian former Grand Prix motorcycle road racing World Champion, who won five consecutive 500 cc World Championships. Originally from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Doohan attended St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace and Aspley State High School, Brisbane. He raced in Australian Superbikes in the late 1980s, and also won both races as Superbike World Championship visited Oran Park in 1988 as well as the second leg of the Japanese round held earlier in the year. In a break-out season he also won the final Australian motorcycle Grand Prix to be held in the TT format at Mount Panorama before the race became a round of the World Championship the following year and moved to Phillip Island. He is one of the few 500 cc or MotoGP World Champions to have won a Superbike World Championship race.[2]He made his Grand Prix debut for Honda on an NSR 500 cc two-stroke motorcycle in 1989. Late in the 1990 season Doohan claimed his first victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix on his way to third in the championship. In 1991, he was paired with his fellow Australian Wayne Gardner on a Honda RVF750 superbike and won the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race. He competed successfully throughout the early 1990s and appeared to be on his way to winning his first world championship when he was seriously injured in a practice crash before the 1992 Dutch TT. He suffered permanent and serious damage to his right leg due to medical complications and, at one stage, faced amputation of the leg. At the time, Doohan was 65 points in the lead of the championship, but could not compete for eight weeks after the crash. After an arduous recovery, he returned to racing for the final two races but could not prevent Yamaha rider Wayne Rainey from winning his third consecutive title (by four points from Doohan). In 1993 he struggled with the healing of his leg and the ability to race the Honda at elite level, stating later that in that year it was all he could do to just keep his ride at Honda. It was also during this time he switched to a left thumb-operated rear brake, as his right foot is no longer able to perform this function.[3]

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