Nine of the most iconic Grand Prix machines ever built are on display at this weekend's Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle show.
Visitors are greeted by the impressive Michelin Grand Prix collection as they walk through the doors to see a display featuring bikes from across the history of Grand Prix racing from Sheeney's Suzuki to Marquez' championship winning 2017 Honda RC213V.
1979 Barry Sheene Suzuki XR27
The machine that nearly won Sheene the ‘79 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, only to be cruelly pipped on the line by bitter rival Kenny Roberts. One of the closest final laps in GP history, it was also something of a swansong for Sheene who went on to win only two more races.
1983 Honda RS500
The RS500 was Honda’s customer version of the three cylinder NS500, the factory prototype that Freddie Spencer claimed his first 500cc title on in 1983. All through the late ‘80s the RS was the weapon of choice by privateers such as a young Wayne Gardner, Joey Dunlop Roger Marshall, it became the mainstay of the 500cc grid.
1992 Wayne Rainey YZR500 OWE0
The bike that took Rainey to a third 500cc Grand Prix championship in ‘92 fighting for the title against Mick Doohan and Kevin Schwantz. Yamaha’s first big bang engine, the YZR500 features two crankshafts and has the angle between each pair of cylinders set at 90°.
1994 Kevin Schwantz Suzuki RGV500 XR84
The model that launched a thousand replica paint jobs. Suzuki’s V4 two-stroke RGV500 captured the hearts and minds of race fans in the late ’80s and early ’90s. And it was all because of one man: Kevin Schwantz.
2000 Kenny Roberts Junior RGV500 XRB0
Kenny Roberts Jnr won the penultimate 500cc championship in 2000, just ahead of a young Valentino Rossi in his first year of the premier class. The championship-winning bike is almost the last of the breed, with the RGV500 only being developed for a further year before the switch to four strokes and the GSV-R in 2002.
2003 Loris Capirossi Ducati Desmosedici GP3
A brand-new project for Ducati after a lifetime in superbike racing, the 990cc V4 GP3 quickly scored results with Loris Capirossi, who stepped onto the podium at the opening round of the championship in Japan and won the Catalunya GP in Barcelona. Capirossi finished fourth in the championship and team-mate Bayliss sixth as a rookie.
2003 Valentino Rossi Honda RC211V
The RC211V dominated the early four stroke era winning 48 victories over the first five years, first with Valentino Rossi and then with Sete Gibernau, Max Biaggi and a young Dani Pedrosa. Rossi claimed a memorable race win on this machine at the Australian Grand Prix in 2003 winning by fifteen seconds after recieving a ten second penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag incident.
2004 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1
A switch from Honda to Yamaha in 2004 saw Rossi sensationally winning the opening race of the 04 season in South Africa. The only rider to win consecutive races with different manufacturers. With Rossi’s natural talent and the guidance of crew chief Jerry Burgess (plus some phenomenal investment from Yamaha) the pair turned the struggling M1 of the previous season into a race winning missile.
2017 Marc Marquez Honda RC213V
Marquez firmly cemented his ‘alien’ status in 2017 claiming his fourth MotoGP title in five years. Honda’s new big-bang engine made his 1000cc RC213V easier to ride but torque and power characteristics changed everything, from gear ratios to suspension and electronics. Remarkably Márquez scored only one victory from the first eight rounds of 2017 which makes his 2017 title even more impressive.