As the curtain fell on the 1980s, the 500cc World Championship delivered a gripping and tightly-contested title battle. The 15-round series was packed with thrills and spills as the world championship circus travelled the globe, from the first round in Japan to the title-deciding final race in Brazil.
As three-times champion Eddie Lawson got to grips with his new Rothmans Honda mount, fellow American Wayne Rainey established himself as the early leader, his consistency on the Lucky Strike Yamaha establishing a dominant points position by mid-season.
But a rider of Lawson’s calibre was never going to give up, and he fought his way back into contention. His lead whittled down to just 6.5 points, Rainey’s season turned to disaster in Sweden when he crashed out. The title battle came down to the final round, where ‘Steady Eddie’ confirmed his status as one of the greatest riders ever.
Although tearaway Texan Kevin Schwantz was always in the mix, securing six wins, hopes of a title tilt evaporated in a season plagued by mistakes and mechanical problems.
The ’89 season was also a disaster for Lawson’s Australian teammate Wayne Gardner who, after victory at his home race, crashed out of the US GP, breaking his leg.
Bike Grand Prix 1989 features all the memorable moments of an unforgettable year, including Mick Doohan’s debut, Brit Niall Mackenzie’s stunning ride at his home race and Pierfrancesco Chili’s hollow home victory at the controversy-hit Italian event.