Never give up; never surrender.
It’s been 26 years since the last time that three-time MotoGP 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey rode a motorcycle. Yesterday, November 7, 2019, that all changed as Rainey took to the track at Buttonwillow Raceway in California on a specially modified Yamaha R1.
Current MotoAmerica series president Rainey said that he’s doing the Suzuka Sound of Engine motorsports event in Japan later in November 2019. Yamaha asked if he’d like to ride a bike while he’s there. Rainey initially said no—but after some conversation, he asked them to send the necessary bits over to California so he and Yamaha Motor USA could try them out.
A hand-shifter, a grippier saddle with a bit more padding, and some clips to hold Rainey’s boots in place were shipped over and fitted to an R1. Keith McCarty and his Yamaha team put everything together, and Alpinestars stepped in to make up some brand new leathers for the occasion, in Rainey’s signature style (of course).
Understandably, it took a little bit to get used to being on the bike—but by all accounts, Rainey adapted to it quickly, and is feeling good about heading to Suzuka next week.
Motorcycle technology has changed by leaps and bounds since the last time Rainey was on a bike. Although he hasn’t ridden since 1993, Rainey still lives and breathes motorcycles—so of course, in his mind, he knows all this. However, it’s one thing to know it in your mind, and completely another to experience it by riding.
“I was talking to the mechanics about the steering damper. I said “Wow, this is loose!” They said, “Well, when you get going, the steering damper is electronic, it tightens up as you go.”” Rainey said. “I thought, “Wow, things have changed a little bit.””
Rainey first told the world about this momentous occasion on Twitter:
Shortly afterward, the official MotoAmerica Instagram posted a very short video, teasing the full-length video of the event that you see above. Rainey has been and always will be a true inspiration to us here at RideApart, and we’re so happy for him and everyone involved in this project.
Here’s hoping your weekend is even half this rad.