Motorcycle Racing News Yamaha MotoGP Snapshot | Carlos Lavado

Yamaha MotoGP Snapshot | Carlos Lavado


Motorcycle Racing History

The Venezuelan Carlos Lavado was one of the colourful characters in the Grand Prix paddock during the early 1980s at a time when the sport was maturing but retained a sense of fun thanks to the antics and attitudes of men like Lavado, Sheene, Nieto and Lucchinelli.

It was the 350cc world championship win by another Yamaha star, Johnny Cecotto, – the first Venezuelan triumphant in Grand Prix – that spurred Lavado in his road racing ambitions.

The young man from Caracas made an instant impression on his debut at the highest level as he took a TZ250 to 2nd place at his home Grand Prix in 1978. He won the 350cc class the following year at the age of 23 and in 1980 was a permanent member of the category.

Lavado was a hard and fast racer who gave absolutely everything on the track; the result of which could mean a trip in the victory car or a slide down the road. He came into the Yamaha Factory Team in 1981 and would not drop out of the top five of either the 250cc or 350cc divisions for the next seven seasons, earning two world championships in the quarter-litre series in 1983 and 1986 (in that distinctive yellow-red-white “HB” livery).

Lavado accumulated 19 victories but perhaps none was more impressive than his last, in 1987, as he fought back from the rear of the 250cc field in typical and emphatic fashion in Yugoslavia.

By that year the champion was using the fierce new YZR250 V-twin. Lavado won many fans for his passion on and off the track. His final year with Yamaha was in 1988 and although he retired in 1992 he still zips up the leathers for outings on the TZ250 with the Yamaha Classic Racing Team.

In 2010 he made a welcome return to the MotoGP paddock as adviser to Moto2 rider and countryman Robertino Pietri.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

2021 Indian Challenger Lineup First Look: Photos, Prices, and Colors

The performance-oriented Challenger bagger lineup from Indian returns for 2021, with three models to choose from. All three 2021 Indian Challenger models get the...

2021 GasGas Motocross Lineup First Look (Specs and Photos)

When under Spanish ownership, GasGas was never known as a motocross brand. However, under the guidance of Pierer Mobility AG and Bajaj Auto—the owners...

2021 Indian Chieftain Lineup First Look: 3 Big-Inch Baggers

There are three baggers in the 2021 Indian Chieftain lineup, with just a few changes to the motorcycles this year. There are new colors,...

2021 GasGas Trial Lineup First Look (8 Fast Facts: 3 TXT Racing Models)

The first GasGas motorcycles of the Pierer Mobility AG and Bajaj Auto era have arrived. Those who were expecting wholesale redesigns of the line...

Lieback’s Lounge: This Will All Pass [Thoughts on Simic and Motorcycles]

There is a menace in the air Of tragedies in the making. These lines are from "Late September," written by the American minimalist poet Charles Simic....

Racing Classic Motorcycles: First You Have to Finish by Andy Reynolds [Review]

Author Andy Reynolds’ new book, Racing Classic Motorcycles: First You Have to Finish, is about a man livin’ the classic motorcycle racing dream—with some...