Born May 1956, Lavado began his racing career because of his admiration for fellow countryman Johnny Cecotto, who was the World GP350 champion in 1975. In 1978, Lavado raced in the first World GP250cc class race held in his country on a TZ250. Here he secured the second spot on the podium behind Kenny Roberts, who also raced in the GP500 class that year. After winning his home GP the following year in the 350cc class, he went on to compete in the full GP250 season from 1981. With his Latin appearance, his passion and vitality, Lavado's character of putting everything into each race and a thrilling full-throttle riding style that made him unforgettable. Unbelievably fast and only limited by the possibility of crashing, Lavado had the following to say in a magazine at the time after fantastic performances like the World Championship titles in 1983 and 1986.
"There is no secret to becoming a champion. I just have to want to be better and faster than anyone else. All I do is try to achieve just that. I put it all out there, not trying to conserve myself or my bike. I just have to be that way. Take everything at full pace. So there's no such thing as a good race or a bad race to me. And I am happy if I come 2nd, or even if I fall and break a leg, because I have given it my very best." Switching machines to Aprilia in 1989, Lavado finished his GP racing in 1992 on a Gilera.
|Year||Class||Result & Pole position||Machine|
|1981||350cc||5th||PP: 0||1st: 0||2nd: 1||3rd: 2||TZ250|
|1981||250cc||4th||PP: 1||1st: 0||2nd: 3||3rd: 2||TZ250|
|1982||350cc||5th||PP: 0||1st: 1||2nd: 1||3rd: 0||TZ250|
|1982||250cc||5th||PP: 1||1st: 2||2nd: 0||3rd: 0||TZ250|
|1983||250cc||Champion||PP: 1||1st: 4||2nd: 0||3rd: 2||TZ250|
|1984||250cc||3rd||PP: 2||1st: 1||2nd: 2||3rd: 2||TZ250|
|1985||250cc||3rd||PP: 5||1st: 2||2nd: 4||3rd: 0||TZ250|
|1986||250cc||Champion||PP: 7||1st: 6||2nd: 2||3rd: 0||YZR250(0W82)|
|1987||250cc||10th||PP: 2||1st: 1||2nd: 0||3rd: 0||YZR250|
|1988||250cc||11th||PP: 1||1st: 0||2nd: 1||3rd: 0||YZR250|
*Results for years with a Yamaha factory team, riding a Yamaha factory machine or ranked 5th or higher riding a Yamaha production racer (World GP, World F750)