Yamaha becomes engine supplier for 500cc class
Rainey takes championship three years running
This year the 500cc class was renamed "GP1," and the season was reduced to 13 rounds. The points system reverted back to the old system, where all points counted toward the championship title. Yamaha entered three factory YZR500 machines this season. Wayne Rainey of Marlboro Yamaha Team Roberts clinched his third consecutive championship. He did so while beating out his rival, Mick Doohan (Honda), who was the title favorite up to mid-season. The manufacturer's title went to Honda.
A new initiative was also launched by Yamaha this year in order to revitalize the Grand Prix. The 500cc class during this time didn't have enough competitors, and the survival of the series was in question. Therefore, Yamaha took action to promote GP racing. The leasing of YZR500 machines had begun from the previous year, and from 1992, Yamaha began sales of its YZR500 engines to European constructors. As a result, 66% of the grid (in Japan GP) had Yamaha engines, and the number of competitors had grown again. The new Yamaha engine-powered 500cc machines now entering the GP with chassis reflecting the design philosophies of the respective constructors made the races even more interesting. Seventeen of the 28 point-scoring riders were on machines powered by Yamaha engines. In this sense it was clear that Yamaha's policy was successfully promoting the sport.
Rainey did not start this season well. He fell off his bike in lap two of the opening race in Japan. In the following rounds in Australia, Malaysia and Spain he finished 2nd behind Doohan after some tough battles, thus allowing his rival to take four consecutive wins. In the following Italian GP, he retired from the race after a fall in lap 12 while running in the lead. In the European GP, Rainey finally took his first win of the season. In the seventh round in Germany, he fell off the bike during qualifying, injuring his hand. This prompted a mid-race withdrawal from the round. Rainey was unable to compete in the following round in the Netherlands, but so was the ranking leader, Doohan, who fell during qualifying here and had to withdraw from the race with a broken right foot. After returning for the 9th round in Hungary, Rainey finished 5th He took his second win in the 10th round in France, and followed that with a 2nd-place finish in Great Britain. In the 12th round in Brazil, where Doohan returned after an 8-week absence, Rainey took his third win of the season, which narrowed the point gap with Doohan to just two points going into the final round of the season.
Rainey was leading the race up to lap three in that final race in South Africa, but Kocinski managed to overtake him on lap four and went on to win the race. Rainey finished behind Wayne Gardner in 3rd, which was enough to overtake Doohan in the point standings after Doohan finished 6th. This gave Rainey his third consecutive title. His teammate Kocinski finished 3rd in the ranking with one win, two 2nd-place finishes, and two 3rd-place finishes.
German rider Schmid finishes 7th in the ranking
Jochen Schmid, a rider who began his career in the European Yamaha Cup, competed in the GP250 class this year on the TZ250M from team Mitsui-Deutz. He finished 4th in the French GP, but in three out of the 13 races in the series he finished outside of the points and ended the season ranked 7th.
Cate. Rider Machine 500cc Wayne Rainey YZR500(0WE0) 500cc John Kocinski YZR500(0WE0) 500cc Juan Garriga YZR500(0WE0) 250cc Jochen Schmid TZ250M
Pos. Cate. Rider Constructor Point 1 500cc W. Rainey Yamaha 140 2 500cc M. Doohan Honda 136 3 500cc J. Kocinski Yamaha 102 4 500cc K. Schwants Suzuki 99 5 500cc D. Chandler Suzuki 94 6 500cc W. Gardner Honda 78 7 500cc J. Garriga Yamaha 61
Pos. Constructor Point 1 Honda 216 2 Yamaha 195 3 Suzuki 127 4 Cagiva 79 5 ROC Yamaha 22 6 Harris Yamaha 9