Eddie Lawson’s Honda NSR500

On his way to back-to-back titles in 1988-1989, Eddie Lawson defeated two young rising stars of American roadracing, while taming a motorcycle many thought unwinnable, the Honda NSR500

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by Phil Aynsley

Eddie Lawson’s epic back-to-back titles for rival manufacturers in 1988-1989 was a world first. On his way to victory he also defeated two young rising stars of American roadracing, while taming a motorcycle many thought unwinnable.

Much has been written about the mercurial and complex character that is four-time world 500cc champion Eddie Lawson. He’s been described as a calculating collector of race points, not wins; a master of mind games on the starting grid; introverted and arrogant; distrustful of journalists and hangers on but happy to use them to unsettle his rivals; and a perfectionist with a clinical approach to both life and racing.

Very little has been written about how Lawson’s single-minded determination to achieve greatness, coupled with a love of riding the world’s fastest motorcycles at their limit, was the driving force behind his greatest achievement.

And exactly what was the motorcycle he rode into the history books that year? A combination of cutting-edge carbon-fiber/aluminum wizardry and carbureted 2-stroke technology based on half a decade of development, it was now a Frankenstein. And only Lawson was the freak rider who could tame it.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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