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1979 Grand Prix season
1979 Grand Prix season
Previous season1978
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The 1979 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season was the 31st F.I.M. Road Racing World Championship season.

Season summary

A season of changing fortunes in the 500cc class saw American, Kenny Roberts capture his second crown in the face of the Suzuki-mounted opposition. In the 50cc class, Eugenio Lazzarini won every race in which he finished to take the championship. Angel Nieto dominated on a Minarelli to take his seventh world championship. Kork Ballington would repeat as double world champion in the 250cc and 350cc classes for Kawasaki.

Defending champion Roberts was injured in a pre-season test but came back to win round two in impressive fashion. His rivals also suffered from bad luck. Hartog breaking his arm in practice, Cecotto badly breaking his kneecap in Austria and Sheene suffering from mechanical failures. The British Grand Prix would be remembered as one of the greatest races of the modern era with Roberts beating Sheene to the finish line by three-hundredths of a second. The season was also marked by Honda's return to Grand Prix racing with the exotic, oval-cylindered NR500.

The top riders boycotted the Belgian Grand Prix over safety issues showing their increasing dissatisfaction with the way the FIM conducted races. Near the end of the year, the top riders banded together to announce they would create a competing championship called the World Series. Although the series never got off the ground, the riders had flexed their political muscles and it forced the FIM to change the way they dealt with races and the riders themselves. The FIM announced an increase in prize money for the following year. This would mark the beginning of an era of increased professionalism in the sport.

Grands Prix

#RaceLocation50cc125cc250cc350cc500ccReport
1VenezuelaVenezuelan Grand PrixSan CarlosSpainAngel NietoItalyWalter VillaVenezuelaCarlos LavadoUKBarry SheeneReport
2AustriaAustrian Grand PrixSalzburgringSpainAngel NietoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonUSKenny RobertsReport
3GermanyGerman Grand PrixHockenheimringGermanyGerhard WaibelSpainAngel NietoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonSouth AfricaJon EkeroldNetherlandsWil HartogReport
4ItalyNations Grand PrixImolaItalyEugenio LazzariniSpainAngel NietoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonAustraliaGregg HansfordUSKenny RobertsReport
5SpainSpanish Grand PrixJaramaItalyEugenio LazzariniSpainAngel NietoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonSouth AfricaKork BallingtonUSKenny RobertsReport
6YugoslaviaYugoslavian Grand PrixRijekaItalyEugenio LazzariniSpainAngel NietoItalyGraziano RossiSouth AfricaKork BallingtonUSKenny RobertsReport
7NetherlandsDutch TTAssenItalyEugenio LazzariniSpainAngel NietoItalyGraziano RossiAustraliaGregg HansfordItalyVirginio FerrariReport
8BelgiumBelgian Grand PrixSpaNetherlandsHenk van KesselAustraliaBarry SmithAustriaEdi StoellingerNew ZealandDennis IrelandReport
9SwedenSwedish Grand PrixKarlskogaItalyPier Paolo BianchiItalyGraziano RossiUKBarry SheeneReport
10FinlandFinnish Grand PrixImatraSpainRicardo TormoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonAustraliaGregg HansfordNetherlandsBoet van DulmenReport
11UKBritish Grand PrixSilverstoneSpainAngel NietoSouth AfricaKork BallingtonSouth AfricaKork BallingtonUSKenny RobertsReport
12Czech RepublicCzechoslovakian Grand PrixBrnoFranceGuy BertinSouth AfricaKork BallingtonSouth AfricaKork BallingtonReport
13FranceFrench Grand PrixLe MansItalyEugenio LazzariniFranceGuy BertinSouth AfricaKork BallingtonFrancePatrick FernandezUKBarry SheeneReport

Final standings

500cc standings

PosRiderNumberCountryMachinePointsWins
1USKenny Roberts1United StatesYamaha1135
2ItalyVirginio Ferrari11ItalySuzuki891
3UKBarry Sheene7United KingdomSuzuki873
4NetherlandsWil Hartog4NetherlandsSuzuki661
5ItalyFranco UnciniItalySuzuki510
6NetherlandsBoet van Dulmen13NetherlandsSuzuki501
7NetherlandsJack MiddelburgNetherlandsSuzuki420
8USRandy MamolaUnited StatesSuzuki290
9SwitzerlandPhilippe Coulon21SwitzerlandSuzuki290
10UKTom HerronUnited KingdomYamaha280

350cc standings

PosRiderNumberCountryMachinePointsWins
1South AfricaKork Ballington1South AfricaKawasaki995
2FrancePatrick FernandezFranceYamaha901
3AustraliaGregg Hansford3AustraliaKawasaki773
4GermanyAnton Mang16West GermanyKawasaki640
5SwitzerlandMichel FrutschiSwitzerlandYamaha470
6FranceMichel Rougerie6FranceYamaha470
7SwitzerlandRoland Freymond27SwitzerlandYamaha400
8South AfricaJon Ekerold4South AfricaYamaha341
9JapanSadao AsamiJapanYamaha270
10AustraliaJeff SayleAustraliaYamaha240

250cc standings

PosRiderNumberCountryMachinePointsWins
1South AfricaKork Ballington1South AfricaKawasaki1417
2AustraliaGregg Hansford2AustraliaKawasaki810
3ItalyGraziano RossiItalyMorbidelli673
4USRandy MamolaUnited StatesYamaha640
5FrancePatrick Fernandez3FranceYamaha630
6GermanyAnton Mang5West GermanyKawasaki560
7ItalyWalter Villa16ItalyYamaha391
8FranceJean-François Baldé13FranceKawasaki290
9AustriaEdi StöllingerAustriaKawasaki281
10SwitzerlandRoland Freymond22SwitzerlandYamaha220

125cc standings

PosRiderNumberCountryMachinePointsWins
1SpainAngel Nieto2SpainMinarelli1208
2ItalyMaurizio Massimiani6ItalyMBA530
3SwitzerlandHans Müller7SwitzerlandMBA500
4FranceThierry Espié5FranceMotobécane480
5GermanyGert BenderWest GermanyGB Bender470
6FranceGuy BertinFranceMotobécane402
7SpainRicardo Tormo8SpainBultaco391
8AustriaHarald Bartol4AustriaMorbidelli360
9SwitzerlandBruno KneubühlerSwitzerlandMBA360
10ItalyPier Paolo Bianchi3ItalyMinarelli351

50cc standings

PosRiderNumberCountryMachinePointsWins
1ItalyEugenio Lazzarini2ItalyKreidler755
2SwitzerlandRolf Blatter5SwitzerlandKreidler620
3FrancePatrick Plisson3FranceABF320
4GermanyGerhard WaibelWest GermanyKreidler311
5NetherlandsPeter Looijensteijn8NetherlandsKreidler300
6GermanyHagen Klein17West GermanyKreidler260
7NetherlandsHenk van Kessel12NetherlandsSparta231
8FranceJacques HutteauFranceKreidler270
9GermanyIngo EmmerichWest GermanyKreidler80
10SwitzerlandStefan DörflingerSwitzerlandKreidler60
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