Rider Of The Week looks at a famous rider and examines how they’ve made a name for themselves. Italian racer Giacomo Agostini deserves to be counted among the greatest riders in history because of his impressive career. Having won 122 Grand Prix races and 15 world championships, Agostini has cemented his riding legacy.
Agostini was born on the 16th June 1942 in Brescia, Lombardy. Originally, his family was from Lovere, where his father Aurelio worked for the local town council. Agostini’s father disapproved of his son’s enthusiasm for bikes and tried to persuade him not to race. Agostini had to sneak away to compete in hill climbing events and road racing until his father came to accept his career choice.
In 1963, Agostini won his first race after competing in the Italian 175cc championship on a Morini. The following year, Morini factory rider, Tarquinio Provini left the team and Count Alfonso Morini hired Agostini to take his place. In 1964, Agostini won the Italian 350cc title and proved himself in the Italian Grand Prix by finishing fourth.
Agostini quickly caught the attention of Count Domenico Agusta and he moved over to the Agusta squad, becoming Mike Hailwood’s teammate. During the season, he battled against Honda’s Jim Redman for the 1965 350cc world championship. In the final round at Suzuka, his bike failed and he conceded the title to Redman.
In 1965, Hailwood left MV Agusta, allowing Agostini to become the top rider. He won the 500c title seven years running. He also won the 350cc title seven times and 10 Isle of Man TTs. The 1967 Isle of Man TT proved to be one of the most dramatic events in racing history, when Agostini competed against his old teammate Mike Hailwood. Each rider had 5 victories, but Agostini took the championship in the last race of the season.
Agostini moved on to Yamaha in 1974. During his first race for the company, he won the Daytona 200. He went on to win the 1974 350cc world championship. Agostini won his final world championship in 1975.
Eventually, Agostini transitioned into Formula One car racing, but decided to end it in 1980. He returned to the motorbike world in 1982 as the Marlboro Yamaha team manager. His managing style proved effective, as he won three 500cc titles with Eddie Lawson. Agostini managed several successful racers, including Kenny Roberts and Graeme Crosby.
Today, Agostini remains a powerhouse in the motorcycle industry. His experience and passion have made him one of the most influential riders of the 21st century.