Video: One of the greatest motorcycle GP finishes ever

23rd June 2023
Simon Ostler

The top tier of motorcycle racing is well known for producing breathless wheel-to-wheel racing, and intense battles for the lead are far from unusual in MotoGP. Among the many highlights of the sport’s 74-year history, there are moments such as this one between Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz that still to this day get the heart going.

It’s the final lap of the 1991 German motorcycle Grand Prix, and reigning world champion Wayne Rainey leads fierce rival Kevin Schwantz at the legendary high-speed Hockenheim circuit. They’re within a few tenths of a second of each other as they dive into Turn One for the last time, and as Rainey gets an extortionate amount of wheelspin through the exit, Schwantz gets his first opportunity to sneak alongside his rival.

This is a tactical battle, though, so he hangs back in the knowledge that there are still two long straights to go. To make matters even more tense, there’s traffic, and Rainey and Schwantz cut either side of the backmarker as they head towards the Ost chicane.

Schwantz looks to have made a critical error when they arrive at the chicane, as he takes the lead of the race, seemingly allowing Rainey the chance to get the final slipstream into the grandstand section.

We won’t spoil the finish, but you really ought to stay tuned until the very end. This is classic action between two of motorcycle racing’s all-time greats.

Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: Monster BMW E36 is the best‑sounding four‑cylinder

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  • Elevenses

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  • Kevin Schwantz

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