EDDIE LAWSON FREDDIE SPENCER RANDY MAMOLA 1984-1985
The three Americans dominated the podium for two seasons, with Lawson and Spencer ultimately disputing the title on their Marlboro Yamaha and Rothmans Honda mounts respectively. While Spencer had won in 1983, Lawson had used the season very much as a learning year, as he got used to both the European circuits and the travelling, and was ready to challenge in 1984, especially as he was now Yamaha’s main rider. Spencer was given an all-new and revolutionary NSR500 Honda for 1984, with the exhaust pipes beneath a dummy petrol tank and the fuel at the bottom of the bike, but the design was ultimately flawed and his year got off to a disastrous start as he crashed in practice for the opening South African GP, when the carbon-fibre rear wheel collapsed. Lawson took full advantage and never looked back, living up to his nickname of ‘Steady Eddie’ as he racked up the points with first-and second-place finishes. Spencer won races but further crashes at Donington Park and Laguna Seca meant he ended the year in fourth overall. For 1985, Honda reverted to a more conventional design and Spencer dominated, not just the 500cc class but the 250cc too, winning no less than 14 races during the season, as he became the first rider to win both classes in the same season. Lawson had to settle for second. Mamola had started 1984 without a ride after leaving Suzuki but he managed to lease a privateer NS Honda before joining the factory Rothmans team in 1985, and although he didn’t quite have enough to beat Lawson and Spencer on a regular basis, he was always there or thereabouts as he finished second overall again in 1984.