1981 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
|1981 F.I.M. Grand Prix motorcycle racing season|
Suzuki riders Marco Lucchinelli and Randy Mamola battled it out to the final race of the season with the Italian rider claiming the crown and Mamola finishing runner-up for the second consecutive year. Barry Sheene would win the final race of his career with a win in Sweden while a young American named Freddie Spencer made his first foray into the GP world, riding the four-stroke Honda NR500 up to fifth place at the British Grand Prix before it broke down.
Germany's Anton Mang scored double world championships, defeating defending champion Jon Ekerold for the 350cc title and winning ten of twelve 250 events to take that title. Frenchman Michel Rougerie, who finished second in 1975 250 championship, was killed when he was hit by another rider after crashing in the 350 race in Yugoslavia. Angel Nieto won his tenth championship by winning eight of twelve rounds on his Minarelli while Ricardo Tormo won the 50cc crown for Bultaco.
Beginning in 1981, motorcycle frame technology evolved quickly as motorcycle manufacturers moved from the steel, featherbed frame chassis first developed in the 1950s, to aluminium frames featuring large, twin beams as first pioneered by Spanish constructor, Antonio Cobas.
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