Johnny Cecotto
News News 27 June 2017

Johnny Cecotto Attends 2017 Sachsenring Classic

At the 2017 Sachsenring Classic the Yamaha Racing Team had a prestigious guest, the great Johnny Cecotto, 1975 350cc World Champion. The Venezuelan was joined at the event by other legendary Yamaha champions such as Christian Sarron, Steve Baker, Hubert Rigal and Giacomo Agostini as Yamaha celebrated their rich racing history in Germany.

Cecotto rose to prominence as a teenage prodigy in 1975 when he became the youngest motorcycle road racing world champion at the age of 19. He announced himself to the world stage as an unknown rookie at the 1975 Daytona 200 race, one of the most important races in the world at the time, when he secured pole position. Forced to start the race from very last place after a water leak on the grid, he overtook half the field on the very first lap and incredibly finished third. He then went on to win the non-championship Imola 200 race in Europe, before entering the 250cc & 350cc World Championships that year on a Yamaha.

At his first-ever Grand Prix event at the opening round of the 1975 world championship, Cecotto continued his winning ways at the French Grand Prix by sensationally taking victory in both the 250cc and 350cc races. He went on to win three more races and defeated the seven-time defending champion, Giacomo Agostini, for the 350cc World Championship. At the age of nineteen, he became the youngest-ever rider at the time to win a world championship. Amazingly, he also finished the 1975 250cc world championship in fourth place with two victories.

Cecotto finished as runner-up in the 350cc World Championship in 1976, and also made the step up to ride the Yamaha factory YZR500 in the 500cc World Championship. In 1978, he finished third in the 500cc World Championship but, unfortunately, injuries disrupted his career in the premier class and after leaving Yamaha at the end of the 1979 season he decided to retire from motorcycle racing in 1980, at the age of just 24. In his Yamaha career Cecotto won 13 GPs across all classes, including 4 victories in the 500cc World Championship, 23 podiums and incredibly also secured 12 premier-class pole positions in just 27 races. At the end of the 1980 season Cecotto made the switch to a successful career in car racing and competed in the Formula One World Championship between 1983-84 and was teammates with Ayrton Senna in his final year, becoming only a handful of racers to have competed at the highest level on both two wheels and four.

At the Sachsenring Classic on his Yamaha TZ750, Johnny was still as young as ever when riding at 200km/h. Cecotto was also there along with other Yamaha champions Steve Baker, Christian Sarron and Hubert Rigal to help his friend and former rival, 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini, celebrate his 75th birthday.