1989 Belgian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 1989 Belgian motorcycle Grand Prix was the tenth round of the 1989 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 30 June-2 July 1989 at Spa-Francorchamps.

Belgium  1989 Belgian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 10 of 15 races in the
1989 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
Circuit Spa.png
Date2 July 1989
Official nameBelgium Motorcycle Grand Prix[1][2][3]
LocationCircuit de Spa-Francorchamps
  • Permanent racing facility
  • 7.004 km (4.352 mi)
500 cc
Pole position
Rider United States Kevin Schwantz
Time 2:24.650
Fastest lap
Rider United States Kevin Schwantz
Time 2:26.110
First United States Eddie Lawson
Second United States Kevin Schwantz
Third United States Wayne Rainey
250 cc
Pole position
Rider Belgium Didier de Radiguès
Time 2:31.790
Fastest lap
Rider Spain Sito Pons
Time 2:33.530
First Switzerland Jacques Cornu
Second Spain Sito Pons
Third Spain Carlos Cardús
125 cc
Pole position
Rider Italy Ezio Gianola
Time 2:43.470
Fastest lap
Rider Netherlands Hans Spaan
Time 2:55.740
First Netherlands Hans Spaan
Second Italy Ezio Gianola
Third Japan Hisashi Unemoto

500 cc race reportEdit

Kevin Schwantz makes it six poles in a row, and John Kocinski makes his 500 debut.

The first turns go to Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Schwantz. Christian Sarron watches from fourth as the three ahead scrape fairings. The quartet get well clear, but wet patches begin to appear on the track.

Rainey and Schwantz raise their hands to stop the race, but ahead of them Lawson and Sarron continue at race pace. Lawson soon becomes aware of the water and raises his hand too, but Sarron, perhaps under the mistaken impression that he’s dropping the other three, seems too enthusiastic to stop and loses the front-end on a fast left. The riders pit with 5 laps raced.

It looks like the restart on aggregate time will be dry, and again Lawson, Rainey and Schwantz get away at the front, though the sky darkens. Again, the leaders raise their hands after the 9th lap, but before everyone can pit, Mick Doohan and Kocinski collide, sliding without serious injury.

The podium of the second leg is Lawson, Schwantz and Rainey, but the race organizers decide to run a third leg in the wet.

The third race sees Schwantz get away from Rainey, while Lawson gets into a tussle with Kocinski for third. On the last lap, with a comfortable lead, Schwantz crashes out on the brakes, and Rainey wheelies in for the lead, followed by Kocinski and Lawson. However, the results of the third race are later nullified, giving Lawson the win and closing the gap to Rainey. The points are later halved when a rule is discovered that only one restart is allowed.

The FIM had decided by 1989 that there could be no more than two starts and that after the second race, started on slicks, was stopped due to rain, the race would be deemed complete.

In an interesting footnote, the 1989 Belgium Grand Prix in Spa Francorchamps, scheduled for 18 laps and 73.3 miles, was entered in the books as a “complete” eight-lap, 34.5-mile sprint race victory for Eddie Lawson. But if you look at the old magazines you’ll see Kevin Schwantz celebrating the victory atop a wet podium and John Kocinski standing third in his 500 debut.

In fact, the race director, fearing a riot if he sent the fans home after only seeing two aborted starts and eight recorded laps, decided to appease the crowd by sending the riders out again even though it was clearly against the rules. Word was that the “promoter” ordered the race director to do this. The “promoter” was Bernie Ecclestone. Eventually half points were awarded and the FIM realized that something had to be done.

Thus the “wet race” and “dry race” rules were instituted. Under these rules if a race starts in the dry with riders on slicks and rain begins to the extent that the race director believes that there is insufficient traction for slick tires, he orders red flags. If three or more laps have been run, the original race distance, minus the number of laps run and minus one additional lap, is established for the second leg. However, regardless of the conditions at the start of the second part, the race is declared “wet,’ meaning that it would not be stopped simply because it begins to rain. Riders go out for part two with the understanding that, if they opted for the wrong tires, they either have to wobble around like Steve Manship at Silverstone or come in for a change. The final results are then to be based on aggregate times.

This worked from the late eighties until 2003 when Dorna, protecting their TV coverage against long delays, overrode strong MSMA (Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association) objections and managed to introduce the first of three variants of “flag to flag” racing -- races which would not be stopped and restarted due to rain.[4]

500 cc classificationEdit

Pos. Rider Team Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1   Eddie Lawson Rothmans Kanemoto Honda Honda 8 19:46.260 5 10
2   Kevin Schwantz Suzuki Pepsi Cola Suzuki 8 +0.920 1 8.5
3   Wayne Rainey Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha 8 +1.520 2 7.5
4   Christian Sarron Sonauto Gauloises Blondes Yamaha Mobil 1 Yamaha 8 +11.430 4 6.5
5   John Kocinski Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha 8 +15.220 8 5.5
6   Pierfrancesco Chili HB Honda Gallina Team Honda 8 +18.870 7 5
7   Kevin Magee Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha 8 +20.720 6 4.5
8   Mick Doohan Rothmans Honda Team Honda 8 +27.230 3 4
9   Freddie Spencer Marlboro Yamaha Team Agostini Yamaha 8 +27.850 9 3.5
10   Niall Mackenzie Marlboro Yamaha Team Agostini Yamaha 8 +32.840 11 3
11   Rob McElnea Cabin Racing Team Honda 8 +32.970 13 2.5
12   Marco Gentile Fior Marlboro Fior 8 +1:25.460 16 2
13   Cees Doorakkers HRK Motors Honda 8 +1:34.460 21 1.5
14   Eddie Laycock Honda 8 +1:37.060 20 1
15   Simon Buckmaster Racing Team Katayama Honda 8 +1:37.590 17 0.5
16   Josef Doppler Honda 7 +1 Lap 22
17   Bruno Kneubuhler Romer Racing Suisse Honda 7 +1 Lap 18
18   Marco Papa Team Greco Paton 7 +1 Lap 19
19   Nicholas Schmassman FMS Honda 7 +1 Lap 23
20   Hans Klingebiel Suzuki 7 +1 Lap 26
21   Fernando Gonzales Club Motocross Pozuelo Honda 7 +1 Lap 25
22   Mark Phillips Suzuki 7 +1 Lap 24
23   Randy Mamola Cagiva Corse Cagiva 7 +1 Lap 14
24   Alessandro Valesi Team Iberia Yamaha +6 Laps 15
25   Wayne Gardner Rothmans Honda Team Honda +6 Laps 10
26   Pavel Dekanek Honda +6 Laps 27
DNS   Ron Haslam Suzuki Pepsi Cola Suzuki Did not start 12
DNQ   Patrick Chavanne Honda Did not qualify


  1. ^ "Alle Grand-Prix uitslagen en bijzonderheden, van 1973 (het jaar dat Jack begon met racen) tot heden". Archive.li\accessdate=13 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2015-07-25.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Malcolm. "1989 500cc Class (FIM Grand Prix World Championship) Programmes - The Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Progcovers.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Spa-Francorchamps | the Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  4. ^ Noyes, Dennis: Time to Fix 'Flag-to-Flag' Pit Stops Before Luck Runs Out SpeedTV.com 20 September 2006.
  5. ^ "1989 Belgian MotoGP - Motor Sport Magazine Database". Motorsportmagazine.com. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ "BELGIUM GRAND PRIX · 500cc Race Classification 1989". Motogp.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.

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1989 Dutch TT
FIM Grand Prix World Championship
1989 season
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1989 French Grand Prix
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1988 Belgian Grand Prix
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1990 Belgian Grand Prix