Mick Doohan was born in Brisbane, Australia (04.06.65) and began riding motorcycles in 1974 at the age of nine in Brisbane. Soon after he began competing in off-road events. His first notable result was finishing runner-up in the Queensland 10-12 years championship. The Doohan family moved to the Gold Coast, 80km south of Brisbane, in 1981, and Michael made his road racing debut in 1984 at Surfers Paradise Raceway, Australia at the age of 19 on a Yamaha RZ350.
In 1985 Doohan rode a Yamaha RZ500 to numerous outright and class wins, and in 1986-87 he was one of Australia's leading riders in the 250cc production class on a Yamaha TZR250. Doohan's first major career breakthrough was in mid-1987 when he was offered a guest ride on a Marlboro Yamaha Dealer Team FZR750 in an Australian Superbike Championship meeting at Winton, Victoria. He finished fifth.
Soon after Japanese Yamaha dealer Kouzou Morinaga invited Doohan to make his international debut in the 1987 Suzuka Eight-Hour event on a Super Angel Racing Yamaha FZR750. In August 1987 Doohan raced into the limelight by finishing third on the Super Angel Racing Yamaha FZR750 in the Japanese round of the Formula One TT World Championship at Sugo in Japan. By the end of 1987 Doohan had an impressive record of 26 wins from 57 starts in four years of road racing. Those performances led to Doohan securing a fulltime berth in the Marlboro Yamaha Dealer Team in 1988. He had spectacular success, winning 16 times from 33 starts in Australia and Japan on Yamaha Formula One and superbike four-stroke machines.
His most notable victories of 1988 were in the inaugural World Superbike Championship. He won the second heat of the Japanese round of the series at Sugo, and both heats in Australia at Oran Park.In Japan Doohan rode a factory Yamaha YZF750 Formula One machine to victory in the TBC Road Race at Sugo and the Mt Fuji Super Sprint. Not surprisingly, toward the end of 1988 Doohan fielded offers from Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki 500cc grand prix teams who were keen to secure his services for the 1989 world championship.
Doohan eventually joined Rothmans Honda for his debut year (1989) in the 500cc world championship. His team-mates were world champions Wayne Gardner of Australia and Eddie Lawson of the United States. In 1989 Doohan finished ninth in the 500cc world championship. His best result was third in the West German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. He missed three races that year because of finger injuries.
Doohan maintained his improvement in 1990 and finished his second year of 500cc grand prix racing with third position in the world championship behind Americans Wayne Rainey (Marlboro Team Roberts Yamaha) and Kevin Schwantz (Lucky Strike Suzuki). The highlight of Doohan's 1990 campaign was his debut victory in the 500cc world championship in the Hungarian Grand Prix. He won by 25.442-seconds in what was his 26th 500cc start. Apart from winning in Hungary, Doohan had four other rostrum results in 1990 for top three finishes. He was second in the United States and Australia, and third in Italy and Austria.
Doohan confirmed his position among the top 500cc world championship riders in 1991 by finishing runner-up in the series behind Rainey. In 1991 Doohan had three 500cc grand prix victories, in Spain, Italy, and Austria. He finished on the rostrum 14 times from 15 starts in 1991, the most by any rider.
Doohan began the 1992 series in superb form, winning the first round in Japan by 28.298-seconds at Suzuka in wet weather. He also won the following three races in Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and Spain. Doohan raced to his fifth win in 1992 in the seventh round of the series at Hockenheim in Germany, and at that stage he led the world championship by 53 points. In qualifying for the eighth round of the series, the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen, Doohan crashed and broke his right leg. He missed four races while recovering from the injury, and Rainey clinched the title in the final round in South Africa with 140 points to Doohan's 136.
During the off-season Doohan had corrective surgery on his right leg. His build-up to the 1993 season was set back when he broke a scaphoid bone in his left wrist in a crash when testing in Malaysia. Doohan began the 1993 championship well below full fitness. He had a restricted range of movement in his lower right leg which created difficulties when using the rear brake on his machine. However, Doohan's results improved after a hand-operated rear braking system was fitted to his Rothmans Honda. He bounced back to form in the fifth round of the series in Austria, qualifying second and setting a lap record on the way to finishing second in the race.
In the following seven rounds of the championship Doohan finished on the rostrum for a top three finish five times. He won the San Marino Grand Prix at Mugello, finished second in Holland, Spain, and Italy, and was third in Czechoslovakia.
Doohan's 1993 season ended in the 13th and penultimate round at Laguna Seca in the United States, when he broke a collarbone in a crash when leading. He finished fourth overall in the world championship. At the end of 1993, Doohan's record in 500cc racing was 64 starts, 10 wins, 33 rostrum appearances for top-three results, and 15 pole positions. Immediately after Doohan finished his 1993 racing commitments he underwent surgery in San Francisco to strengthen and straighten his right leg. He remained in the United States for four months for treatment.
Doohan began the 1994 world championship with third place in the Australian Grand Prix at Eastern Creek, followed by a win in Malaysia and second in Japan. He then won six successive grand prix races, in Spain, Austria, Germany, Holland, Italy, and France, followed by a second place in Britain. Doohan clinched the world championship title for the first time when he won the 11th round of the 1994 series, the Czech Grand Prix at Brno. His victory left him with an unbeatable lead of 87 points with three races remaining.
Doohan completed 1994 with nine wins and a top-three podium finish in all 14 rounds. He was the first rider to achieve podium results in every championship round since Italian Giacomo Agostini in 1968. After the 1994 series, Doohan's 500cc record was 78 starts, 19 wins, 47 podium finishes, and 21 pole positions.
In 1995 Doohan began his world title defence in top form by winning the opening two rounds in Australia and Malaysia, and finishing second in Japan. He then crashed his Repsol Honda in Spain and Germany, and lost the lead in the championship to fellow-Australian Daryl Beattie. Doohan bounced back and regained the championship lead by taking the checkered flag in the following four races in Italy, Holland, France, and Great Britain. He clinched the 1995 world championship title (his second in succession) by winning the 12th round of the series, the Argentina Grand Prix in Buenos Aires. At the end of the 1995 championship, Doohan's 500cc grand prix record was 26 wins and 57 top-three podium finishes from 91 starts, and 30 pole positions.
In 1996 Doohan claimed the 500cc title for the third successive year. He won eight of the 15 rounds, including four in succession in Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands, and had 12 podium finishes. Doohan clinched the championship with his victory in the European Grand Prix at Catalunya. He won the title with a tally of 309 points. After Doohan completed his eighth successive year of grand prix racing in 1996, his record was 34 wins from 106 starts, 69 podium finishes, and 38 pole positions.
Doohan established himself among the all-time greats of 500cc racing in 1997 when he won the world championship for the fourth successive year. He joined Agostini and the late Mike Hailwood of Great Britain as the only riders to win four consecutive 500cc titles. During the year Doohan also set a new record for the most number of wins in a 500cc season since the world championship began in 1949. He won 12 grand prix races breaking Agostini's record of 11 victories in 1972. Doohan's performances included 10 successive wins.
Doohan finished the year with an overall record of 121 starts in the 500cc world championship, with 46 wins, 83 podium finishes, and 50 pole positions as fastest qualifier.
In 1998 Doohan clinched his fifth successive 500cc world championship title by winning the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, the 13th round of the series. He won eight grand prix races during the year, which boosted his career tally of 500cc victories to 54 from 135 starts since 1989.
Doohan began the 1999 world championship by finishing fourth in the opening round in Malaysia, and second in the following race in Japan. However, he suffered a broken right leg and shoulder, and left wrist, when he crashed his Repsol Honda at 200km/h at Jerez in qualifying for round three at Jerez in Spain. He traveled to the United States immediately after the accident for corrective surgery in San Francisco, which included inserting two plates and 12 screws in his right leg, and a plate in his left forearm. Toward the end of the year he announced his retirement because of the injuries from his crash at Jerez.
After retiring from riding, Doohan maintained an involvement in grand prix racing as General Manager of Racing for Honda Racing Corporation from 2000 to the end of 2004. He has also developed a business portfolio including property, aviation, hospitality, and a European-based marketing company involved in motorsport.
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