MotoGP Legend Carlo Ubbiali has sadly passed away at the age of 90.
In the early days of motorcycle Grand Prix racing, the Italian rider became the first competitor to truly dominate the 125cc and 250cc classes.
Born in Bergamo in 1929, the Italian took part in the first World Championship season in 1949, won his first Grand Prix the following year, took his first title in 1951 and went on to collect nine titles in the smaller classes before his retirement in 1960.
His first championship triumph in 1951 was secured onboard a Mondial in the 125cc class, but the next season he lost his crown to MV Agusta rider Cecil Sandford, a factor which could have played a key role in Ubbiali’s subsequent decision to switch manufacturers.
After his move to MV Agusta machinery in 1953, he remained with the company for the rest of his racing days, although it wasn’t until 1955 that he regained the 125cc crown.
That same season Ubbiali had also participated in his first 250cc race, and it didn’t take him long to begin winning as he became double 125 and 250 World Champion in 1956, winning every race in the quarter-litre category and all but one in the 125 class.
Ubbiali added another 125cc honour to his trophy cabinet in 1958, before rounding out his spectacular career with two more 125 and 250 double title wins in 1959 and 1960.
Ubbiali won five TTs and was only one of three riders to win races on both the Mountain Circuit and the shorter Clypse. The others were Cecil Sandford and Bill Lomas.
From his home, also in Bergamo, Giacomo Agostini told bikesportnews: ”When I was 13 or 14 I dreamed of being Carlo Ubbiali. He had a fantastic style and never took unnecessary risks. If you can win, then yes 110% he would say.
“I saw him a month ago and he was not very well. He went into hospital and towards the end his family were not allowed to see him. Corinavirus? Nothing confirmed yet but maybe. I am sad about a great man.”