John Kocinski is a three-time AMA 250cc road racing champion who went to Europe to battle in the World Superbike and MotoGP wars. He upheld American honor by earning two World Superbike championships.
Here are a few fun facts about Kocinski, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2015.
Kocinski began riding for Yamaha at the age of 17. He won the AMA 250cc Grand Prix Roadracing Championship title three years in a row: 1987, 1988 and 1989.
He also won the 1989 600 Supersport race at Daytona International Speedway.
In 1990, in his first full season with Team Roberts, Yamaha sent Kocinski to Europe to race full time and he didn’t disappoint, winning the 250cc world grand prix roadracing championship. He claimed six pole positions and earned seven wins on tracks he had never seen before.
In 1991 and 1992 Kocinski raced in the 500cc world grand prix championship riding a Yamaha YZR500 alongside teammate and future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey. Although Kosinski finished fourth in the 1991 season and third in 1992, he failed to win a 500cc grand prix championship for Yamaha or, in later years, Cagiva and Honda.
In 1996, Kocinski started racing World Superbike and in 1997 earned the World Superbike Championship title aboard a Honda RC45 with 10 wins.
He went back to 500cc world grand prix racing for privateer Honda teams in 1998 and 1999.
In 2000, his final year of full-time racing, Kocinski rode a Vance & Hines Ducati in the AMA Superbike national championship series. He retired from full-time professional racing in 2002.