A 70th Birthday Tribute to Giacomo 'Ago' Agostini
Giacomo Agostini (born 16 June 1942 in Brescia, Lombardy) is an Italian multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Nicknamed Ago, he is the all-time leader in victories in motorcycle Grand Prix history, with 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championships titles. Of these, 68 wins and 8 titles came in the 500cc class, the rest in the 350cc class.
Early career

Agostini is the son of a wealthy Italian industrialist. His father originally didn't approve of his son's motorcycle racing career. He did everything he could to persuade his son not to race. Agostini had to steal away to compete, first in hill climb events and then in road racing.

Eventually his father came to terms with his racing and he won the 1963 Italian 175cc championship aboard a Morini. He got his break when Morini factory rider, Tarquinio Provini left the team to ride for Benelli. Count Alfonso Morini hired the young Agostini to ride for him. In 1964, Agostini would win the Italian 350cc title and proved his ability by finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.[
World Championships

These results caught the eye of Count Domenico Agusta who signed Agostini to ride for his MV Agusta squad as Mike Hailwood's team-mate. Agostini then fought a season-long battle with Honda's Jim Redman for the 1965 350cc world championship. He seemed to have the title won when he led the final round in Japan at Suzuka when his bike failed him, handing the title to Redman.
At the end of the 1965 season, Hailwood left to join Honda as he had tired of working for the difficult Count Agusta. With Agostini now the top MV Agusta rider, he responded by winning the 500cc title seven years in succession for the Italian factory. He would also win the 350cc title seven times in succession and won 10 Isle of Man TTs. In 1967 he battled Hailwood in one of the most dramatic seasons in Grand Prix history. Each rider had 5 victories before the championship was decided in Agostini's favor at the last race of the season.
Agostini dropped a bombshell on the Grand Prix world when he announced he would never again race at the Isle of Man TT, after the death of his close friend, Gilberto Parlotti during the 1972 TT. He considered the 37 mile circuit unsafe for world championship competition. At the time, the TT was the most prestigious race on the motorcycling calendar. Other top riders joined his boycott of the event and by 1977, the event was struck from the Grand Prix schedule.
Agostini surprised the racing world when he announced that he would leave MV Agusta to ride for Yamaha in 1974 season. On his first outing for the Japanese factory, he won the prestigious Daytona 200, the premiere American motorcycle race. He went on to claim the 1974 350cc World Championship but injuries and mechanical problems kept him from winning the 500cc crown. He rebounded and won the 1975 500cc title, marking the first time a two-stroke machine won the premier class.
The 1975 championship would also be the last world title for the 33 year old Italian. In 1976, he rode both Yamaha and MV bikes in the 500cc class, yet raced only once in the 350cc to win in Assen. For the challenging Nürburgring, he chose the 500cc MV Agusta and took it to victory, winning the last Grand Prix for both himself, the marque and the last for four-stroke engines in the 500cc class.
He retired from motorcycle competition after finishing 6th in the 1977 season in which he also raced in 750cc endurance races for Yamaha.

In 1982, Ago returned to the motorcycle racing as the Marlboro Yamaha team manager. As team manager he managed many successful riders including Kenny Roberts, and Eddie Lawson. He also served as the Cagiva race team manager in 1992.

Source: Wikipedia
 
Motorcycle Racing Statistics

Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing

Active years 1964 - 1977

First race:
1963 250cc Nations Grand Prix

Last race:
1977 500cc British Grand Prix

First win:
1965 350cc German Grand Prix

Last win:
1976 500cc German Grand Prix

Team(s):
MV Agusta, Yamaha, Suzuki

Championships:
350cc - 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
500cc - 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975

Starts: 186
Wins: 122
Podiums: 159
Poles: 9
F. laps: 117
Points: 1493

Isle of Man TT Career

TTs contested: 8 (1965 - 1972)
TT wins: 10
First TT win: 1966 Junior TT
Last TT win: 1972 Senior TT
Podiums: 13

Source: Wikipedia
Ago Photo Gallery
by Jesse Alexander
Practice in 1976 at the Nürburgring with the 350cc MV
Agostini at the 2010 Dutch TT, where he rode a Yamaha YZR500 and a Yamaha YZR-M1.
Non-Riding Career

Like John Surtees and Mike Hailwood before him, Agostini raced in Formula One cars. He competed in non-championship Formula One races in 1978. He competed in the European Formula 2 series in a Chevron B42-BMW and British Aurora Formula 1 with his own team and a Williams FW06. He ended his auto racing career in 1980.
Photogaphs

The internet is an amazing source of images. Unfortunately it is also very good at losing the names of those that created them. To those that I am unable to credit, I thank you for your love of photography and the memories which you capture for the greater good.
References

1. Giacomo Agostini at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
2. 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix. (1999)(1st Ed). Hazelton Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-874557-83-7
3. Daytona 200 winners at http://www.motorsportsetc.com
4. Giacomo Agostini auto racing career profile
5. Giacomo Agostini career statistics at MotoGP.com