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500 C591 Grand Prix / Eddie LawsonÂ· 1991
The sole European Grand Prix 500
Since the many victories of Agostini on the MV during the 1970s, the Japanese have dominated the top category in Grand Prix racing. And, for over a decade, the Cagiva team has been the only major factory to attempt to defend the European colors in the 500cc class.
Lawson-A Trump Card
By signing four-times world champion Eddie Lawson for 1991, the Castiglione brothers pulled off a major coup. The riding and machine preparation skills of the American ace, allowed Cagiva to make its mark. The season started promisingly, with the Cagiva 500 winning in Italy, in front of those superbuffs, the "tifosi," and in France. But problems of road-holding and front-end adhesion prevented Cagiva from building on these encouraging exploits.
Technically, the Cagiva could learn nothing from the Japanese. The mechanical layout is the same as everyone else's: a two-stroke V4 with liquid cooling mounted in a box-girder aluminum frame; the brake disks are now in carbon fiber. Electronics are increasingly important, controlling the ignition, the valveson the exhaust system and even the jets in the carburetors (of Japanese origin!). By retaining the same riders for 1992, the Cagiva team can build on its experience and still offer the European industry the chance to distinguish itself at the very highest level.
Engine: 498cc (56x50.6mm) water-cooled V4; programmable electronic ignition
Power Rating: 160 hp @ 12,000 rpm
Valves: two-stroke/automatic inlet valve in crankcase
Fuel System: two 35mm Mikuni twin-choke carburetors with electronic jet control
Suspension: Ohlins upside-down telescopic fork (front); boxed aluminum swinging arm, mono damper (rear)
Brakes: Twin 11 inch carbon disks (front); 7.5 inch steel disk (rear)
Wheels: 17 inch magnesium (front & rear)
Maximum Speed: 193 mph
With major victories in 1991, the 500 Cagiva has maintained the European presence in Grand Prix -racing at the very highest level.