FOREWORD BY LORIS CAPIROSSI From the earliest years of motorcycle racing, the 500 class has always been the most prestigious for riders, the most popular with the public and the most celebrated in journalistic reports. With the institution of the World Championship, between 1949 and 2001 the 500 class officially became the sport’s “blue ribbon” category, with the winner of the class claiming the title of “Overall World Champion”.After two introductory chapters devoted to the growth of the 500 class through to the Second World War, this book focuses on a celebration of its 53 World Championship seasons through the human, sporting, heroic and dramatic episodes that have enriched its history. All this without neglecting the technical aspects and the rivalries between the various marques. The text is flanked and enhanced by numerous photographs, many of which drawn from the archive of Franco Villani, one of the most well known and respect World Championship photographers. There will also be a statistical section devoted to the great 500 cc champions and their machines.