|Start date 1971|
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The 1971 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season was the 23rd F.I.M. Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix season. The season consisted of twelve Grand Prix races in six classes: 500cc, 350cc, 250cc, 125cc, 50cc and Sidecars 500cc. It began on 9 May, with Austrian Grand Prix and ended with Spanish Grand Prix on 26 September.
Giacomo Agostini would claim his tenth world championship in 1971, passing Carlo Ubbiali and Mike Hailwood as the all time championship leader. Angel Nieto challenged for the 50cc and 125cc titles. A crash in the final 50cc race handed the title to Dutchman Jan de Vries but, Nieto was able to claim the 125 crown over a young Barry Sheene. Phil Read captured the 250 championship on a private Yamaha-powered Eric Cheney-designed chassis, after falling out with the Yamaha factory.
Agostini won the 350 title for the fourth year in a row but a newcomer served notice when young Finn, Jarno Saarinen, won his first Grand Prix at the Czechoslovakian round then won again in Italy. Agostini had things his way in the 500cc class, winning the first eight rounds of the eleven race series against minimal factory-sponsored opposition. The inaugural Austrian Grand Prix was held at the new high-speed Salzburgring.
Points were awarded to the top ten finishers in each race. Only the best of six races were counted on 50cc, 125cc, 350cc and 500cc championships, best of seven in 250cc, while in the Sidecars, the best of five races were counted.