In motorcycle racing, for a rider to be eternally linked to a specific brand of bike is fairly common, but it's actually quite uncommon for riders to spend their entire racing careers on the same brand.
Cases in point: Freddie Spencer is a Honda man, through and through, but he raced for Yamaha in Grand Prix during his later years and then he came back to America to race a Fast by Ferracci Ducati. Wayne Rainey is a Yamaha icon, but he won races and titles on a Harley-Davidson in flat track, and for Kawasaki and Honda in roadracing. Kevin Schwantz is a Suzuki legend, but he cut his teeth in road racing aboard a Yamaha RZ350 and then an FJ600. Scott Russell is Mr. Daytona and Mr. Kawasaki, but he's roadraced for essentially every brand that is or was in the paddock, including Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Yamaha, and even Ducati.
What about Michael Doohan? Mr. Five-Time Grand Prix 500cc World Champion is probably as closely associated with Honda as Freddie Spencer. After all, Mick The Quick dominated the mid to late 1990s, and he won each and every one of his five-consecutive world titles aboard a Honda NSR500. His loyalty to Honda even prevailed over the heady challenge that Wayne Rainey posed to him.
After Rainey retired and went on to manage a Grand Prix team for a short time, he threw down the gauntlet, urging Doohan to climb off his uber-dominant Honda and prove to the world that it was the rider, not the bike, that made the difference, by winning a world championship for Yamaha. It would have been the reverse of what Eddie Lawson (Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda rider, by the way) did when he won the 1988 GP title for Yamaha, then swung a leg over the Honda in 1989 and won the title again in back to back years for two different manufacturers.
Doohan and Wayne Gardner (also a Honda icon) teamed up for the Suzuka Eight Hours race in 1989, 1990, and 1991, yet the pair of iconic Honda riders won the 8 hours only in '91.
But, what about Mick Doohan at the Suzuka Eight Hours in 1988? That was the year that Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee qualified their Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha on pole for the Suzuka Eight Hours, and then went on to win the race by a full lap over second-place finishers Kevin Schwantz and Doug Polen on, of course a Yoshimura Suzuki.
Yes, yes, but what about Mick Doohan? Where did Mr. Honda finish? Well, race fans, he qualified in sixth and finished ninth in the 1998 Suzuka Eight Hours ... but he wasn't on a Honda. That year he was also teamed up with Japanese racing legend Tadahiko Taira, a rider who is--the theme continues here--eternally linked to Yamaha because of all the success he had with the tuning fork brand. In 1998, Michael Doohan and Tadahiko Taira were paired together on a Shiseido Tech 21 Yamaha, the same brand of bike and team on which Martin Wimmer and Kevin Magee won the 1987 Suzuka Eight Hours.
1988 was quite a year for Michael Doohan racing a Yamaha. He competed in two rounds of the 1988 World Superbike Championship, at Sugo in Japan and Oran Park in his home country of Australia, and he won the second race in Japan and both races in Australia. Again, aboard a Yamaha.