American fans will remember the remarkable jump from motocross to roadracing made by Steve Wise in the early 1980s. Motorcycle Grand Prix's version of that was rider Jean-Michel Bayle.
A naturally-gifted rider on anything two wheels, JMB was a two-time World Motocross Champ, came to America won AMA Supercross and Motocross titles and then went road racing. How many remember he earned two poles in 500cc Grand Prix road racing? Bayle accomplished that feat at Argentina in '95, then again in the Czech Republic in '96. It was a pretty amazing to say the least.
After entering the 250cc class at the French GP in '92 with massive fanfare, He decided to give up motocross and road race full time in '93. His first season on the Chesterfield Team De Radigues Aprilia squad was a crash fest, but with grit and determination he never let it phase him that he was essentially learning to road race while competing at the world championship level.
In 1996 he moved up to the World 500cc Championship riding a Team Roberts Yamaha. He earned five top-five finishes, and took pole position at the Czech Republic GP. In 1997 he rode the Modenas KR3 and finished the season ranked 19th. He continued to race in the World 500cc Championship in 1998, taking pole position and a top-five finish at Imola aboard a Team Rainey Yamaha. He raced his final year in the World 500cc Championship in 1999 aboard the Proton Modenas KR3.
In 2002, Bayle teamed with Sebastien Gimbert and Nicolas Dussauge to win the Bol d'Or and the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle road course endurance races.
Bayle was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.