Ana Carrasco is too young to have witnessed the women’s liberation movement that raged during the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s, but the 21-year-old native of Murcia, Spain, did her part this past weekend at Magny-Cours to create greater opportunities for young women in all walks of life by becoming the first-ever female motorcycle racing world champion.

Carrasco had a difficult time in France. Riding a DS Junior Team Kawasaki Ninja 400 in the FIM World Supersport 300 class, she qualified 25th out of 40 riders—"Working very hard to find a solution! We never give up, we will fight until the end!" she wrote on Twitter—but managed 13th place in the 12-lap race to beat countryman Mika Pérez for the title by one point.

The second edition of the World Supersport 300 series was contested over eight European rounds of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship—24 hours before Carrasco's triumph, Jonathan Rea won his fourth consecutive Superbike title—beginning in April at MotorLand Aragón and concluding this past weekend at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.

Carrasco also raced the entire 2017 World Supersport 300 series, earning a maiden victory in Portugal. A veteran of three Moto3 world championship campaigns (teamed in 2013 with Yamaha MotoGP star Maverick Viñales), she finished eighth overall in the point standings, second Kawasaki, 80 points behind Yamaha-mounted champion Marc García.

Ana Carrasco
“To fight a championship like this is really difficult,” Ana Carrasco said after Sunday’s FIM World Supersport 300 race in which she finished 13th, securing the title by one point. “But finally we could do it.” Carrasco dedicated her title to the late Luis Salom.Courtesy of Dorna

This year, Carrasco won two races—rounds 3 at Imola and 4 at Donington Park—and went into the summer break with a 16-point lead and two races remaining on the calendar. At Magny-Cours, Carrasco admitted she was unaware the title was hers when she crossed the finish line. Seeing her face on a TV monitor turned doubt into the realization of her achievement.

“I was trying to go in the front,” Carrasco said about the race. “It was difficult because the group was big and riding really fast. I knew if Mika won the race I wouldn’t win the championship. I was trying to achieve as many points as I could, and finally luck was by our side. This is the present of the job done this year.”

Evolving regulations within the class—various Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, and Yamaha models are eligible—impacted the second half of the season. “The first four races were really, really good,” Carrasco said. “But after the rules changed, we had to work with the different weight on the bike, and it was difficult to find a good setup because we added 14 kilos [31 pounds].

“The last four races I was struggling too much to achieve a result. This weekend we were fighting, fighting, fighting because I didn’t feel good on the bike and we had to start at the back. It was difficult to be focused, to be calm on the bike, because I was seeing all the other riders on the top and I was at the back.”

Carrasco is understandably proud of her achievement. “It is important for this sport to have a girl fighting on the top,” she said. “I want to do a good job because if we are here maybe the way to arrive for other girls in the future will be easier. We have to make it normal. If we are doing a good job like this, for sure in some years there will be more girls here.”

FIM Women in Motorcycling Commission Director Nita Korhonen acknowledged Carrasco’s accomplishment. “Ana has made a historical achievement, which will not only have an influence on herself but the whole motorcycling scene,” Korhonen said. “Ana has shown that winning this kind of high-level title has nothing to do with the gender but the talent.”

Daniel Valle
Daniel Valle’s maiden World Supersport 300 victory played a critical role in Carrasco’s title hopes. Championship runner-up Mika Pérez was second, and Manuel González was third. María Herrera, who also rose through the Spanish CEV series, was fourth.Courtesy of Dorna

American Women Fast On Two Wheels

  • Jamie Astudillo became the first female to earn a podium in MotoAmerica competition when she finished third this past April in the second of two Junior Cup races at Road Atlanta.
  • Born with a hearing impairment, Ashley Fiolek was the first female to earn a factory ride, with Honda in 2009. She won the Women's Motocross Championship four times.
  • Shelina Moreda was the first woman to race a motorcycle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Covergirl model has also raced in China, Europe, Japan, and Qatar.
  • Ex-MotoAmerica Superbike racer Elena Myers was the first woman to win a professional race of any kind—the 2012 AMA Pro SuperSport event—at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Melissa Paris was the first female to qualify for an FIM World Supersport race. She also competed in the FIM Endurance World Championship and tested a Yamaha MotoGP bike.
  • Angelle Sampey is the winningest female in professional motorsports history. The Louisiana native won 41 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle races and three championships.
  • Shayna Texter is the only woman to win an AMA Pro Flat Track main event. The popular Pennsylvania native is credited with 15 victories, including the recent Black Hills Half-Mile.
  • Valerie Thompson is the world's fastest female motorcycle racer at 328.467 mph. An eight-time land-speed record holder, she survived a 343-mph crash earlier this year.