Where Are They Now? John Kocinski

This gifted and difficult American exited international racing in 1999 with Honda's only RC45 world championship.


Kocinski on the Cagiva. He took the RC45Kocinski on the Cagiva. He took the RC45 to it's only World Superbike championship

John Kocinski is best remembered for out-performing Carl Fogarty on two counts: beating the British champion's Ducati in 1997 when he took Honda's RC45 to its only World SuperBike championship, and surpassing Foggy in the obnoxious stakes.

"He was a brilliant rider," remembers TWO's Niall Mackenzie, "but he'd treat other human beings like shit - journalists, his teammate Aaron Slight, the team's staff. He once sacked his motorhome driver for using the motorhome's toilet during a long journey.

"But then, Kocinski had an obsessive compulsive disorder which meant that everything had to be immaculate. We should have felt sorry for him, but we thought it was funny. He rode off-road a lot and that was a nightmare for him - he had to get all the mud off himself immediately and his dirt bikes were the mintest bikes ever. But I guess a genius always treads a thin line to being completely mad."

And a riding genius Kocinski was, whatever bike he raced. He came to WSB having already won the GP250 world title and four 500cc GPs on a Cagiva competing with the likes of Lawson, Rainey and Schwantz. After outclassing everyone in WSB Kocinski returned for two years to the 500cc class with the Honda-Pons-Movistar team in 1998 and team Kanemoto Honda Racing in 1999, before making a quiet exit from international racing. So where is he now?

As his GP years drew to a close, Kocinski is rumoured to have sold his prestigious Californian home to an American rap star for a 400% profit. This led to the astute racer building up a real estate business in Beverly Hills, where he is currently buying and selling mansions. In 2003, he bought a French Villa in Beverly Park for $4.4million, then promptly sold it after some renovation for almost twice that amount. More recently he sold a mansion in Bel Air to movie star Eddie Murphy for approximately $15 million. Needless to say, Kocinski is now wealthy enough to consider motorcycle racing a hobby rather than a profession; following a year in AMA in 2000 where he finished seventh on a Vance & Hines Ducati 996, Kocinski turned down subsequent offers to race again in the series with Ducati, fearing they wouldn't give the support he needed, which would have been substantial.

In 2001 and 2002 Kocinski helped Yamaha develop the M1, but vanished from the professional racing scene thereafter. Probably in a puff of property tycoon-style cigar smoke. Not so loopy after all...

John Kocinski is best remembered for out-performing Carl Fogarty on two counts: beating the British champion's Ducati in 1997 when he took Honda's RC45 to its only World SuperBike championship, and surpassing Foggy in the obnoxious stakes.

"He was a brilliant rider," remembers Visordown's Niall Mackenzie, "but he'd treat other human beings like shit - journalists, his teammate Aaron Slight, the team's staff. He once sacked his motorhome driver for using the motorhome's toilet during a long journey.

"But then, Kocinski had an obsessive compulsive disorder which meant that everything had to be immaculate. We should have felt sorry for him, but we thought it was funny. He rode off-road a lot and that was a nightmare for him - he had to get all the mud off himself immediately and his dirt bikes were the mintest bikes ever. But I guess a genius always treads a thin line to being completely mad."

And a riding genius Kocinski was, whatever bike he raced. He came to WSB having already won the GP250 world title and four 500cc GPs on a Cagiva competing with the likes of Lawson, Rainey and Schwantz. After outclassing everyone in WSB Kocinski returned for two years to the 500cc class with the Honda-Pons-Movistar team in 1998 and team Kanemoto Honda Racing in 1999, before making a quiet exit from international racing.

As his GP years drew to a close, Kocinski is rumoured to have sold his prestigious Californian home to an American rap star for a 400% profit. This led to the astute racer building up a real estate business in Beverly Hills, where he is currently buying and selling mansions. In 2003, he bought a French Villa in Beverly Park for $4.4million, then promptly sold it after some renovation for almost twice that amount. More recently he sold a mansion in Bel Air to movie star Eddie Murphy for approximately $15 million.

Needless to say, Kocinski is now wealthy enough to consider motorcycle racing a hobby rather than a profession; following a year in AMA in 2000 where he finished seventh on a Vance & Hines Ducati 996, Kocinski turned down subsequent offers to race again in the series with Ducati, fearing they wouldn't give the support he needed, which would have been substantial.

In 2001 and 2002 Kocinski helped Yamaha develop the M1, but vanished from the professional racing scene thereafter. Probably in a puff of property tycoon-style cigar smoke. Not so loopy after all...

Join the conversation!

Let us know what you think, just sign up for a free account, leave a comment and get involved!
Register Now