How Ana Carrasco Became the First Female Motorcycle Champion

She became a world champion on Sunday afternoon at World SBK, but Carrasco hopes this is just the beginning of women taking home titles

Ana Carrasco of Spain prepares to participate in an open practice for the Texas Moto3 race at the Circuit of the Americas Saturday, April 11th, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP

She won by just one-tenth of one second, but it was enough for Ana Carrasco to make worldwide history on Sunday. The 20-year old became the first female motorcyclist to win a world championship in Portimao, Portugal. 

Carrasco, from Spain competed in a lower-tier series and was riding a Kawaski motorcycle. She's been racing professionally since 2013, when she was 16 years old, but left her first circuit, Moto3, after a couple years of sub-par finishes. On the new circuit, she had yet to finish better than seventh in any race, before coming in first on Sunday. 

“I am very happy about this result,” Carrasco told World SBK. "... When I first came to the world stage at 16, it was a bit weird for everyone. But it's been four years now and they've all got used to it, so to speak."

Women in motorcycle sports isn't all that prevalent. There was an all-women's series that was recently discontinued, according to the New York Times. There's another woman in Carassco's circuit, though she has yet to finish higher than 19th place. 

"Women will never be a majority, this is clear," Carrasco said. "I think the number of women will increase, but in the end in the world championships there is a great level, which makes it complicated."