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Yep - Fast Freddie won his WC in '85 on a 3-cyl NSR500.
The only guy to do the double of 250 & 500 in that year.
At the time the 3-cyl was a weapon - best balance between power and balance for the tyre /chassis tech of the time - the 4-cyls were animals, while they reckoned the 3-cyl was best compromise.
The later 'customer' 500's that Gibernau & Aoki did well on (while not being able to really trouble the facyory 4's of course, just like the Sats today) were 2-cyl.