MotoGP Race

MotoGP

MotoGP – which is the premier class of motorcycle road racing – is one of the most entertaining motorsports out there. The drivers are skilled beyond belief, and the vehicles themselves are expertly designed and crafted to ensure they perform perfectly on the race track. 

If you’re a motorcycle fan but have never tuned into MotoGP, we ask “Why?” This is the number one motorsport which is catered directly to you. Secondly, you need a bit of background. 

Automobile racing has been around since the 1890s, with the MotoGP kicking off officially in 1949. That means there’s a lot of history to catch up on, which should provide a thrilling context for when you tune into the 2023 season. Let’s start with the 101:

MotoGP: 101

  • MotoGP – standing for motorcycle grand prix – is the top class of motorcycle road racing.
  • It is held on road circuits sanctioned by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme).
  • The motorcycles are purpose-built specifically for the tournament. 
  • Today, prototypes are 1000cc, and every rider is allowed 7 engines per season.
  • 22 riders from 7 different countries take part.
  • There are 19 circuits on which the championship is held each year.
  • Each race lasts between 40 and 45 minutes, depending on the circuit. 
  • The first 15 positioned riders are awarded points. 
  • These points then count towards the title at the end of the championship – the driver with the highest score becomes the world champion

A Wheelie Interesting History Of MotoGP

The Early Twentieth Century

As mentioned before, the first ever MotoGP took place just after the second world war, but really it began a lot earlier than that. Just like cars, when motorcycles were invented, people started racing them. It’s just human instinct. The first bike was sold in 1894 and a few years later, in 1906, the first organised racing event took place. This was known as the Isle Of Man Tourist Trophy (Isle Of Man TT) and it covered a distance of about 400 km. 

Since that point, the motorsport scene continued to grow, and motorcycle racing blossomed, with a number of different tournaments happening around the world each year. It wasn’t until much later, in 1949, that we saw the birth of MotoGP. 

Post-Second World War

This was the first official championship for 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc bikes and – to honour the very first motorcycle tournament – it was first held on the infamous Isle of Man TT course.

The British driver, Leslie Graham, was the champion. He did it on a British AJS motorcycle, with a little help from his driving skills picked up as a Lancaster Bomber pilot. Despite his incredible efforts, however, it was the tournament itself which was the real champion. MotoGP caught on almost as soon as the first throttle was pulled, and it quickly became the ultimate racing championship for motorcycle manufacturers.

The 1950s To The 1970s

From 1950 to 1975, Italian motorcycle makers won the title a total of 24 times, with MV Agusta and Gilera becoming iconic vehicles that took riders like John Surtees and the incredible Mike Hailwood to a collection of trophies each year. This was in the 500cc class, however. In other classes, manufacturers like Honda, Norton and NSU were making waves, winning their own titles in such a fashion that the events only picked up more and more fans.

In 1966, Honda became the very first Japanese vehicle to win the 500cc title, but there was a problem. One year later, in 1967, the FIM realised that the cost of making these vehicles was growing higher and higher, meaning there needed to be a cap to allow for more competition. In response to this, Japanese models such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha left the MotoGP in protest, which allowed the MV Agusta to completely dominate the tournament well into the 1970s.

The Late Twentieth Century

By 1979, however, the Japanese manufacturers believed they had found a way around the cost curb. Honda returned with a four-stroke engine, going against the grain of the popular two-stroke. It didn’t exactly go to plan. Honda only turned up for the eleventh race of the season before quickly retiring.

It didn’t take long for them to turn this around, though. With manufacturing prowess, Honda – and Japanese models as a whole – began dominating the tournament throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s

The Early Twenty-First Century

In the new millennium, things began to change. The sport was rebranded as MotoGP, with the size of the premier class rising from 500cc to 990cc. One thing remained the same, however. Japanese manufacturers continued to assert themselves on the world stage, with Italian riders helping them do it. In fact, Valentino Rossi took the majority of titles from 2000 to 2010.

In the 2012 season, the motorcycles were elevated by another gear, rising to 1000cc. This ushered in a whole new era of Spanish riders. Today, MotoGP is the most popular motorcycle motorsport in the world, with each race reaching nearly half a billion homes across over 200 countries across the globe.

MotoGP: DAZN Bet’s Pop Quiz

Phew. Take a breath. There’s certainly a lot to talk about when it comes to MotoGP and its history, but at least you now know the basics. Or do you? We’ve compiled a fiendish little quiz to really nail in the important stuff and ensure you’re up to speed in time for the 2023 championship.

How Many MotoGP Championships Have There Been?

There have been 73 different Grand Prix championships since the very first in 1949.

Who Won The First Ever MotoGP?

The first MotoGP was won by Leslie Graham on the AGS. In those early years, it was Italian manufacturers with the most dominance, with British riders utilising the Italian machines until Japan took over in the 1970s.

Who Is The Most Successful Manufacturer?

Honda is undoubtedly the most successful manufacturer of the MotoGP, having won a total of 312 races. 

Who Is The Most Successful Rider?

Giacomo Agostini is the most successful rider of all time, having won 122 races in all. Valentino Rossi comes in just behind him with 115 wins.  

Who Will Win The 2023 MotoGP?

The MotoGP in 2023 is going to be hard-fought, but we reckon Ducati have a good shout with Pecco Bagnaia and Enea Bastiani at the throttle. But Honda, of course, can never be written off.