The planet’s most talented and skilled riders will line a grid to battle it out for the MotoGP™ World Championship. Armed with cutting-edge motorcycle technology and prototype machinery producing over 200hp, these machines are capable of going 0-60mph in three seconds, reaching top speeds of over 200mph, and achieving lean angles as low as 45 degrees.
MotoGP™ is the premier championship in professional motorcycle road racing. It is divided into three classes:
1. MotoGP™- premier series, 800cc engines
2. Moto2- 250cc
3. Moto3- 125cc
MotoGP™ has a long standing tradition with over 60 years of heart pumping, motorcycle racing action. This is a brief overview of the sport’s storied past.
MotoGP™ started in 1938 and was initially known as the Federation Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes (FICM). FICM announced a European Championship, but World War II interrupted the running of the race and it was never held. The first formal World Championship was run in 1949.
When the first Grand Prix was established there were four different classes. The classes are based the size of the motorcycles’ engine:
1. Premier class 500cc
The 1950’s were dominated by Italian motorcycle companies. In the late 50’s Italian cycles won all four categories for three consecutive season from 1958 to 1960. In the premier class they won for an unprecedented 17 straight years from 1958 until 1974. In the 1960’s, Japanese motorcycle companies came into prominence and a lot of the companies are still prominent today. Companies such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha won championships during the decade and had a lot of success in the 50cc division that was started in 1962.
In the late 1960’s, the legend of Giacomo Agostini began. He is the most successful rider in
World Championship competition history. He won both the 350cc and the 500cc(premier class) for five straight seasons, 1968-1972 racing for MV Agusta. Overall, he won 15 World Championships across all of the motorcycle classes. Many riders today only race in one class, so few riders will ever come close to Agostini’s success.
Changing the Game
Due to increased costs, many motorcycle companies removed themselves from competition. FIM responded by adjusting the rules. Limiting "the bikes to single cylinder engines in the 50cc class, two cylinders in 125cc and 250cc, and four cylinders in 350cc and 500cc.”* Many of the companies returned to competition after the adjustment to the rules.
In 1982, the FIM ended the 350cc class’ 34 year run and in 1984 they replaced the 50cc class with the 80cc class. This left four classes in the World Championship; 80cc, 125cc, 250cc and 500cc. However after just six seasons, the 80cc class was ended, leaving the three classes we have today.
In 1996 the Grand Prix’s association with side car racing came to an end when the sidecars created the Sidecar World Cup in 1997. The premier class transformed again in 2002 with a change to 990cc’s, which scaled back to 800cc’s in 2007.
The Modern Era
For the better part of the past decade, MotoGP™ has been dominated by Italian rider Valentino Rossi. Rossi won the last ever 500cc race in 2001 and won four consecutive titles in the new 990cc category in ’02, ’03, ’04 and ’05. He lost in ’06, but reemerged as the champion in 2008. He won five MotoGP™ titles in eight seasons with three different premier class engines. He won again in 2009 giving him seven titles. Putting him within one of Giacomo Agostini’s all-time record of eight. Last season Jorge Lorenzo of Spain won his second title in three years. He captured his first MotoGP™ crown in 2010 at the age of 23.
Witness MotoGP™ in 2013. In April, the MotoGP™ Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas will be held at the Circuit of The Americas™ in Austin, Texas. As the Exclusive Official Ticket, Hospitality and Travel Package Provider, Circuit of The Americas Experiences, will sell newly-created packages, bringing racing fans closer to the action and providing a turn-key program that includes seats in various locations throughout the race track, on-site hospitality, insider extras and other concierge services for corporate and social groups.