Le Mans sees us hit a mega milestone, so we thought we’d take a short journey down reminiscence lane to see how our sport has advanced
If you happen to have been to journey from the Isle of Man to Le Mans by motorbike, you’d clock simply over 1000 kilometres from one world-well-known motorsport venue to the opposite. It’s apt then that after the Isle of Man TT hosted the primary Bike Grand Prix again in 1949, Le Mans and the French GP will host the one thousandth Grand Prix. And what a journey it’s been within the 999 GPs between then and now.
Forward of the one thousandth GP that takes place at this weekend’s SHARK Grand Prix de France, we thought we’d take a transient have a look at how our stunning sport has advanced between 1949 and 2023.
1000 Grands Prix: Legends making historical past
In 1949, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) was born and our story started with 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorbike lessons, whereas 600cc sidecars helped kind the inaugural World Championship too.
Britain’s Leslie Graham grew to become the primary 500cc World Champion driving a British-constructed AJC machine, but it surely was quickly one other European nation that might stamp its early authority in Grand Prix Bike Racing.
Between 1949 and 1974, Italian producers MV Agusta and Gilera dominated the 500cc class. MotoGP™ Legends comparable to Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Learn and Mike Hailwood received their premier class titles on the aforementioned machines earlier than 1975 noticed Agostini notch up his eighth 500cc crown on a Yamaha.
Rise of the Japanese producers
1966 was the primary 12 months a Japanese producer received a premier class race. Thanks to Jim Redman, Honda achieved that feat at Hockenheim, whereas Yamaha received the Constructors’ title for the primary time in 1974.
From 1975 onwards, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha started to dominate the premier class. Suzuki and Yamaha shared the glory between 1975 and 1982 earlier than Freddie Spencer handed Honda their debut 500cc title in 1983.
American and Australian riders stamp their mark
Kenny Roberts led the best way for some American greats to stamp their mark on Grand Prix historical past. Roberts received the 1978, 1979 and 1980 500cc World Championships with Yamaha, earlier than Spencer and Eddie Lawson shared the titles between 1983 and 1986.
Wayne Gardner made historical past for Australia within the 1987 500cc World Championship earlier than Lawson (1988 and 1989) and Wayne Rainey (1990, 1991 and 1992) put America firmly again on prime. Kevin Schwantz added his title to the record when he claimed the 1993 500cc title, as Australia’s Mick Doohan entered the world.
Doohan went on to win each 500cc title between 1994 and 1998 forward of Alex Crivelle ending the American/Australian dominance by placing Spain on the Grand Prix map in 1999. Kenny Roberts Jr handed America their penultimate premier class title to date in 2000, as a rising Italian star named Valentino Rossi then grew to become Italy’s first 500cc World Champion since Franco Uncini in 2001.
In 2002, a new period of Grand Prix motorbike racing dawned. MotoGP™ changed the 500cc class as 4-stroke machines have been re-launched to the highest tier of bike racing, because the 2003 Czech GP signalled the tip of two-stroke bikes competing in MotoGP™.
The primary 4 years of MotoGP™ racing belonged to Rossi. The #46 received the 2002 and 2003 titles with Honda, as a well-known change to Yamaha then noticed Rossi declare the 2004 and 2005 titles. The late, nice Nicky Hayden put himself, Honda and America on prime of the Grand Prix world in 2006, earlier than Australia have been ready to observe swimsuit thanks to the sensible rise of Casey Stoner. Oh, and that was Ducati’s first MotoGP™ title triumph – and an Italian producer’s first premier class title win since 1974.
Rossi was again on prime in 2008 and 2009, however a couple of unimaginable abilities have been shortly shaking up the pecking order. Specifically, Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, and Pedrosa. Between 2007 and 2012, these 4 riders grew to become extensively recognised as ‘The Aliens’. Throughout these six seasons, Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo received two titles apiece, with Pedrosa ending within the prime three in 5 of these six campaigns.
Nonetheless, Stoner introduced he was retiring on the finish of 2012 on the age of 27. One ‘Alien’ was departing, however one other was prepared and ready: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Group).
Moto2™, Moto3™ & 1000cc MotoGP™ engines launched
2010 noticed Moto2™ exchange the 250cc class, as Honda grew to become the only 4-stroke engine producer within the new intermediate class. Then in 2012, Moto3™ was created to exchange the 125cc class with the identical idea – 4-stroke engines changing two-stroke.
In that very same 12 months, MotoGP™ raised the utmost engine capability to 1000cc, whereas CRT (Claiming Rule Groups) have been additionally launched to the premier class. This allowed decrease-finances Impartial Groups to take part in MotoGP™.
2013-2019 – a Marc Marquez dominated period
The start of a Marc Marquez, Honda and Spain-dominated period. Marquez received the primary of his six MotoGP™ titles as a rookie in 2013, and it was solely the notorious 2015 title race between Yamaha’s eventual winner Lorenzo and teammate Rossi that stopped Marquez from successful each title between 2013 and 2019.
This period of racing additionally noticed the emergence of aerodynamics steadily turning into increasingly more outstanding in MotoGP™, with Ducati appearing because the pioneers. MotoGP™ additionally welcomes KTM as a model-new, full-manufacturing unit producer in 2017.
Extra races, extra nations visited, extra World Champions. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Group), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Vitality Yamaha MotoGP™) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Group) have been our final three World Champions, as information proceed to be damaged around the globe. 5 producers, all of whom have received a MotoGP™ race, make up a fiercely aggressive grid in 2023.
As we get set for the one thousandth GP, it’s nice to bear in mind the many individuals who’ve helped form the game into what it’s as we speak. Right here’s to the following 1000.
MADCONSOLE – #short #journey #GPs