Moto GP is the same age as the FIM World Motorcycle Federation, whose history began in 1949 after the reorganization of the International Federation of Motorcycle Clubs, established in 1924. Its main road-ring championship was the European Championship, which took place in 1924-1939 and 1947-1948. The reorganized FIM raised the status of the competitions, making them international, although in fact nothing has changed: the same Europeans continued to enter the starting grids of the European tracks on the same European motorcycles. From the pre-war races there is an important difference – the ban on expensive compressor engines, which in the 30s paid much attention.
The first world championship of six stages (on tracks in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland) was established for motorcycles in cubic meters of 125, 250, 350 and 500 cm3, as well as wheelchairs. Motorsport at that time was the occupation of truly adult people. The average age of the winners of all Grand Prix in 1949 was 37 years and 180 days. The first champion was the Englishman Leslie Graham on AJS tween. Vice-champion, Italian Nello Pagani, who piloted the “four” Gilera, scored more points during the season – 40 against 31, and both riders scored two wins. Nevertheless, Graham was declared the winner of the championship, as the points system took into account the three best results plus a point for each best lap. Accordingly, the others were discarded, so Pagani did not save the fact that he brought all his races to the finish line, whereas Graham had two meetings. His three best races gave slightly more points – 30 against 29. Archizo Arteziani, the co-pilot of the “Gillers”, was the third one who could take the title of the first world champion in the GP500. He was not lucky because of the gathering at the penultimate race in Ulster – so he did not have enough points to argue with more successful competitors. The last European champion in the 500s, Italian Enrico Lorenzetti, also participated in the newly formed series for several years, but not in the senior class – by the will of Moto Guzzi, he raced in lower classes, and in 1952 became the GP250 champion. Interestingly, this championship was taken on the technique of a transitional generation of racing motorcycles. Champion AJS Porcupine was first designed by a compressor, and in connection with the 1946 ban on such engines, an ordinary atmospheric bike was made of it. At the same time, Gilera was already one step ahead, since its apparatus from 1948 was conceived of just like that from the very beginning.
History of development of Motorcycle Racing: early years
The main characters of the 49th are Leslie Graham and Nello Pagani – this time they did not enter the top three, giving way to new names. It was the turn of Italy to get their champion, and they became Umberto Mazetti, who was a friendly name for Mickey Mouse. Like a year ago, two applicants were divided by the minimum number of points – one. The scoring system was slightly changed, and the best four results were counted, not three. Thus, now the rider with a large number of victories had to pay more for their gatherings, and the one who consistently scored points with a smaller number of victories, increased their chances. Mazetti took two wins, Duke three, but in the remaining three stages Duke got past the podium. In addition, a strange case played a role at the finals in Monza, Mazetti’s home race: the Italian pilot lost the turn a few minutes before the finish and began to let go of the leader of the race Duke ahead. The organizers threw the checkered flag over the circle to the end and Umberto got the second one. At the same time, he really risked the title – if it were not for points for silver, the winner of the race would be Jeff. Archizo Arteziani, the bronze medalist of the previous championship, moved to MV Agusta, the “five hundred” for which was created by the former engineer of Gilera Piero Remor. Artesiani on a new motorcycle hit the podium of the final race in Italy, and brought her first big top 3 brand.
1970: Push-pull opposition strengthens position
At first glance, in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing all still is the same – Giacomo Agostini and no one; nobody and Giacomo Agostini. In the 71st, he broke the record for titles in the GP500, passing John Certificate and Mike Heilwood, who had four. And yet something began to change: private traders began to change to fresh Japanese two-stroke motorcycles Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki, which quickly began to push the respectable old men from among the Norton and others. The second place in the season was fixed for Ginger Molloy, whose weapon was the three-cylinder Kawasaki H1-R launched to the market. Molloy began the season on Bultaco, at the second stage he moved behind the wheel of an intact “Kava”, and during the championship, with his own forces, he worked on it: heightened efficiency, reduced weight, improved controllability. His achievement is four second places. Molloy almost lost this position because of Angelo Bergamont, who started the year in Aermacchi, and finished the factory pilot “Agusta”.
The Japanese were busy with fast bikes for ordinary roads, whose popularity — primarily in the rich US market — was growing at a very serious pace, so there wasn’t any talk about factory projects in the “European” GP500. But these sportbikes were so good compared to the English technique of the tenth freshness that they immediately flashed on the world routes, and Ginger Molloy was among the first riders who saw that in the GP500 the tuning of the two-stroke Japanese sportbike was the best alternative to MV Agusta. For this motorcycle, the New Zealander specially traveled to the USA, where he acquired it. Unlike Terry Dennehy, who assembled his Honda almost from scratch, Ginger “worked as a file” with a ready base, originally conceived for racing tracks. The last thing that was missing in this scheme was the budget of the real team.
The calendar has shrunk to eight stages due to problems around Austria and Venezuela, and since Venezuela has stopped accepting Moto GP Championship, the championship has once again become completely intra-European. It turned out so short, as if the 50s had come again. The South American track San Carlos turned out to be a poorly populated area, each time a dozen pilots were hardly gathered at the start. The problem is the same as for the stages in the USA and Argentina – only teams with money can afford to travel to another continent and back. For this reason, the “away” championship race for many decades in the calendar for a long time did not stay. Another factory team joined the older cubic capacity – this is Kawasaki, which was extremely strong in the late 70s – early 80s in medium cubic meters, and after the mid-70s it was a second attempt by Kava to conquer the GP500. Her best racer Cork Billington on the KR500 was to help the plant intervene in the tense struggle of Yamaha and Suzuki. Barry Shin spent the unfortunate first year on the Yamaha. He was not on the podiums and several stages due to injury. The dominance of Kenny Roberts continued, but from the point of view of the brands Suzuki dominated – the majority of riders were still driving the RG500.
The best of them was a newcomer from the US, Randy Mamola. He replaced Sheon at Heron Suzuki, and replaced quite successfully – he managed to win two races and become a silver medalist. Although Roberts won three and scored more points, Suzuki’s position as a brand was much stronger, because Kenny was actually the only weapon of the Yamaha, while Marco Lucinelli and Franco Uncini drove decently on the RG500, who were destined to become champions. The late revival in the Suzuki camp reminded the previous season when Shin shot. In the peloton, brand leveling takes place, Yamaha bikes become about the same as Suzuki.
1990: Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki: tight, one after another
The first victory in the Grand PrixBrazilia is eliminated. This is the last season for the Grand Prix of Yugoslavia, as the country will soon suffer greatly from the political and economic crisis in the socialist bloc. This year, Lawson again changed the team, returned to Yamaha camp. His chief now was not Agostini, but Roberts. The “problem” was that the very ambitious Rainey, who almost beat Lawson a year earlier, became the American’s partner. True, the struggle did not work out: Eddie gets a serious leg injury at the second stage in the United States, when the brake shoe fell off on Laguna Seke and misses the next six stops. Probably, he could have reunited with Agostini, but the Italian had problems – he lost the support of the long-standing sponsor Marlboro, who was tempted by the success of Team Roberts. Giacomo in the 90th is left without money, and without pilots, who have nothing to buy. In the off-season 1989/1990, he was in contact with Kevin Schwanz, and if he could combine these two components, the Yamaha Team Agostini probably would not have disappeared. But the team disappeared, so the plant focused on the Roberts project. Rainey is left alone with Schwartz, who at times is supported by the future star of Australia Mick Duan.
Americans beat bone in the bone, but the picture of their home Superbike is repeated: the strategist Raine slightly outplays the maximalist Shvantsa, winning about the same number of races and losing points on mistakes. Otherwise, both pilots are on a par, each has won and lost five skirmishes tete-a-tete. Chances # 34 evaporate in the final phase, where he finishes himself with three wrecks in four races. This year, Suzuki continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of its RGV500: Englishman Neil McKenzie, the Swiss partner, carries stable glasses, although he does not win races. For the first time in recent years, the leading group consists of two of the largest factory teams. Gardner is going through another season with breaking and skipping races, and for the second year in a row, he has lost the team fight to a tidy Duen.
2000: Roberts and Suzuki’s Great Year
Now there are two Grand Prix in Japan: one at Suzuka, and the second on the new Twin Ring Motegi ring (which also belongs to Honda). Argentina takes another pause, instead of it they put Portugal and its famous Estoril highway. After Reney and Schwanz left the stage in 1993-1995, Yamaha and Suzuki started to compete, who would fall deeper: the brands did not find an equivalent replacement, while Honda was a tasty morsel for any rider. Suzuki got out of the corkscrew first when she hired younger Kenny Roberts. Last year, he won four times and forced the World Grand Prix to start talking about the brand again. In 2000, the American soloist, although not dominated. His experience and level of the motorcycle allowed him to collect good points, and the rest of the cake was shared by a large number of pilots: these are Marlboro Yamaha teammates Carlos Checa and Max Biagi, and Alex Barros with Gary McCoy from Honda and Yamaha satellites, respectively. The debutant and GP250 champion Valentino Rossi turned out to be the cleverest of all; not without mentoring advice, the sports director of the Nastro Azzurro team, Mick Duen, who learned to reach the podium by mid-season.
At first, the 21-year-old Italian did not particularly disturb other fast pilots, then the instability went away and the Doctor showed a high class. In the second half, # 46 climbed seven of the eight podiums and scored 142 points – more than Roberts (133) and Biagi (126) had. The result: vice-championship. The course of the championship has changed a lot in the second part of the season. Roberts’ main pursuer was not originally Rossi or Biaggi, but Pirate Carlos Chek’s partner — on the equator of the season, they were not far from each other (125-111). After the equator, Cheka showed a different level of performances and moved away from the podium, and at the same time Biaggi became more active and began to constantly collide with Russia and Roberts. The final spurt and two victories brought Max the championship bronze. After a rather weak first year at Yamaha, the result was not bad, but the Italian paid a high price for four meetings in the first five races, which is why he not only barely managed to beat Barros and McCoy (170-163-161), but lost to rookie Rossi. Defended champion Alex Krivier spends a very uneven year with many falls, although he manages to win one victory. Gold in Le Mans will be the last Spaniard in his career.
2018: Phenomenon fivefold
GP in the UK canceled due to rain. The organizers do not have time to limit the work of engineers. This led to a new package of amendments for the regulations. 2018 is the last year when it was possible to combine aerial flares. These include current designs, if you do not remove / add wings. The inertial measurement unit (IMU) in 2019 will be standardized. In their own IIBs, manufacturers allegedly revived the function of the previous generation of ECUs – precise positioning on the track. In theory, the computer would get a crib and control the bike at every turn. The loophole nullified the idea of the simplified Magneti Marelli block. The calendar has been expanded to 19 stages. A GP of Thailand has been added to the Chang-Buriram ring. The stage in Great Britain was a fiasco: Silverstone, overwhelmed in the winter, did not cope with the rain of moderate severity, after several transfers everything was canceled. For the first time since the 1980 Austria’s snowy GP in Austria, the race day was canceled entirely due to weather conditions. The championship began with Andrea Doviziozo (Ducati Team). The Italian in Qatar prevailed over Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), and for the first time won a victory in Losaila. Cal Calchlow’s triumph on the Argentine GP gave him the first line. British rider for the first time since Venezuela 1979 was at the top of the championship of the prime class.