|Grand Prix motorcycle racing|
|2013 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season|
|Country or region||International|
|MotoGP World Championship|
|Constructors||Ducati, Honda, Yamaha|
|Riders' champion||Jorge Lorenzo|
|Moto2 World Championship|
|Constructors||Kalex, Suter, Speed Up, Motobi, FTR, Tech 3|
|Riders' champion||Marc Márquez|
|Moto3 World Championship|
|Constructors||KTM, Mahindra, FTR, Honda, Kalex|
|Riders' champion||Sandro Cortese|
Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix is the premier championship of motorcycle road racing. It is currently divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3. All three classes use four-stroke engines. In 2010, 250 cc two-strokes were replaced by the new Moto2 600 cc four-stroke class. In 2012, 125 cc two-strokes were replaced by the Moto3 250 cc four-stroke class with a weight limit of 65 kg with fuel, and the engine capacity for MotoGP increased from 800 cc to 1,000 cc.
Grand Prix motorcycles are purpose-built racing machines that are neither available for purchase by the general public nor can be ridden legally on public roads. This contrasts with the various production-based categories of racing, such as the Superbike World Championship, that feature modified versions of road-going motorcycles available to the public.
A Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix was first organized by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949. The commercial rights are now owned by Dorna Sports, with the FIM remaining as the sport sanctioning body. Teams are represented by the International Road Racing Teams Association (IRTA) and manufacturers by the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association (MSMA). Rules and changes to regulations are decided between the four entities, with Dorna casting a tie-breaking vote. In cases of technical modifications, the MSMA can unilaterally enact or veto changes by unanimous vote among its members. These 4 entities compose the Grand Prix Commission.
There have traditionally been several races at each event for various classes of motorcycles, based on engine size, and one class for sidecars. Classes for 50 cc, 80cc, 125 cc, 250 cc, 350 cc, and 500 cc solo machines have existed over time, and 350 cc and 500 cc sidecars. Up through the 1950s and most of the 1960s, four-stroke engines dominated all classes. In part this was due to rules which allowed a multiplicity of cylinders (meaning smaller pistons, producing higher revs) and a multiplicity of gears (giving narrower power bands, affording higher states of tune). In the 1960s, two-stroke engines began to take root in the smaller classes. In 1969, the FIM—citing high development costs for non-works teams—brought in new rules restricting all classes to six gears and most to two cylinders (four cylinders in the case of the 350 cc and 500 cc classes). This led to a mass walk-out of the sport by the previously highly successful Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha manufacturer teams, skewing the results tables for the next several years, with MV Agusta effectively the only works team left in the sport until Yamaha (1973) and Suzuki (1974) returned with new two-stroke designs. By this time, two-strokes completely eclipsed the four-strokes in all classes. In 1979, Honda on its return to GP racing made an attempt to return the four-stroke to the top class with the NR500, but this project failed, and in 1983, even Honda was winning with a two-stroke 500. The 50 cc class was replaced by an 80cc class, then the class was dropped entirely in the 1990s, after being dominated primarily by Spanish and Italian makes. The 350 cc class vanished in the 1980s. Sidecars were dropped from World Championship events in the 1990s (see Superside), reducing the field to 125s, 250s, and 500s.
MotoGP, the premier class of GP motorcycle racing, has changed dramatically in recent years. From the mid-1970s through 2001, the top class of GP racing allowed 500 cc with a maximum of four cylinders, regardless of whether the engine was a two-stroke or four-stroke. Consequently, all machines were two-strokes, due to the greater power output for a given engine capacity. Some two- and three-cylinder two-stroke 500s were seen, but though they had a minimum-weight advantage under the rules, typically attained higher corner speed and could qualify well, they lacked the power of the four-cylinder machines. In 2002, rule changes were introduced to facilitate the phasing out of the two strokes. The rules permitted manufacturers to choose between running two-strokes engines (500 cc or less) or four-strokes (990cc or less). Manufacturers were also permitted to employ their choice of engine configuration. Despite the significantly increased costs involved in running the new four-stroke machinery, given their extra 490cc capacity advantage, the four-strokes were soon able to dominate their two-stroke rivals. As a result, by 2003 no two-stroke machines remained in the MotoGP field. The 125 cc and 250 cc classes still consist exclusively of two-stroke machines. In 2007, the MotoGP class had its maximum engine displacement capacity reduced to 800 cc for a minimum of 5 years. For the 2012 season the capacity has increased again to 1,000 cc.
The 2008 racing calendar consisted of 18 rounds in 15 different countries (Qatar, Spain which hosted 3 rounds, Portugal, China, France, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, USA which hosted 2 rounds, Czech Republic, San Marino, Japan, Australia and Malaysia). Exclusive to the MotoGP class, there was also a USA round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California for the 800 cc class only, this is because the paddock is not large enough to also include the other 2 classes. In 2008 a MotoGP event was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time on a newly prepared track, and observers noted that the Speedway had hosted motorcycle racing before cars raced there. All three classes were scheduled to race but severe wind and rain prevented the 250 cc class from racing. MotoGP racing at Indianapolis is counterclockwise, with a new Snake Pit complex past the start-finish line before heading down the Turn 1 short chute and into the infield section.
The grid is composed of three columns (four for the 125 cc and 250 cc classes) and contains approximately 20 riders. Grid positions are decided in descending order of qualifying speed, the fastest on the 'pole' or first position. Races last approximately 45 minutes, each race a sprint from start to finish without pitting for fuel or tyres.
In 2005, a flag-to-flag rule for MotoGP was introduced. Previously, if a race started dry and rain fell, riders or officials could red-flag (stop) the race and either restart or resume on 'wet' tyres. Now, if rain falls a white flag is shown, indicating that riders can pit to swap the motorcycle on which they started the race for an identical one, as long as the tyres are different (that is, intermediates instead of wets, or slicks instead of wets)brake pads instead of the carbon discs and pads used on the 'dry' bikes. This is because the carbon brakes need to be very hot to function properly, and the water cools them too much. The suspension is also 'softened' up somewhat for the wet weather.
When a rider crashes, track marshals upstream of the incident wave a yellow flag, prohibiting passing in that area; one corner farther upstream, a stationary yellow flag is shown. Passing in an area of the track covered by a yellow flag is prohibited; if a fallen rider cannot be evacuated safely from the track, the race is red-flagged. Motorcycle crashes are usually one of two types: lowside, with the rider initially following his upended bike, and the more dangerous highside, with the rider ejected ahead of the machine. Increased use of traction control has made highsides much less frequent.
According to one estimate, leasing a top-level motorcycle for a rider costs about 3 to 3.5 million dollars for a racing season.
As a result of the 2008–2009 financial crisis, MotoGP is undergoing changes in an effort to cut costs. Among them are reducing Friday practice sessions; banning active suspension, launch control and ceramic composite brakes; extending the lifespan of engines; and reducing testing sessions.
- 1949: Start of the world championship in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
- 1957: Gilera, Mondial and Moto Guzzi withdraw at the end of the season.
- 1958: MV Agusta win the constructor's and rider's championships in all 4 solo classes.
- 1959: MV Agusta retain all eight solo titles. Honda enters the Isle of Man TT for the first time.
- 1960: MV Agusta retain all 8 championships again.
- 1962: First year of 50 cc class.
- 1966: Honda wins the constructor's championship in all 5 solo classes.
- 1967: Final year of unrestricted numbers of cylinders and gears.
- 1968: Giacomo Agostini (MV Agusta) wins both 350 cc and 500 cc titles.
- 1969: As 1968.
- 1970: As 1968.
- 1971: As 1968.
- 1972: As 1968. Death of Gilberto Parlotti at the Isle of Man TT, multiple world champion Giacomo Agostini and other riders boycott the next 4 events on grounds of safety.
- 1973: Deaths of Jarno Saarinen and Renzo Pasolini at the Italian round at Monza.
- 1974: The Suzuki RG500 is the first square-4 in the 500 cc class.
- 1975: Giacomo Agostini (Yamaha) wins the 500 cc class. Yamaha was the first non European brand to win the rider's championship.
- 1976: Barry Sheene wins the first 500 cc champioship for Suzuki.The FIM gives in to the rider's boycotting of the Isle of Man TT, and the round is taken off the calendar.
- 1977: Barry Sheene wins the 500 cc class. The British Grand Prix moves from the Isle of Man TT to the British mainland.
- 1978: Kenny Roberts(Yamaha) wins the 500 cc class.
- 1979: As 1978
- 1980: As 1978. Patrick Pons (Yamaha 500 cc) and Malcolm White (passenger Phil Love) (sidecar) are both killed in the British GP at Silverstone.
- 1981: Marco Lucchinelli (Suzuki) wins the 500 cc class
- 1982: Franco Uncini (Suzuki) wins the 500 cc class. The Yamaha OW61 YZR500 is the first V4 in the 500 cc class.
- 1982: Jock Taylor (passenger Benga Johansson)(Windle-Yamaha) is killed at the Finnish sidecar GP. Imatra is subsequently removed from the GP calendar.
- 1984: Michelin introduces radial tyres in GPs.
- 1987: Push starts are eliminated.
- 1988: Wayne Rainey wins the first 500 cc race using carbon brakes, at the British GP.
- 1988: Alfred Heck (passenger Andreas Räcke) is killed during free practice in the French sidecar GP.
- 1989: Iván Palazzese (Aprilia) is killed in 250 cc German GP at Hockenheim.
- 1990: 500 cc grid switches from 5 to 4 bikes per row.
- 1992: Honda introduces NSR500 with big bang engine.
- 1993: Shinichi Itoh and fuel-injected NSR500 break the 200 mph (320 km/h) barrier at the German GP at Hockenheim.
- 1993: Nobuyuki Wakai (Suzuki) is killed during the practice session of the 250 cc GP in Spain.
- 1994: Simon Prior, passenger of Yoshisada Kumagaya, on an LCR-ADM, is killed in a crash involving seven outfits in the Sidecar GP at Hockenheim.
- 1998: 500 cc switch to unleaded fuel.
- 2002: MotoGP replaces the 500 cc class; 990cc four-strokes can now race alongside 500 cc two-strokes.
- 2003: Daijiro Kato is killed during the Japanese GP MotoGP class at Suzuka when he hits the barrier at 340R. Because of safety issues at 130R (Formula One car driver Allan McNish had a serious crash during the Formula One car race the previous October there, resulting in a reprofiled 130R for 2003, known as 85R and 340R.).
- 2004: MotoGP grid switches from 4 to 3 bikes per row.
- 2004: Makoto Tamada earns Bridgestone their first MotoGP victory at the Brazilian GP.
- 2005: MotoGP adopts flag-to-flag rule, allowing riders to pit and switch to bikes fitted with wet- weather tyres and continue if rain begins to fall mid-race.
- 2007: MotoGP engine capacity is restricted to 800 cc four-strokes.
- 2008: Dunlop drops out of MotoGP.
- 2009: Michelin drops out of MotoGP and Bridgestone becomes the sole tire provider.
- 2009: Kawasaki suspends MotoGP activities for 2009 and considers privateer team.
- 2010: Moto2 replaces the 250cc GP two-stroke class. All engines are built for Moto2 by Honda and are four-stroke 600cc in-line 4-cylinder producing ~125 bhp and rev up to 16000 rpm.
- 2010: Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa is killed in Misano.
- 2011: MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli dies in Sepang.
- 2011: Suzuki withdraws from MotoGP at the end of the season.
- 2012: Moto3 250 cc four-stroke single-cylinder class replaces the 125 cc two-stroke class.
- 2012: MotoGP raises the maximum engine capacity to 1,000 cc and introduces Claiming Rule Teams.
- 2013: Introduced, Knockout qualifying style.
Top riders travel the world to compete in the annual FIM World Championship series. The championship is perhaps most closely followed in Italy and Spain, home of many of the more successful riders early in the 21st century. As for the 2011 season, 25 riders of eight nations participated in the premier class of the championship.
The Riders' World Championship is awarded to the most successful rider over a season, as determined by a points system based on Grand Prix results.
Giacomo Agostini is the most successful champion in Grand Prix history, with 15 titles to his name (8 in the 500 cc class and 7 in the 350 cc class). The most dominant rider of all time was Mike Hailwood, winning 10 out of 12 (83%) races, in the 250 cc class, in the 1966 season. Mick Doohan, who won 12 out of 15 (80%) of the 500 cc races in the 1997 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season also deserves an honourable mention. Valentino Rossi is the most successful contemporary rider, having won 9 titles including 6 Moto GP titles, and 1 each at 500 cc, 250 cc and 125 cc levels. The current (2012) champion is Jorge Lorenzo.
The MotoGP 2013 consisted of races at circuits in 16 different countries.
- Qatar, Doha, Losail International Circuit
- United States, Austin, Circuit of the Americas
- Spain, Jerez de la Frontera, Circuito de Jerez
- France, Le Mans
- Italy, Mugello Circuit
- Spain, Catalunya, Circuit de Catalunya
- Netherlands, Assen, TT Circuit Assen
- Germany, Sachsenring
- United States, California, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
- United States, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Czech Republic, Brno, Masaryk Circuit
- United Kingdom, Silverstone Circuit
- San Marino, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
- Spain, Aragon, Motorland Aragon
- Malaysia, Sepang, Sepang Circuit
- Australia, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
- Japan, Motegi, Twin Ring Motegi
- Spain, Valencia, Circuit Ricardo Tormo
The following shows the key specifications issues for each class. It was also introduced for the 2005 year, that under rule 2.10.5: 'No fuel on the motorcycle may be more than 15 K below ambient temperature. The use of any device on the motorcycle to artificially decrease the temperature of the fuel below ambient temperature is forbidden. No motorcycle may include such a device.' This stops an artificial "boost" gained from increasing fuel density by cooling it.
At the beginning of the new MotoGP era in 2002, 500 cc two-stroke or 990 cc four-stroke bikes were specified to race. The enormous power advantage of the larger displacement four-stroke engine over the two-stroke meant that by the following season, no two-stroke bikes were racing. In 2007, the maximum engine capacity was reduced to 800 cc without reducing the existing weight restriction. MotoGP-class motorcycles are not restricted to any specific engine configuration. However, the number of cylinders employed in the engine determines the motorcycle's permitted minimum weight; the weight of the extra cylinders acts as a form of handicap. This is necessary because, for a given capacity, an engine with more cylinders is capable of producing more power. If comparable bore to stroke ratios are employed, an engine with more cylinders will have a greater piston area and a shorter stroke. The increased piston area permits an increase in the total valve area, allowing more air and fuel to be drawn into the engine, and the shorter stroke permits higher revs at the same piston speed, allowing the engine to pump still more air and fuel with the potential to produce more power, but with more fuel consumption too. In 2004 motorcycles were entered with three-, four-and five-cylinder configurations. A six-cylinder engine was proposed by Blata, but it did not reach the MotoGP grids. Presently four-cylinder engines appear to offer the best compromise between weight, power, and fuel consumption as all competitors in the 2009 series use this solution in either 'V' or in-line configuration.
In 2002, the FIM became concerned at the advances in design and engineering that resulted in higher speeds around the race track; regulation changes related to weight, amount of available fuel and engine capacity were introduced. The amended rules reduced engine capacity to 800 cc from 990 cc and restricted the amount of available fuel for race distance from 26 litres (5.7 imp gal; 6.9 US gal) in year 2004 to 21 litres (4.6 imp gal; 5.5 US gal) in year 2007 and onwards. In addition, the minimum weight of four-cylinder bikes used by all participating teams was increased by 3 kg (6.6 lb).
The highest speed for a MotoGP motorcycle in 125 cc category is 249.76 km/h (155.19 mph) by Valentino Rossi in 1996 for Aprilia and the top speed in the history of MotoGP is 351 km/h (218 mph), set by Valentino Rossi riding a Ducati Desmosedici during Free Practice 3 at the 2012 Italian motorcycle Grand Prix.
On December 11, 2009, the Grand Prix Commission announced that the MotoGP class would switch to the 1,000 cc motor limit starting in the 2012 season. Maximum displacement will be limited to 1,000 cc, maximum cylinders would be limited to four, and maximum bore would be capped at 81 mm (3.2 inches). Carmelo Ezpeleta, the CEO of Dorna Sports indicated that the projected changes were received by the teams favorably.
From 2012, teams not entered by one of the major manufacturers may seek Claiming Rule Team (CRT) status. CRT is intended to allow independent teams to be competitive at a lower cost and increase the number of entries in MotoGP. CRT teams will benefit from less restrictive rules on the number of engines that may be used in a season, and the fuel allowance during a race will be larger. Under the 'Claiming Rule', CRT teams agree to allow up to four of their engines per season to be claimed, after a race, by one of the major manufacturer teams at a cost of €20,000 each including transmission, or €15,000 each for the engine alone.
Moto2 is the 600 cc four-stroke class, launched in 2010 to replace the traditional 250 cc two-stroke class. Engines are produced by Honda; tyres by Dunlop and electronics will be limited and supplied only by FIM sanctioned producers with max cost set at 650 EUR. Carbon-fibre brakes will be banned and only steel brakes will be allowed. However, there will be no chassis limitations. From 2010 onwards, only 600 cc four-stroke Moto2 machines are allowed.
The 125 cc class was replaced in 2012 by the Moto3 class. This class is restricted to single-cylinder 250 cc four-stroke engines with a maximum bore of 81 mm (3.2 inches). The minimum total weight for motorcycle and rider is 148 kg (326 lb). Riders in the Moto3 class cannot be older than 28 years, or 25 years for new contracted riders participating for the first time and wild-cards.
- Configuration: V-twin, V4, or Inline-four (MotoGP class), Inline-four (Moto2 class), single-cylinder (Moto3 class).
- Displacement: 1,000 cc (MotoGP class), 600 cc (Moto2 class), 250 cc (Moto3 class).
- Engine Cycle: Four-stroke (all classes, from 2012).
- Valves: 16-valve (MotoGP, Moto2), four-valve (Moto3).
- Valvetrain: DOHC, four-valves per cylinder.
- Fuel: Unleaded (no control fuel) 100 Octane.
- Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection.
- Aspiration: Naturally aspirated engine.
- Power Output: 240 bhp (180 kW) (MotoGP class), greater than 140 bhp (100 kW) (Moto2 class), greater than 55 bhp (41 kW) (Moto3 class).
- Lubrication: Wet sump.
- Maximum Revs: 17,500 - 18,000 rpm.
- Max Speed: 217 mph (349 km/h) (MotoGP).
- Cooling: Single water pump.
|2002 Minimum||2007 Minimum||2010 Minimum|
|2||135 kg (298 lb)||137 kg (302 lb)||135 kg (298 lb)|
|3||135 kg (298 lb)||140.5 kg (310 lb)||142.5 kg (314 lb)|
|4||145 kg (320 lb)||148 kg (326 lb)||150 kg (330 lb)|
|5||145 kg (320 lb)||155.5 kg (343 lb)||157.5 kg (347 lb)|
|6||155 kg (342 lb)||163 kg (359 lb)||165 kg (364 lb)|
- In 2005, fuel tank capacity was reduced by 2 litres (0.44 imp gal; 0.53 US gal) to 24 litres (5.3 imp gal; 6.3 US gal)
- In 2006, fuel tank capacity was reduced by a further 2 litres to 22 litres (4.8 imp gal; 5.8 US gal)
- From 2007 onwards and for a minimum period of five years, FIM has regulated in MotoGP class that two-stroke bikes will no longer be allowed. The maximum fuel capacity will be 21 litres (4.6 imp gal; 5.5 US gal).
- From 2007 to 2011 engines will be limited to 800 cc four-strokes.
- In 2012 engine displacement was increased to 1000cc.
- For the 2013 season minimum weight was increased to 160 kg (350 lb)
Tyre selection is critical, usually done by the individual rider based on bike 'feel' during practice, qualifying and the pre-race warm-up laps on the morning of the race, as well as the predicted weather. The typical compromise is between grip and longevity—softer compound tyres have more traction, but wear out more quickly; harder compound tyres have less traction, but are more likely to last the entire race. Conserving rubber throughout a race is a specific talent winning riders acquire. Special 'Q' or qualifying tyres of extreme softness and grip were typically used during grid-qualifying sessions until their use was discontinued at the end of the 2008 season, but they lasted typically no longer than one or two laps, though they could deliver higher qualifying speeds. In wet conditions, special tyres ('wets') with full treads are used, but they suffer extreme wear if the track dries out.
In 2007 new MotoGP regulations limited the number of tyres any rider could use over the practice and qualifying period, and the race itself, to a maximum of 31 tyres (14 fronts and 17 rears) per rider. This introduced a problem of tyre choice vs. weather (among other factors) that challenges riders and teams to optimize their performance on race day. This factor was greeted with varying degrees of enthusiasm by participants. Bridgestone had dominated in 2007 and Michelin riders Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, and Colin Edwards all acknowledged shortcomings in Michelin's race tyres relative to Bridgestone. Rossi, disappointed with and critical of the performance of his Michelin tyres, switched to Bridgestones for 2008 and won the World Championship in dominant fashion. Pedrosa switched to Bridgestones during the 2008 season.
In 2008 the rules were amended to allow more tyres per race weekend—18 fronts and 22 rears for a total of 40 tyres. The lower number of tyres per weekend was considered a handicap to Michelin riders. The only MotoGP team using Dunlop tyres in 2007, Yamaha Tech 3, did not use them in 2008 but switched to Michelin.
For 2009, 2010 and 2011, a 'spec' tyre supplier, Bridgestone, was appointed by the FIM (Michelin no longer supplying any tyres to MotoGP). For the whole season Bridgestone provided four different specifications of front tyre, six of rear, and a single wet specification—no qualifying specification. For each round Bridgestone provided only two specifications for front and rear. Tyres will be assigned to riders randomly to assure impartiality. Jorge Lorenzo has publicly supported the mono tyre rule.
|This article may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, controversies or matters relative to the article subject as a whole. (November 2011)|
- Fastest, a documentary film about MotoGP, was released in 2011 and is now available on DVD.
- Faster, a documentary film about MotoGP, was released in 2003 and is now available on DVD.
- The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid, a documentary on the 2005 United States motorcycle Grand Prix
- GP-1 (Atlus)
- GP-1: Part II (Atlus)
- GP500 (MicroProse)
- 500cc Grand Prix (Microïds)
- MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology series (THQ/Climax)
- MotoGP (Xbox) (THQ)
- MotoGP 2 (THQ)
- MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology (THQ)
- MotoGP '06 (THQ)
- MotoGP '07 (THQ)
- MotoGP '07 (PS2) (Capcom)
- MotoGP '08 (Capcom/Milestone)
- MotoGP 09/10 (Capcom/Monumental)
- MotoGP 10/11 (Capcom/Monumental)
- MotoGP 13 (Milestone)
- MotoGP (PS2) (Namco)
- MotoGP 2 (PS2) (Namco)
- MotoGP 3 (PS2) (Namco)
- MotoGP 4 (Namco)
- MotoGP (Namco)
- Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling
- MotoGP.lap.hu Hungarian MotoGP link collection
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