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History of Moto GP

Posted by Mike Rosenfeld on

The first annual and oldest of all motorsports World Championship competitions was help in 1949 and is known as MotoGP. When the first MotoGP was held it was made up of four solo classes with the inaugural Premier Class 500cc title. Some of the first title holders included; a British rider names Leslie Graham on an AJS bike. Freddie Frith was another British rider who took the first ever 350cc World title. The first 250cc and 125cc World Champions were Italians Bruno Ruffo on a Moto Guzzi and Nello Pagani on a Mondial, respectively. That same season there was 600cc sidecar championship that was won by the British Eric Oliver and Denis Jenkinson, riding a Norton. In 1951 the sidecar category became a 500cc competition.

The 1950s were dominated by Italian manufacturers such as;  Mondial, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and MV Agusta. This was a direct reflection of the county’s motorcycle industry during the time period. In the late 50’s MV Agusta dominated all four MotoGP catagories for three seasons. They went on to dominate the 500cc class from 1958 - 1974.

The boom of the Japanese motorcycle industry in the 1960s brought many new contenders to MotoGp. Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha earned their first World Championship titles in the 125, 250 and 500 categories. In 1962 Suzuki proved to be a great success in the new 50cc class.

The legendary Giacomo Agostini brought on the glory days of MotoGP. He was the most successful rider in the history of World Championship competitions. Riding for MV Agusta he took 10 of his 15 titles in five successive seasons as a double champion in the 350cc and 500cc which commenced in 1968.

With the rising costs of the Grand Prix several Japanese companies withdrew from the competition. Yamaha was the only remaining Japanese manufacturer at the end of the 60s. This cause a new set of rules to be introduced. These rules limited the bikes to single cylinder engines in the 50cc class, two cylinders in 125cc and 250cc, and four cylinders in 350cc and 500cc. Once the playing field was leveled with the new rules there were a diverse group of winners from Europe, Japan and North America.

Honda rejoined the race  in the 1970s after nearly 12 years off. They won their first championship since their return and took the 500cc title with Freddie Spencer on a NS500.

The 1980s and 1990s brought quality racing with big competition between Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha.  There was also big competition between American riders Eddie Lawson, randy Mamola, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. Aprillia, Garelli and Derbi European motos were head to head the Japanese giants.

The Sidecar World Cup evolved in 1997 when it left MotoGP the previous year.

The 500cc class was totally dominated by Honda with the legendary Mick  Doohan. Doohan took five consecutive titles. A series racing injuries ended his career early in 1999.

The last ever 500cc title was taken by an Italian rider name Valentino Rossi in 2001 on a Honda. After this the regulations were revised and the 990ss 4-stroke competition was moved to the premier class.

In 2002 Rossi went on to win four further titles, two with Honda and two with Yamaha.

In the latest season's European Riders have dominated the lower cylinder categories on Aprillia and Honda bikes. Dano Perdoas won three consecutive titles; one in 125 in 2003 and two in 250 in 2003. Rossi lost the title to American rider Nicky Hayden in 2006.

New rules were in introduced in 2007 that restricted tyres and engine size. Casey Stoner on a Ducati was the first standout rider as the 2007 champion. Rossi took back the title in 2008.

The single tire rule was introduced in 2009 and Bridgestone became the sole suppliers for MotoGP. Rossi gained his seventh title. In 2010 Jorge Lorenzo was World Champion defeating Rossi. Casey Stoner took the title on a Honda in 2011

Jorge Lorenzo took the title on a Yamaha in 2012 and Honda Marc Marquez took the title in 2013 and 2014.

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