The inaugural season of Moto GP could’ve been before 1949, however the Second World War had severely crippled the world’s fuel supply. Before the inaugural season, motorcycle Grand Prix were held in many countries. After the end of the Second World War in 1945, it took the predecessor of FIM four additional years to organize the first formal World Championship. Currently in its sixty seventh year, the Moto GP is considered to be one of the most viewed sporting events in the world. With viewership close to 300 million, Moto GP is expected to take the mantle as the most watched motorcycle racing event in the world. If you’re a fan, then you can get Moto GP tickets from here.
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Since its beginning, this championship has gone through many changes. It has seen many champions and witnessed exciting races.
Start Your Engines!
The history of Moto GP can be traced back to 1938 to a European Championship organized by the FICM. It was only after the end of the Second World War, an international championship was organized. Comprising of four solo classes, the first championship was dominated by the English and the Italian riders. The premier 500 title was won by Leslie Graham of England and the 350cc title by Freddie Frith. Bruno Ruffo and Nello Pagani from Italy won the 250cc and 125cc classes respectively. In fact till 1952, the English and Italians dominated the championship in all four classes. It wasn’t until 1953 when Werner Haas from West Germany took home the 250cc and 125cc titles and opened the competition wide open.
Moto GP Goes Global
In the first few years of the championship, the fans saw many changes in the format of the competition. For instance, in 1951 only two years later, side cars were reduced in engine capacity bringing down the horsepower from 600cc to 500cc. In 1957 Scottish motorcycle racer Bob McIntyre won the longest ever Grand Prix race (301.84 miles). This was 8 laps of the Isle of Man. The year 1961 marked the first time the championship was held outside Europe in Argentina. 1963 and 1964 saw the championship travel further to Japan and the United States. The early sixties was essentially the period when the championship got its international exposure. This period consequently launched a truly global fan base for Moto GP.
Not as easy as it looks
Motorcycle racing is one of the toughest competitive sports. With speeds reaching up to 361km/h (224mph), there is always a possibility of things going wrong. May 20, 1973, was a tragic day for Moto GP. At the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy, the motorcycle racing world lost two talented riders Jarno Saarinen and Renzo Pasolini. Fourteen other riders were seriously injured in the resulting pile up. Since the deaths, Moto GP has taken precautionary steps to avoid further accidents and tragedies. In addition to the element of danger, there are a couple of other facts that make Moto GP a spectacle not to be missed. One for instance is that Moto GP riders average 100mph during races. A 250 horsepower bike does 0-60mph in 2.6 seconds. That’s some serious acceleration. The 500 horsepower do even better.
It’s real Riding
All Moto GP riders are required to wear safety suits to protect against falls and accidents. However, these suits can get hot due to exertion and weather. In warm climates such as Malaysia and Japan, riders can lose up to two liters of sweat in 45 minutes. And the bikes themselves are not easy to handle. These bikes can weigh up to 160 kilos (25 stones). For riders to stay on top, they need to work on their shoulders, arms and core to develop enough strength to handle these machines. Balancing these heavy machines at high speeds around corners takes hundreds of hours of practice. On corners, the riders lean at a 55 degree angle and at that point the contact patch of the tire is not more than a size of a quarter. To maintain balance at such speeds requires a lot of practice and talent. And for them to stay safe, Moto GP riders wear a lot of safety armor. It starts with protecting the knuckles and forearms to keeping the skeleton safe with built in body suit air bags.
Moto GP is currently under way with some of the biggest stars participating. For anyone who likes thrill of speed and the talent of these athletes, they should not miss out on Moto GP this year. Moto GP tickets are available here.