Culture – The World Motorcycle Grand Prix Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary –


The Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary

Culture - The World Motorcycle Grand Prix Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary -

While Le Journal moto du Net is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019, the Grand Prix World Championship is putting the gas to its 70th birthday this week! A look back at the beginnings and evolutions of the most famous and important motorcycle competition.

On June 17, 1949, Harold Daniell made history by becoming the very first winner of a motorcycle Grand Prix in the premier class on his Norton 500 cc: the Briton won in 3:02:18 after completing seven laps on the Isle of Man road "circuit", today the theater of .

  • MNC special file :
  • MotoGP 2019 season :
  • MNC of June 11, 2019 :

His victory, as well as those of Freddie Frith in 350 cc (Vélocette) and Manliefe Barrington in 250 cc (Moto Guzzi) are the starting point of the world championship of the Grand Prix, which enters this weekend in its seventh decade to the ‘occasion of .

The Grands Prix, often referred to as "MotoGP" under the impetus of its promoter Dorna, have radically changed during these 70 years, in terms of diversity, safety and performance. For example, the first season had only six events, all contested in Europe, on roads closed to traffic – with the exception of the permanent circuit of Monza !

The vast majority of riders and motorcycles were of British origin (AJS, Excelsior, Norton, Triumph …), while the risk-taking was immense given the material capacities of the time: the English rider Ben Drinkwater, entered in 350 cc, will lose his life in the fourth lap following a fall in Snaefell Mountain…

70 years later, the championship revolves around 19 races (22 scheduled for 2022-2025), crosses 15 countries and identifies 19 nationalities among its hundred or so Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP riders. Almost all manufacturers are represented: Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha in MotoGP, MV Agusta (chassis in Moto2) and Triumph (engine in Moto2), not to mention craftsmen like Kalex and Speed ​​Up. 

More trials and security

Thanks to advances in electronics and materials, safety has evolved considerably, to the point of imposing a via the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM). Self-triggering airbags are now worn under generously reinforced kevlar and titanium suits, while boots and gloves follow the same trend..

Enough to allow the pilots to recover unscathed after a fall to more than 300 km / h, as when Marc Marquez was at the end of the Mugello straight in 2013 … Unimaginable at the time when the helmet set bolted, aviator goggles and fragile two-piece leather provided the pilots’ only protection !

  • MNC of January 30, 2019 : The first FIM homologated motorcycle racing helmet is the Shark Race-R Pro GP 

In the meantime, the "airfence" (inflatable protections) have also advantageously replaced the straw bales at the edge of the track, while the gravel or asphalted clearances now reduce the risk of impact. With certainly the consequence of removing the public from the heart of the action, but in the name of the safety of the pilots.

 Culture - The World Motorcycle Grand Prix Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary -

However, these advances cannot reduce the risks to zero. We especially remember the during the disastrous. There is no such thing as "zero" risk in motorsports, even if we approach it more in 2019 than in 1949.

Another notable development: the number of categories and their engines. The Grands Prix have long vibrated to the rhythm of two-stroke engines available in 50 cc, 125 cc, 250 cc, 350 cc and 500 cc. Today, four-stroke cycle engines have become the yardstick in the three classes, after an ephemeral "2-stroke / 4-stroke" cohabitation in the early 2000s in the premier class.

Live races on TV, PC or phone

Finally, the last aspect which has evolved considerably in 70 years: media coverage. Consider that the results and images of the first races were sent by telegraph and post, which means that enthusiasts often discovered the progress of several races at the same time in the newspapers of the time !

 Culture - The World Motorcycle Grand Prix Championship celebrates its 70th anniversary -

Thanks to the Internet – and especially to! -, each session is now covered in real time, including for races held on the other side of the Atlantic (GP of Argentina and the Americas), in the Middle East (GP of Qatar) and during the tour of the Pacific (Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand).

  • MNC of March 26, 2019 :
  • MotoE World Championship :

Next major challenge: the obligatory passage – really? – the electrification of Grand Prix prototypes: the first Energica MotoE electric motorcycle races, initially scheduled for the start of the season following a fire. To follow of course on the Motorcycle Journal of the Net: stay connected !

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