Motorcycle world championship

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Giacomo Agostini , world motorcycle champion with 15 titles.

The motorcycle world championship generally refers to the world championship for road motorcycles first announced by the world association FIM in 1949 . World championship titles are awarded in several classes, which are defined by displacement, number of cylinders, mode of operation and weight.

There are also world championships for motocross , enduro and speedway .


For many years races were held in the displacement classes 50 cm³ or 80 cm³, 125 cm³, 250 cm³, 350 cm³ and 500 cm³ for the solo machines and 500 cm³ for the sidecar . In the 1950s, English and Italian brands with four-stroke engines dominated . The southern German brand NSU was also able to achieve world championship titles. From 1957 to 1973 MZ was the leading German brand in international motorcycle racing with two-stroke machines in the 125 cm³, 250 cm³, and 350 cm³ displacement classes. However, the MZ racing team was excluded from participation in world championship races in NATO countries due to the Federal Republic of Germany's claim to sole representation in the 1960s for political reasons. That is why it was not possible for even the best drivers to reach a brand world championship on MZ.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the two-stroke machines, mostly of Japanese origin, also replaced the four-stroke machines from Europe that had dominated until then, even in the premier class up to 500 cm³. In 1974 Giacomo Agostini switched from the Italian brand MV Agusta to Yamaha after 13 consecutive world championship titles in the 350 and 500 cc series, winning the first 500 world championship title for the two-stroke machines, which completely replaced the four-stroke machines in the following decades. Nevertheless, the 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini came in 1976 when still a victory on the four-stroke MV Agusta, on the challenging drive Nordschleife of the Nürburgring .

From 1949 to 1976, the Tourist Trophy , on the Isle of Man , was part of the Motorcycle Road World Championship. The course was u. a. Removed from the program after Giacomo Agostini decided never to ride the dangerous route again. He did that because Gilberto Parlotti had a fatal accident in the race of the class up to 125 cm³ in the 1972 World Cup season, while he was in the lead. Between 1977 and 1989, the Formula TT was held in three cubic capacity classes as the official world championship under the umbrella of the FIM in order to compensate for the withdrawal of the World Cup status of the Tourist Trophy and at the same time to make races with near-series machines more popular.

In 1984 the 50 "shot glass" class was replaced by the 80 cm³ class; the 350 class was deleted without replacement from 1983 . This means that the German Toni Mang from Inning am Ammersee , who also won several 250 titles, remains the eternal world champion in this class. The classic start with pushing the motorcycles was replaced at the end of the 1980s by a standing start with the engines running.

In 1990 the 80s and 1997 also the sidecar racing machines were removed from the world championship program, so that until 2001 the world championship was only held in the displacement classes 125 cm³, 250 cm³ and 500 cm³. The manufacturers were increasingly bothered by the fact that they had to further develop the two-stroke engines, which were no longer up-to-date for environmental reasons, for the world championship races in order to remain competitive, while large motorcycles for the road had long been exclusively equipped with four-stroke engines. An attempt by Hondas to establish a competitive four-stroke engine with the NR500 at the end of the 1970s failed.

MotoGP class logo

Since 1988 the Superbike World Championship had been established in parallel , where production-based motorcycles were driven almost as fast as the even more powerful and lighter 500cc Grand Prix machines. For the 2002 season , pressure from Japanese manufacturers, especially Honda , replaced the 500cc class with MotoGP . A new set of rules allowed or required four-stroke engines with a maximum of 990 cm³. This regulation was adjusted again from the 2007 season and the maximum permissible displacement was limited to 800 cm³. Similar to Formula 1 , these MotoGP machines have to be prototypes specially developed for races , which are not derived from series machines because they are different from the superbikes. The Italian Valentino Rossi dominated the first four years of MotoGP .

From the 2010 season , the 250 cc class, in which two- and four-stroke engines up to 250 cc were permitted, was replaced by the Moto2 class, in which four-stroke machines with initially a maximum of 600 and from 2019 a maximum of 765 cc. For the 2012 season , the Moto3 class with its 250 cc four-stroke engines replaced the 125 cc class. In addition, the maximum permissible displacement of the MotoGP class has been increased to 1000 cm³.


The world champion will be the driver or manufacturer who has accumulated the most points in the world championship by the end of the season. When distributing points, the placements are taken into account in the overall result of the respective race. The top fifteen drivers in each race receive points according to the following scheme:

Distribution of points
space 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 10 11 12 13 14th 15th
Points 25th 20th 16 13 11 10 9 8th 7th 6th 5 4th 3 2 1

All the results achieved were included in the evaluation.

The complete regulations of the Motorcycle World Championship are available on the FIM website.


Most successful drivers

Most successful manufacturers (solo Grand Prix victories)

(Status: French Grand Prix 2017)

Manufacturer Grand Prix victories MotoGP 500 cc 350 cc Moto3 250 cc 125 cc 80 cc 50 cc
1. JapanJapan Honda 730 125 156 35 30th 207 164 13
2. JapanJapan Yamaha 500 105 120 63 165 47
3. ItalyItaly Aprilia 294 143 151
4th ItalyItaly MV Agusta 275 139 76 26th 34
5. JapanJapan Suzuki 156 2 89 35 30th
6th SpainSpain Derbi 107 1 64 25th 17th
7th JapanJapan Kawasaki 85 2 28 45 10
8th. GermanyGermany Kreidler 71 71
9. ItalyItaly Gilera 59 35 4th 12 8th
10. ItalyItaly Garelli 51 44 7th


  • To this day, John Surtees is the only driver who has won the world championship title in the classes up to 350 cm³, up to 500 cm³ in the motorcycle world championship and in Formula 1 ( 1964 ). Only three other motorcycle world champions drove in Formula 1: Nello Pagani , Mike Hailwood and Johnny Cecotto .
  • Valentino Rossi is the only motorcycle racer who has won world titles in four different classes (125 cm³, 250 cm³, 500 cm³ and MotoGP)
  • Loris Capirossi is the second motorcycle racer to win the world title in his first season, 1990 . Before him, Johnny Cecotto won the 350cc class title in 1975.
  • Emilio Alzamora is the first motorcycle racer to win the world title in the 125 cc class without winning a single race in the relevant season ( 1999 ). Manuel Herreros achieved the last 80 cm³ title in 1989, also without Grand Prix victories. George O'Dell was sidecar world champion in 1977, but he never won a Grand Prix.
  • Rupert Hollaus is the only posthumous world champion so far . In 1954 he had a fatal accident on NSU as the established world champion of the 125 cc class during training for the Nations' Grand Prix in Monza .
  • Luigi Taveri is the only motorcycle racing driver who was able to achieve points in all classes of his active racing career (50 cm³, 125 cm³, 250 cm³, 350 cm³, 500 cm³ and sidecar).
  • In 1985 , Freddie Spencer was the only driver so far to win the world championship title in the 250 cc class and the 500 cc class in one year.
  • The MotoGP class race at the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez was the 3,000th round in the history of the world championship.

Women in GP sports

  • Inge Stoll (Germany) is the first woman to score points in GP sport. From 1952 to 1957 she took part in the sidecar races of the motorcycle world championship as a passenger in a Norton team. It achieved the following places: 1952: 5; 1953: 3; 1954: 7; 1955: 4; 1956: 11; 1957: 9; on August 24, 1958, she had a fatal accident in a race in Brno.
  • Gina Bovaird is the only female motorcycle racer to start in the 500 cc class. This was at the French Grand Prix in 1982.
  • Katja Poensgen (Germany) is the only female motorcycle racer to score points in the 250 cm³ class. She started in the 2001 and 2003 seasons and finished fourteenth at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix in Mugello .
  • Taru Rinne (Finland) collected a total of 25 points in the 125 cm³ class (1988 and 1989). She was second fastest in training for the 1989 German Grand Prix.
  • Tomoko Igata (Japan) collected a total of 30 points in the 125 cm³ class (1994 and 1995).

Tracks on which World Championship races take place / took place

country route city Period
ArgentinaArgentina Argentina Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez Buenos Aires 1961–1963, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo Termas de Río Hondo since 2014
AustraliaAustralia Australia Eastern Creek Raceway Sydney 1991-1996
Phillip Island Circuit Phillip Island 1989, 1990, since 1997
BelgiumBelgium Belgium Circuit Zolder Zolder 1980
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps spa 1949-1990
BrazilBrazil Brazil Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna Goiânia 1987-1989
Autódromo José Carlos Pace São Paulo 1992
Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet Rio de Janeiro 1995-1997, 1999-2004
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China Shanghai International Circuit Shanghai 2005-2008
GermanyGermany Germany Hockenheimring Hockenheim 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975,
1977, 1979, 1981–1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991–1994
Nürburgring ( Nordschleife ) Nürburg 1955, 1958, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980
Nürburgring ( Südschleife ) Nürburg 1965, 1968
Nürburgring (Grand Prix course) Nürburg 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995-1997
Schottenring Bulkheads 1953
Solitude Stuttgart solitude 1952, 1954, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1964
Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR GDR / Germany
Sachsenring Hohenstein-Ernstthal 1961–1972, since 1998
FinlandFinland Finland Imatra Imatra 1964-1982
Pyynikki Tampere 1962, 1963
FranceFrance France Circuit des Planques Albi 1951
Circuit de Charade Clermont-Ferrand 1959-1967, 1972, 1974
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours Magny-Cours 1992
Circuit de Reims-Gueux Reims 1954, 1955
Circuit Paul Armagnac Nogaro 1978, 1982
Circuit Paul Ricard Le Castellet 1973, 1975, 1977, 1980-1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1996-1999
Circuit Bugatti Le Mans 1969–1970, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989–1990, 1994–1995, since 2000
Rouen-les-Essarts Rouen 1953, 1954, 1965
United KingdomUnited Kingdom Great Britain Donington Park Circuit Castle Donington 1987-2009
Silverstone Circuit Silverstone 1977–1986, since 2010
QatarQatar Qatar Losail International Circuit Doha since 2004
IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Sentul International Circuit Citeureup 1996-1997
Isle of ManIsle of Man Isle of Man Snaefell Mountain Course Douglas 1949-1976
Clypse Course 1954-1959
ItalyItaly Italy Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola 1969, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1996–1999
Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello Mugello 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, since 1991
Autodromo Nazionale Monza Monza 1949–1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1983, 1986, 1987
Autodromo di Santamonica / Misano World Circuit / Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli Misano Adriatico 1980, 1982, 1984–1987, 1989–1991, 1993, since 2007
JapanJapan Japan Fuji Speedway Oyama 1966, 1967
Suzuka International Racing Course Suzuka 1963-1965, 1987-1998, 2000-2003
Twin Ring Motegi Motegi since 1999
Yugoslavia Socialist Federal RepublicYugoslavia Yugoslavia Preluk Opatija 1969, 1970, 1972-1977
Automotodrom Grobnik Rijeka 1978-1990
CanadaCanada Canada Mosport International Raceway Bowmanville 1967
MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Shah Alam Circuit Shah Alam 1991-1997
Johor Circuit Pasir Gudang 1998
Sepang International Circuit Sepang since 1999
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands TT Circuit Assen Aces since 1949
Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland Northern Ireland Clady Circuit Clady 1949-1952
Dundrod Circuit Dundrod 1952-1971
AustriaAustria Austria A1-Ring / Red Bull Ring Spielberg 1996, 1997, since 2016
Salzburgring Salzburg 1971-1979, 1981-1991, 1993, 1994
PortugalPortugal Portugal Circuito do Estoril Estoril 2000-2012
SwedenSweden Sweden Hedemora TT Circuit Hedemora 1958
Karlskoga Motor Stadium Karlskoga 1978, 1979
Råbelövsbanan Kristianstad 1959, 1961
Scandinavian Raceway Anderstorp 1971-1977, 1981-1990
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland Bremgarten Bern 1949, 1951-1954
Circuit des Nations Geneva 1950
SpainSpain Spain Circuit de Catalunya / Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Barcelona since 1991
Circuit Ricardo Tormo Valencia since 1999
Circuito de Jerez Jerez de la Frontera since 1987
Circuito del Jarama San Sebastian de los Reyes 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977–1988, 1991, 1993, 1998
Circuit de Montjuïc Barcelona 1950–1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976
Motorland Aragón Alcañiz since 2010
South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit Johannesburg 1983-1985, 1992
Phakisa Freeway Welkom 1999-2004
Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic Brno Automotodrome Brno Since 1993
CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Masaryk ring Brno 1965-1982
Brno Automotodrome Brno 1987-1991
TurkeyTurkey Turkey Istanbul Park Circuit Istanbul 2005-2007
HungaryHungary Hungary Hungaroring Budapest 1990, 1992
United StatesUnited States United States Circuit of The Americas Austin from 2013
Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach 1964, 1965
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway since 2008
Laguna Seca Raceway Monterey 1988-1991, 1993, 1994, 2005-2013
Venezuela 1954Venezuela Venezuela San Carlos San Carlos 1977-1979


See also

Web links

Commons : Motorcycle World Championship  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Regulations of the Motorcycle World Championship ( Memento from January 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 524 kB)
  2. Jerez celebrates the 3000th Grand Prix race. In: May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017 .