Whilst many people first associate Silverstone with Formula 1, the circuit is also used for motorcycle racing including the premier class, MotoGP. Silverstone’s first motorcycle race was held here in 1949. The British round of the World Championship came to Silverstone in 1977, after the famous Isle of Man TT course was deemed too dangerous to continue using.
Each MotoGP season focuses on a number of Grands Prix held across the world, from Europe to Asia, America, Australia and the Middle East. The Rider’s World Championship has been held since 1949 and is awarded to the most successful rider over a season. Many of these premier class champions are repeat winners, such as Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Mick Doohan.
Over a period of 17 years, Giacomo Agostini achieved an impressive 15 World Championship titles and 122 Grand Prix wins. Of these wins, 8 World Championships were amassed in the 500cc class (the forerunner to MotoGP). Giacomo (nicknamed Ago) dominated motorcycle racing for two decades, with two different manufacturers. Although he retired from racing in 1977, Giacomo remains to this day the most successful motorcycle champion in Grand Prix history. In 2010 Agostini was named a Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) Legend for his achievements.
Valentino Rossi is considered to be the most successful champion of the modern era, with 9 World titles to his name, 7 of them in the premier class. His last championship win came in 2009, Rossi has accrued 89 race wins and 199 podium finishes so far within his career, and continues to race in 2021 season. Rossi is widely regarded as one of the greatest champions of all time and is a huge fan favourite, and is one our Silverstone Interactive Museum Legends.
Marc Marquez has amassed 8 World Championship titles, with 6 of these titles being in Moto GP. Marquez became the first rider since 1978 to achieve the premier class title in his first season, and the youngest ever to win the title at the age of 20. With Marquez’ wins ranging from 2013-2019, at the age of 28, there is still potential for at least another MotoGP champion title. Marc Marquez could surpass Rossi’s titles, or even achieve the same success as Agostini.
Mick Doohan won 5 consecutive premier class World Championships between the years 1994-1998. Doohan’s achievement is second only to Agostini (who won 7 consecutive titles). In 1996 Doohan was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to motorsport.
Visit the Silverstone Interactive Museum to find out more about the Silverstone circuit and motorsport history.
Published on 04 August 2021
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