All You need to Know about MotoGP - A Beginner's Guide

Modified On Oct 29, 2018 By Sameer Sheikh

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MotoGP is a premiere motorcycle world championship established by FIM (Federation Internationale De Motorcyclisme) in 1949. With the series of eighteen races that runs in fourteen countries and four continents, it has a pan-global television coverage. The competition features most skilled riders from ten nations with cutting-edge technology and prototype machinery designed by 5 manufacturers; Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Ducati and Aprilia.

Earlier labelled to “500cc” category only, in 2002, this oldest motorcycle championship underwent a change and increased the engine capacity to 990cc. Again in 2007, the rules were altered, limiting the engine capacity to 800cc, which was again changed to 1000cc in 2012. MotoGP Championship has been administered by commercial rights owners Dorna Sports under the supervision of FIM since 1992.  

MotoGP has a rich history and its events have been taking place in every corner of the world. Italy, Spain, Britain, USA and Australia are some of the countries having more number of races. Besides, this premier class world championship has two more categories, Moto2 and Moto3.


Moto2 was brought in 2012 to replace 250cc category. In a Moto2 race, Honda is the only engine provider while Dunlop supplies the tyres. These motorcycles are powered by a 600cc 4-stroke engine that delivers 140bhp of power, and the chassis of the bike is free within the constraints of the FIM Grand Prix Technical Regulations. The minimum age to compete in Moto2 is 16 years.


Moto3 involves 250cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder class racing, which replaced the 125cc category in 2012. The maximum age limit to participate is 28, but for wild-card riders or the ones newly contracted and competing for the first time is 25 and the minimum age to ride for Moto3 is 16.

The Qualifying Criteria in a MotoGP is explained below as per the official MotoGP website:

As in previous years, there will be three 45-minutes free practice session, which on regular race weekend will be held Friday morning and afternoon, as well as Saturday morning. The times set in those sessions will count towards qualifying, with combined results determining whether a rider will participate in Q1 or Q2.

Q1. will consist of the riders whose times are 11th place and below, and will be a 15-minute Q2 session. During this time, riders will have the incentive to qualify for

Q2. which the two fastest of the session will be able to contest. This will result in 12 riders contesting the final 15-minute Q2 Session, to determine the starting order at the front. The riders not in the fastest two places in QP1 (Qualifying Practice 1) will take grid positions 13 and above according to their placement in QP1.

To accommodate for any unforeseen changes or necessary adjustments, there will be 30 minutes Free Practice 4, which will be held before the two qualifying sessions. This will not be timed, not count towards, which Qualifying a rider will take part in.

1.  The three exciting sessions of free practice will be unchanged, however, the combined times from these sessions will determine participation in the final qualifying practice.

2.  The ten fastest riders will be seeded through to Qualifying Practice 2.

3.  All the other riders will not take part in Qualifying Practice 1.

4.  The fastest two riders in QP1 will progress to QP2, making a total of 12 riders competing for the first 12 grid positions.

5.  The riders not in the fastest two places in QP1 will take grid positions 13 and above according to their names in QP1.

After warm-up sessions for each category on race-day, traditionally the smallest category, in this case, Moto3, takes to the track first, with Moto2 class following and then finally the MotoGP event. This can be subject to change. Races vary in length between 95-130km and normally last between 40-45 minutes, confirming to a set number of laps, which differs at each track. Pit-stops are rare but permitted and are especially applicable in changeable weather conditions when riders can enter the pit-lane and switch machines to one fitted with different spec tyres (Only MotoGP).

Who becomes the champion

The championship is awarded to the most successful rider of the season, which is determined on the basis of points he earns in Grand Prix results.

For each race, Championship points will be awarded on the following scale:

1st place 25 points
2nd place 20 points
3rd place 16 points
4th place 13 points
5th place 11 points
6th place 10 points
7th place 9 points
8th place 8 points
9th place 7 points
10th place 6 points
11th place 5 points
12th place 4 points
13th place 3 points
14th place 2 points
15th place 1 points

Best of Champions Till Date

Till date, Giacomo Agostini is the most successful rider of all time, having 15 titles under his belt. Out of 15, 8 titles are in the 500cc category and the rest are in 350cc. Talking about the percentage, Mike Hailwood has registered 83 percent wins, winning 10 races out of 12 in the 250cc class. Presently, Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider having nine titles in his name, including Six MotoGP titles and one each in 500cc, 250cc and 125cc race. The current MotoGP champion is Jorge Lorenzo.

MotoGP Engine Specifications

Manufacturer Various
Displacement 1000cc
Configuration 75.5-90 Degree
Combustion Four Stroke
Valve-train DOHC, four valve per cylinder
Fuel Unleaded 100 Octane
Fuel Delivery Fuel Injection
Aspiration Natural Aspiration
Power 240Bhp
Lubrication Wet Sump
Rev Limit 17,500-18,000 rpm
Speed 350 kmph
Cooling Single

Tyre Selection

When it comes to MotoGP racing, tyre selection is quite critical which is done by the rider, based on the feel during the practice session, qualifying race and pre-race warm-up laps as well as the predicted weather. The rider had to make a calculative choice between grip and longevity, the softer compound tyres have more traction, but wear out quickly, whereas the harder compound tyres have less traction, but most likely to last till the race ends. Conserving the tyres till the end requires a specific talent of the rider.

Source: MotoGP

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