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Two decades at Donington Park

Two decades at Donington Park

This weekend's Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix will be the 21st consecutive staging of the British round of the World Championship at England's Donington Park circuit.

This weekend's Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix will be the 21st consecutive staging of the British round of the World Championship at England's Donington Park circuit.

The eighth round of the 2007 MotoGP season promises to be another spectacular show in what has already been a superb championship and the event has a particularly rich heritage.

Britain is one of only three countries, along with Italy and The Netherlands, that has hosted a Grand Prix event in each of the 58 years since the World Championship originated in 1949.

Initially, the British round of the championship were part of the Isle of Man TT races, before the event switched to Silverstone in 1977 for a ten-year period.

Grand Prix racing arrived at Donington in 1987 and since then the Leicestershire circuit has seen numerous dramatic battles. Here, guides you through some Donington highlights:

1987 – The winner of the main event in the first year was Eddie Lawson, on a Yamaha, ahead of his great rival Wayne Gardner. Toni Mang won the 250cc race on his way to the last of his five world titles, while the two smaller classes were won by current team owners; Fausto Gresini won the 125cc race and Jorge Martinez won the 80cc race in front of British rider Ian McConnachie.

1988 – Wayne Rainey led the 500cc race from start to finish, scoring his first Grand Prix victory - which was also a technological milestone as the first Grand Prix won by a rider using carbon disc front brakes.

1989 – Kevin Schwantz gave Suzuki their first victory at Donington after the home crowd was given plenty to cheer about early in the race when Niall Mackenzie briefly led, before eventually finishing fourth.

1990 – Schwantz repeated his 500cc victory of the year before. History was made in the 125cc class with Loris Capirossi taking his first win to become the youngest ever Grand Prix winner.

1991 –Schwantz won for the third successive year. There was excitement down the field for the British crowd with Ron Haslam finishing in 12th place on the rotary Norton – the last ever points scored by the famous manufacturer which had won the first ever 500cc World Championship race in 1949.

1992 – Having announced prior to the race that he would retire at the end of the season, Gardner scored an emotional final Grand Prix win to give Honda their first ever premier-class victory at the Donington Park circuit. There was controversy during the race as several riders fell at Redgate corner - including Schwantz, who then seized the oil flag from a marshal and waved it to warn other riders.

1993 – Luca Cadalora took a surprise debut 500cc victory in front of team-mate Rainey, after a big crash on the first lap had eliminated Schwantz, Mick Doohan and Alex Barros. Niall Mackenzie passed Carl Fogarty at the final corner to finish in third place on an ROC Yamaha - becoming the first British rider to stand on a 500cc podium at Donington.

1994 – The fourth and final win at Donington for both Schwantz and Suzuki. It was also the last of Schwantz's 25 Grand Prix victories.

1995 – Doohan riding a Honda started his three year domination of the British Grand Prix with a clear victory over fellow Australian Daryl Beattie on a Suzuki.

1996 – Another clear victory for Doohan, this time followed home by his team-mate and closest challenger for the title, Alex Criville.

1997 – Doohan won for the third successive year by a slender margin from team-mate Tady Okada. Barros makes history by becoming the only rider to have a podium finish on a privateer V-twin Honda. Valentino Rossi won the 125cc race on the way to taking the world title.

1998 – Simon Crafar dominated the 500cc class to take the only win of his Grand Prix career by an 11 second margin, after qualifying on pole and setting a new lap record during the race. This was also the last time that a rider using Dunlop tyres won a premier-class Grand Prix.

1999 – Criville won the 500cc race from team-mate Okada. Tetsuya Harada scored a rare podium finish on the V-twin Aprilia. Rossi won the 250cc race ahead of current MotoGP rivals Capirossi and Shinya Nakano.

2000 – At a wet and cold Donington Park Rossi scored his first ever premier-class victory. Jeremy McWilliams battled with The Doctor throughout, before finally finishing third; the last time that a British rider has finished on the podium at the British Grand Prix. Ralf Waldmann won the 250cc race after being 90 seconds behind the leader Olivier Jacque with 13 laps of the race to go, but had the more suitable tyres when it began raining heavily.

2001 – After qualifying down in 11th place on the grid, Rossi repeated his win of the previous year, this time in front of his great rival Max Biaggi.

2002 – A repeat of the previous year with Rossi on his Honda beating Biaggi riding a Yamaha.

2003 – A controversial race with Rossi crossing the line first and being awarded the winners trophy before subsequently being given a ten second penalty for passing while yellow flags were displayed. This gave the win to Biaggi with Rossi dropping to third place.

2004 –Rossi took his fourth premier-class victory at Donington – this time riding a Yamaha.

2005 –Rossi once again took the race win in atrocious wet conditions that resulted in many riders crashing and just eleven riders completing the race.

2006 – Dani Pedrosa dominated the event by winning the race from pole position and setting a new lap record. Rossi provided the main race entertainment by riding through the field to finish second after qualifying down in 12th place on the grid.


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