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A history of racing at the Spanish Grand Prix

A history of racing at the Spanish Grand Prix

This year will see the 53rd staging of the Spanish Grand Prix, which was first held back in 1951, the third year of the World Championship racing.

This year will see the 53rd staging of the Spanish Grand Prix, which was first held back in 1951, the third year of the World Championship racing.

Below are some milestone events from the 51 Spanish GPs held between 1951 and 2006, while the attached video contains highlights from the 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2005 Jerez races. A detailed look back at the 2007 GP, meanwhile, will be published later this week on

1951 – The first Spanish Grand Prix was held at the Montjuich circuit in Barcelona. The 6.033km parkland circuit was the slowest on the Grand Prix calendar. Three classes were held at this maiden event with the following winners: 125cc - Guido Leoni (Mondial), 350cc - Tommy Wood (Velocette), 500cc - Umberto Masetti (Gilera). The 500cc race was held over 34 laps and took a total of 2hrs 10mins and 56.2 seconds at an average speed of 94 km/hr, giving it the record of the premier-class GP with the lowest average speed.

1955 – Following the 1955 event there was a period of 5 years without a Spanish GP taking place.

1961 – This event was famous as witnessing the first victory in Grand Prix racing for Honda; in the 125cc race ridden by Australian Tom Phillis, who went on to take the world title.

1968 – Salvador Canellas became the first Spanish rider to win a World Championship Grand Prix when he took the victory in the 125cc race riding a Bultaco.

1969 – The Spanish GP was held away from Montjuich Park for the first time, moving to the Jarama circuit, with the two circuits alternating over the next few years. This event also witnessed the first ever victory for a Spanish rider in the 250cc class, won by Santiago Herrero riding an Ossa.

1972 – At the Montjuich circuit Chas Mortimer became the first Yamaha rider to win a 500cc Grand Prix.

1976 – The last ever Grand Prix event at Montjuich Park. The Spanish GP then moved to Jarama on a permanent basis, until the first visit to Jerez in1987.

1984 – Sito Pons scored his first ever GP victory and the first for Spain in the 250cc class for almost 14 years.

1987 – Australian Wayne Gardner (Honda) won the first premier-class race at Jerez on his way to taking the world title. The 125cc race was won by current MotoGP team owner Fausto Gresini.

1988 – The Spanish GP was run at Jarama for the last time, and has ever since had a permanent home at Jerez. Kevin Magee riding a Yamaha took his one and only GP victory.

1991 – Mick Doohan (Honda) scored the first of his four victories at Jerez. Noboru Ueda won the 125cc race on his first ever appearance in Europe.

1993 – Kevin Schwantz scored the first ever win for Suzuki at the Jerez circuit. In the 250cc class Tetsuya Harada won on his debut appearance in a European Grand Prix and in the 125cc class Kazuto Sakata scored his first ever GP victory. Both riders dedicated their victories to 250cc Japanese rider Nobuyuki Wakai, who lost his life in a pit-lane accident.

1995 – Alberto Puig, riding a Honda, became the first ever Spanish rider to win a premier-class race in Spain.

1996 – Mick Doohan scored the last of his four victories at Jerez after a dramatic last lap when the crowd invaded the track and Alex Criville fell at the final corner after leading for the majority of the race.

1997 – Alex Criville beat his team-mate and great rival Doohan to take victory in the premier-class for the first time at Jerez. Valentino Rossi won the 125cc race on his way to winning the first of his world titles.

1998 – Criville repeated his win of the year before, beating his team-mate Doohan once again, but this time by just four tenths of a second.

1999 – Criville became the first rider to win in the premier-class for three successive years at Jerez. This time Doohan could not compete after a big crash in practice that brought an end to his career. Rossi won the 250cc race on his way to the world title.

2000 – A two-part race due to rain was won by Kenny Roberts Jnr, the second at Jerez for Suzuki. Rossi finished third, his first ever podium in the premier-class.

2001 – Rossi (Honda) won the premier-class race to become the first rider to win in three different classes at Jerez.

2002 – Rossi repeated his victory of 2001. Fonsi Nieto took the victory in the 250cc class, his first ever GP win.

2003 – Rossi won for the third successive year after Loris Capirossi had qualified in first place on the grid, the first ever pole in the premier-class for Ducati.

2004 – Sete Gibernau (Honda) became the third Spanish rider to win in the premier-class at Jerez.

2005 – Rossi won the MotoGP race, this time riding a Yamaha, the first Spanish GP victory for Yamaha in the premier-class since 1988.

2006 – Capirossi scores the first ever victory at Jerez for Ducati, with a start to finish win after reigning champion Rossi was knocked off at the first corner.


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