New to here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Historical highlights from the Japanese GP

Historical highlights from the Japanese GP

A look back over the last ten years of World Championship visits to Japan.

In the accompanying video recalls some of the highlights of MotoGP´s Far Eastern adventures in Japan, at the current home of the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, Motegi, and the former Japanese GP circuit of Suzuka.

First introduced to the World Championship calendar in 1999 for the Japanese GP, Motegi was the host venue for the Pacific Grand Prix from 2000-2004, after which it took over from Suzuka full-time as the home of the Grand Prix of Japan.

In 1999 Kenny Roberts won the first ever 500cc Motegi Grand Prix race on a Suzuki, ahead of Mick Doohan on a Honda and Norick Abe on a Yamaha.

The following year for the first time two Grand Prix events were held in Japan - the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and the Pacific Grand Prix at Motegi and this arrangement continued for a further three years. At Suzuka in 2000 all three races were won by home riders, (500cc - Norick Abe, 250cc – Daijiro Kato, 125cc - Youichi Ui). This was the first time that Japanese riders had won in all three classes at the same Grand Prix event.

In 2001 Valentino Rossi won the 500cc race at Suzuka – the 500th Grand Prix win for Honda across all the classes. No stranger to writing his name into the history books Rossi was at it again the next year, winning the first ever race of the four-stroke MotoGP era riding the five cylinder Honda 990cc machine.

The 2003 Japanese Grand Prix will always be remembered for the tragic accident that took the life of Japanese star Daijiro Kato. Following this event the Suzuka circuit was considered too dangerous for Grand Prix racing and all subsequent Japanese GPs have been held at Motegi.

In 2005, meanwhile, Loris Capirossi riding a Ducati became the first man to win a premier-class Grand Prix in Japan on a non-Japanese motorcycle.


Other updates you may be interested in ›