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The history of the Australian Grand Prix

The history of the Australian Grand Prix

This weekend's GMC Australian Grand Prix will be the nineteenth staging of the event, which was first held in 1989 and has taken place every year since then.

This weekend's GMC Australian Grand Prix will be the nineteenth staging of the event, which was first held in 1989 and has taken place every year since then.

Below provides you with a short resume of some of the classic races at Phillip Island and Eastern Creek, the two Australian venues which have staged Grands Prix.

1989 - Phillip Island: The home crowd had lots to cheer in the first ever Australian Grand Prix, with Aussie Wayne Gardner taking the victory by less than half a second from Wayne Rainey after a race long battle. Sito Pons won the 250cc race on the way to his second world title and Alex Criville scored his first ever Grand Prix win in the 125cc race.

1990 - Phillip Island: Another victory for Gardner, this time after a tremendous battle with fellow Australian Mick Doohan, with less than one second separating them at the end of the race. Gardner had ridden most of the race with his fairing dragging on the tarmac after breaking a bracket with his knee, fighting a near highside on lap two. This was the first ever one-two for Australia in the 500cc class. Loris Capirossi won the 125cc race to become the youngest ever World Champion – a record that he still holds.

1991 - Eastern Creek: The Australian Grand Prix was moved to the Eastern Creek circuit near Sydney. Wayne Rainey took the first 500cc victory in Australia for Yamaha, ahead of Doohan.

1992 - Eastern Creek: After finishing second for the previous two years, Doohan finally got to stand on the top step of the podium; finishing more than six seconds in front of his great rival Rainey. Doohan's fellow Australian, 21 year-old Daryl Beattie finished third as a wild card rider making his Grand Prix debut in the 500cc class. (to see video highlights of this race follow the link on the left)

1993 - Eastern Creek: Kevin Schwantz took his only victory in Australia in front of fellow American riders Rainey and Doug Chandler. This was the last of the 24 occasions in which American riders have taken all three podium slots in the premier class.

1994 - Eastern Creek: John Kocinski won the 500cc race riding a Cagiva. This is the only occasion that the premier class Grand Prix in Australia has been won by a European manufactured machine.

1995 - Eastern Creek: Doohan won at home for the second time in a dominating fashion – leading the race from start to finish and ending with a winning margin of 13 seconds over Beattie, making his debut on the factory Suzuki.

1996 - Eastern Creek: This was the last of six visits to the Eastern Creek circuit and Capirossi riding for Team Rainey Yamaha scored his first victory in the premier class. Capirossi started the final lap in third place behind Doohan and Criville, who both crashed at the final corner.

1997 - Phillip Island Criville won the first 500cc race on the return to Phillip Island after Doohan crashed out with a comfortable lead on lap 17. Max Biaggi finished second to his closest rival Ralf Waldmann to clinch the 250cc title by just two points, and in doing so became the first rider to win the 250 championship in four successive seasons.

1998 - Phillip Island: Doohan won the 500cc race from Simon Crafar, to clinch the last of his five world titles at his home race.

1999 - Phillip Island: Tady Okada took the last of his four 500cc Grand Prix victories after early leader Kenny Roberts was forced to slow due to his rear tyre losing chunks of tread.

2000 - Phillip Island: Biaggi won the 500cc race from fellow Italians Capirossi and Valentino Rossi, in the first all Italian podium since 1972.

2001 - Phillip Island: Rossi won his first premier class title by taking the victory in one of the closest races of all time, with just 2.832 seconds covering the first nine riders across the line. (to see video highlights of this race follow the link on the left)

2002 - Phillip Island: Rossi repeated his victory of the previous year in the first race at Phillip Island of the four-stroke MotoGP era. Jeremy McWilliams had started the race from pole riding the three cylinder Proton KR machine – the last ever pole in the premier class by a two-stroke machine and the first MotoGP pole by a rider using Bridgestone tyres. Marco Melandri won the 250cc race to clinch the title and become the youngest ever rider to become quarter litre class World Champion.

2003 - Phillip Island: Rossi took one of the most incredible wins of his illustrious career after he had been informed by pit signals on lap ten that he had been given a ten second penalty for a yellow-flag infringement.

2004 - Phillip Island: Rossi won once again after a race long battle with great rival Sete Gibernau, to clinch the MotoGP title on his first year riding for Yamaha.

2005 - Phillip Island: Rossi won for the fifth successive year in Australia. Dani Pedrosa won the 250cc race to clinch his second world title in the class.

2006 - Phillip Island: Marco Melandri won the race by almost ten seconds after the flag-to-flag wet weather regulations came into play for the first time. Chris Vermeulen was second to become the first Australian to finish on the podium at Phillip Island since Doohan in 1998. (to see video highlights of this race follow the link on the left)


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