When talking about racing, it usually goes hand in hand with the circuits. As of 2022, the MotoGP World Championship has twenty races on all different tracks. Let’s overview them and see what they might have in common or what makes them send out.
The FIM has a document stating the regulation for the circuits to be considered “MotoGP Safe,” Grade A circuit. It’s an elective list that has only twenty-nine racetracks approved. After the director of the track thinks it is good enough to be considered Grade A, they must pay around twelve thousand euros to have an FIA representative come and see if all the regulations are respected. When a circuit is approved, it can be revoked after a routine check-up. It is up to the track to keep up with the safety regulations and racing standards.
The circuits in 2022
Just like bikes or divers, the tracks have different specificities. Some circuits are most suited for fast bikes provided by more than on straight or very long ones.
Those tracks are The Red Bull Ring, Phillip Island, Circuit Ricardo Tormo, MotorLand Aragon, or Motegi, Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Others favor corner speed to either overtake or gain an advantage. It includes the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, Termas de Rio Hondo, Autodrom Internacional do Algarve, Le Mans Circuit, the TT Circuit Assen, Silverstone, and Chang International Circuit. Those tracks’ straights provide a lot of speed to fast bikes like Hondas or Ducatis, but the fast corners sections or the harsh braking zone will advantage bikes like the Susukis or Yamahas but also riders who are late breakers.
Some tracks have a great mix of both. Some are made for testing, others just for racing, but it usually tracks where Grand Prix are full of fights.
The Lusail International Circuit in Qatar is one of those built at the beginning of the 2000s. The 1068-kilometer-long straights make for an excellent braking zone going into turn one. The rest of the track has sixteen corners, six lefts, and ten rights, a mix of slow and fast. The turn seven, eight, nine, and ten sequence is especially fast and is popular amongst the riders. In the same category, we have Barcelona; many riders like it. The average speed is 165 kilometers per hour, and the record belongs to Johann Zarco on his Ducati. Still, on Sunday, the Yamaha of Fabio Quartararo was better with its better corner speed. We could also include The Sepang International Circuit or the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto.
Two circuits have their category because, despite having other specificities, what makes them different is that most corners are to the left, the Circuit of the Americas, eleven to the left, and nine to the right. And the Sachsenring with ten to the left and three to the right. They represent a challenge for all parties because the riders are used to taking corners to the left. Michelin, the tire supplier, also must create more resistant ones twice a year to equip the bikes.
The diversity and the different evolution of the bikes make for more title fights as we are out of the Marc Marquez and Honda domination. Even if the calendar has not changed much in the past couple of years due to contracts, it still gives a good mix of particularities that will suit different riders and bikes almost every weekend.