If you are a follower of motorcycle racing, then you would be quite aware about the incidents that took place in the 2015 MotoGP season. Many were furious about what happened and were left heartbroken that their most celebrated motorcycle racing hero and 9-times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi missed out on lifting yet another championship crown. Well, there is no point gloating about the past now since what happened has happened and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. That said, the 2016 MotoGP season is right around the corner, bringing a fresh set of hopes and ambitions for fans as well as the racers alike.
Also, after the happenings of the 2015 season, the 2016 MotoGP season is poised to be one of the most exciting season that would ever come around in the history of the sport. It will be a season where young ambitions go head-to-head with old composed talents in the battle for supremacy. So here’s a comprehensive guide to the 2016 MotoGP season with everything from the most important riders to the race tracks and dates.
2016 MotoGP Circuits And Dates
The 2016 MotoGP season starts on March 20, 2016 under the floodlights with the Grand Prix of Qatar at the Losail International Circuit. This is the first and only MotoGP race that takes place at night under the light in the entire racing season of 18 races. The 5.4 km race track is made out of 6 left and 10 right hand corners with a longest straight of 1068m.
The Termas de Río Hondo Circuit is located 6km outside the town of with the same name, which resides in the Santiago del Estero province of Argentina. Here the 2016 MotoGP season will commence to its second race on a track that that is 4.8 km in length, consisting of 5 left hand and 9 right hand corners with the longest straight being 1076m.
The third circuit on the calendar is the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. This circuit stretches 5.5 km and consists of 11 left hand and 9 right hand turns with the longest straight of 1200 m. Here, MotoGP machines hit a top speed of nearly 350 kmph.
For the fourth round, the MotoGP teams hop over to Europe for the first time in the season and start off at the Gran Premio de España Circuit in Jerez, Spain. The track is 4.4 km in length and has a small 607 m long straight. Even so, the track has seen MotoGP bikes clocking a top speed of 295 kmph.
For this round, the riders and teams land at the iconic Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix circuit which is 4.2 km in length. Despite having a short straight of just 674 m, Le Mans has seen motorcycles hitting a top speed of over 315 kmph.
Located in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, Italy the Mugello circuit is 5.2 km in length boasting 6 left and 9 right hand corners and a long straight of 1141 m where bikes hit a top speed of nearly 350 kmph.
MotoGP returns back to Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. A circuit that is 4.7 km in length, features a 1047 m straight where riders touch 345 kmph on their machines.
The TT Assen Circuit is the only race track in the world that has hosted the Motorcycle World Championship every year since it was opened in 1949. A track that is 4.5 km in length has one of the shortest straights in the entire season measuring only 487 m. But this has not stopped MotoGP riders to hit speeds in access of 300 kmph.
The Motorrad Grand Prix of Deutschland is the final race before the almost-month long mid-season break. The 3.7 km circuit resides 8 km outside the city of Chemnitz and features 10 left hand and 3 right hand corners with a 700 m straight.
The Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich sees the return of the riders and teams after the mid season break at the Red Bull Ring located in the town of Spielberg in Styria, Austria. The 4.3 km long circuit has an 868 m long straight with 2 left and 6 right hand corners.
Rider and teams reach The Czech Republic to continue at the Automotodrom Brno. This 5.4 km circuit offers one of the best views to spectators since its is built in a natural bowl which is banked at places. Here, one can expect the new MotoGP machines to hit speeds in access of 300 kmph on the 636 m straight.
Once again MotoGP moves back towards the west of Europe heading to Britain this time at the Silverstone Circuit. The 5.9 km circuit has been recently revamped and now holds a 770 m long straight where riders can be seen hitting top speeds in access of 330 kmph.
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli has been recently re-named so in tribute of the young Italian rider Marco Simoncelli who died in a crash during the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2011. Close to the Italian city of Rimini, the circuit held important racing events since its construction in 1972 but MotoGP returned to the circuit only in 2007 when the track was upgraded. This 4.2 km circuit consists of 6 left and 10 right hand corners with a start finish straight of 565 m.
The MotoGP returns back to Spain for the second time in the season at the Motorland Aragon Circuit located near Alcañiz, Spain. This 5.1 km circuit has a 968 m long straight that takes riders all the way past 340 kmph on their machines.
The Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in Japan is located in the beautifully scenic northern Kanto district. The 4.8 km circuit has become a permanent marker on the MotoGP calendar since the year 2000 and features a 762 m long straight that sees speeds in access of 300 kmph.
One of the venues that combines the spectacular views of the ocean with fast paced motorsport action, the Phillip Island circuit is home to countless motorsport events in Australia. The 4.4 km racing circuit has a long 900 m straight that dips into a fast right hander where riders have to brake all the way down from 345 kmph plus speeds to take the corner.
The penultimate race in the 2016 MotoGP calendar heads over to Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit. The 5.5 km circuit is situated in the middle of a 2,300 square-acre complex that also houses a hotel, shopping centre, a golf course and other sporting facilities. Here, riders are seen hitting speeds in excess of 325 kmph.
For the final round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, riders and team will once again head back to Europe and into Spain for the final time at the Circuit of Valencia. This 4.0 km long circuit will present the deciding moments of the 2016 racing season.
Riders To Look Out For
The current MotoGP 2015 World Champion will be looking out to defend his title and push towards his fourth MotoGP Championship. Riding with the Yamaha factory team, the 28-year old rider will be battling it out with his team mate and 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
The controversial man of the 2015 MotoGP season due to his clash with Valentino Ross, Marc Marquez will be looking out to score his third MotoGP world championship ahead of the other riders. The 22-year old Spanish rider will continue to race with the Repsol Honda Team and is expected to be one of the toughest competitors to beat in the 2016 season.
The 36-year old Italian and 9-times MotoGP World Champion almost missed out on securing his tenth MotoGP Championship by just 5 points in 2015 due to a on-track clash with Marc Marquez, due to which Rossi was penalised to start at the back of the grid for the last race of the season. 2016 is expected to be Valentino Rossi’s final year with the Yamaha Factory team and for many, this is the last hope of the legend to secure another MotoGP World Championship title.
Teams To Look Out For
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Having two of the most talented riders, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, both looking to secure the World Championship title this year, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team has the highest certainty to secure the top spot in the 2016 MotoGP season. While the bikes might not be the absolute best, they have the most talented riders in the entire lineup to help close in the gap.
Repsol Honda Team
Team Repsol Honda finds balance with two of their riders. On one hand, the team has the aggressive and young Marc Marquez. And on the other, Repsol Honda have the talented, calculated and calm Dani Pedrosa. Backed by some of the best machinery there is in the business of premiere class motorcycle racing, the Repsol Honda Team has a huge change of making it to the top.
While the Ducati MotoGP motorcycles might not be in the same league of refinement as the Honda and Yamaha’s, the machines have incredible grunt that when tuned right have the capability to leave the competition standing behind. Backed by two young and sensible riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, the Ducati Team can offer the top runners a solid run for their money.