A look back over some memorable landmarks in the premier class since its inception in 1949.
This weekend’s Polini Grand Prix of Japan marks the 700th premier class Grand Prix in the history of the World Championship. Since the first round, many changes in cylinder class, tyre regulations and even starting times have been used, some of which are documented in a milestone review of the 699 races to date.
June 1949, Race #1: Great Britain IOM TT
The first 500cc GP is won by Harold Daniell riding a factory Norton.
September 1952, Race no.27, Monza
Les Graham gives MV Agusta the first race win in the premier-class.
October 1953, Race no.36, Montjuich
Fergus Anderson (Moto Guzzi) at 44 years old is the oldest rider to win in the premier class.
June 1957, Race no.60, Great Britain IOM TT
The longest ever GP of 301.84 miles, held over 8 laps of the Mountain circuit in the Isle of Man, won by Bob McIntyre (Gilera)
August 1962, Race no.100, Sachsenring
Mike Hailwood (MV Agusta) wins the 100th race in the premier-class.
May 1966, Race no.131, Hockenheim
Jim Redman gives Honda their first ever 500cc GP victory, this also being the first 500c win by a Japanese manufacturer.
September 1969, Race no.171, Yugoslavia
Godfrey Nash riding a Norton becomes the last rider to win a 500cc GP riding a single-cylinder machine.
August 1971, Race no.191, Ulster
Jack Findlay (Suzuki) takes the first win in the premier-class riding a two-stroke machine.
June 1972, Race no.200, Dutch TT Assen
Giacomo Agostini wins the 200th race riding a MV Agusta.
May 1973, Race no.207, France Paul Ricard
Jarno Saarinen (Yamaha) scores the first win in the premier-class by a four-cylinder two-stroke machine.
August 1976, Race no.247, Nurburgring Giacomo Agostini scores the last of his 68 victories which is also the last victory by MV Agusta and the last for a four-stroke 500cc machine.
July 1977, Race no.254, Belgium
The fastest ever GP race was won by Barry Sheene riding a Suzuki at an average speed of 217.37 km/hr (135.067mph).
August 1981, Race no.298, SilverstoneJack Middleburg (Suzuki) becomes the last rider to win in the premier-class riding a true ‘privateer’ machine.
August 1981, Race no.300, Sweden
Barry Sheene wins the 300th GP riding a Yamaha, this is also the last premier-class win by a British rider.
July 1982, Race no.307, Belgium
Freddie Spencer takes the first victory for the three-cylinder two-stroke Honda at the age of 20, the youngest ever winner in the premier-class.
July 1989, Race no.400, France
Eddie Lawson riding a Honda wins the 400th GP in the premier-class.
March 1994, Race no.462, Eastern Creek
John Kocinski wins riding a Cagiva, this being the last time a non-Japanese 500cc two-stroke machine won in the premier-class.
September 1996, Race no.500, Imola.
Mick Doohan (Honda) takes the victory in a race cut short due to a rain shower.
April 2002, Race no. 581, Suzuka.
Valentino Rossi (Honda) takes the first win under the new MotoGP rules allowing 990cc four-strokes to compete alongside 500cc two-stroke machines.
October 2002, Race no.593, Motegi
Loris Capirossi’s (Honda) 3rd place finish is the last ever podium by a two-stroke machine in the premier-class
May 2003, Race no.600, France.
Sete Gibernau (Honda) wins after a great battle with Valentino Rossi in a shortened race stopped due to rain.
June 2003, Race no.602, Catalonia
Loris Capirossi gives Ducati their first ever premier-class Grand Prix victory.
April 2004, Race no.613, South Africa
After wining the final race of 2003 at Valencia riding a Honda, Valentino Rossi wins the first race of 2004 on a Yamaha.
October 2006, Race no.662, Valencia
Riding as a replacement for the injured Sete Gibernau, Troy Bayliss (Ducati) wins the final race of the 990cc era.
March 2007, Race no.663, Qatar
Casey Stoner (Ducati) wins the first race under the revised rules limiting machines to 800cc.
March 2008, Race no.681, Qatar
For the first time ever a Grand Prix is held at night under floodlights.
September 2008, Race no.694, Indianapolis
A Grand Prix event is held at the famous Indianapolis circuit for the first time and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) takes his 69th premier class win -making him the most successful of all-time.
April 2009, Race no.699, Qatar
In the first race since the introduction of a single-tyre rule, Casey Stoner (Ducati) wins the opening race of the season in Qatar for the third successive year.