For many MotoGP fans, attending a race is a dream come true as you get to feel the engine vibrations in your chest and smell the burning rubber, but choosing which of the 19 races to attend can be the biggest hurdle. With three rounds already done and dusted in 2019, we look at the Top 5 races you should attend and why it’s worth splashing the cash on these iconic races.
Italian MotoGP @ Mugello
Nestled in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, Mugello is one of the most popular races on the calendar, even more so for fans of the many Italian riders gracing the grid at present. Mugello joined the MotoGP grid permanently in 1991 after it was purchased in 1988 by Ferrari and upgraded to meet their standards. Not only is the 5.2km track one of the safest and up-to-date, it’s also one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.
Much like Brno, Mugello is a challenging circuit for both riders and engineers due to the combination of long straights and off camber corners. With 15 turns taken from slow to fast, Mugello really forces riders and their engineers to carefully plan their attack way ahead of time to prevent heartbreak. However, the tricky circuit is perfect for fans who want to see fast and fierce racing as the riders average over 170km/h around the winding track. It’s not just the racing that is fierce in Mugello; the Italian crowd are renowned for their enthusiastic celebrations! Bring your ear plugs, sunglasses and dancing shoes because if you don’t get caught up in the atmosphere then you haven’t done Mugello right. The race is obviously a must for any and all Valentino Rossi fans as he currently holds the record for the most wins and most pole positions at the track as well as fastest lap time, showing exactly what a bit of home love can do to boost your performance.
Away from the track, the sublime Tuscan region oozes culture and history; perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy some peace and tranquillity, not to mention a traditional pizza and a glass of wine before the sun sets. Mugello is only a short drive from Florence, one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe. Hotels sell out quickly for the race weekend so a lot of forward planning is needed if you want to stay somewhere near the circuit.
More info: Italy MotoGP (May 31 – June 2) @ Mugello Circuit (Buy tickets / Reserve accommodation)
Catalan MotoGP @ Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Barcelona may be the second visit to Spain on the MotoGP calendar but it’s the definitely the most highly anticipated as it’s the ‘home’ race for World Champion Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Maverick Viñales and Aleix and Pol Espargaro. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is located in the town of Montmeló, a short train ride from the centre of Barcelona. With a combination of 13 fast and slow corners as well as elevation changes and an impressive 1047m straight, it’s easy to see why crowds love a visit to the Barcelona circuit.
With Barcelona being the home race of so many Spanish racers, it’s obvious why it is so popular with Marquez fans as thousands make the pilgrimage to watch their favourite rider take to the track. Marquez fan or not, it is a brilliant track for all to visit and fairly accessible if you don’t mind a bit of walking. The city of Barcelona itself is bursting at the seams with things to do and see. From the famous beaches to the iconic Gaudí buildings including the breath-taking Sagrada Familia as well as a vibrant nightlife, the city really has something for all ages and all interests.
Dutch MotoGP @ TT Circuit Assen
The DutchGP is something every MotoGP fan must experience at least once in their life. The race is one of the biggest sporting events to take place in the Netherlands and fans from far and wide flock to ‘The Cathedral’ every June to witness their favourite riders whip their machines around 4.5km of asphalt at an average speed in excess of 170km/h. With rapid direction changes and such a narrow track, fans are regularly treated to some juicy, nail-biting battles as riders navigate the six left and 12 right-handers.
Over the last decade alone, the Dutch MotoGP has delivered seven different race winners and nine different pole sitters, a statistic very few other circuits can boast, so it’s no surprise that it’s a firm favourite with fans from around the globe. It’s not just the on track action that attracts people. Assen is renowned for its very welcoming atmosphere and with Amsterdam only a train ride away, there is plenty for everyone to do and see away from the circuit. It may be one of the pricier races to attend if you’re a solo traveller with accommodation averaging €200+ a night during a race weekend but if you book well in advance, stay in neighbouring areas such as Gronigen or camp near the track, then prices are slightly more reasonable.
Czech Republic MotoGP @ Automotodrom Brno
Brno has come and gone from the MotoGP calendar several times since 1930, finally being permanently added in its current format in 1993. Whilst the race has always attracted large crowds, the recent addition of local riders to the grid, including Karel Abraham (MotoGP), Jakub Kornfeil and Filip Salač (both Moto3), Brno has attracted even more locals to the circuit.
The Automotodrom offers a unique experience for both fans and riders alike due to its ‘natural bowl’ location. The constant elevation changes and fast flowing corners put riders and their bikes to the test as they are pushed to their limits making their way through the wooded hillside. This often leads to some impressive saves or, for the less fortunate, crashes. The banked edges also offer fans a spectacular view of the racing action and the surrounding forest.
Brno itself is the second largest city in the Czech Republic. With its inviting nightlife and picturesque centre, there is something for all ages and interests. From discovering the dark history of Brno’s underground to learning something new at Vida! Science Centre, time away from the track will not be boring. With hotel rooms averaging around 50 EUR per night, the CzechGP is one of the cheapest races to attend on the calendar, perfect for fans on a budget.
Australian MotoGP @ Phillip Island
Home circuit of Casey Stoner, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Troy Bayliss, the stunning Phillip Island circuit has consistently graced the calendar for the last 22 years and, thankfully, shows no signs of leaving any time soon. After originally hosting the first two Australian GPs in 1989 and 1990 which were won by local hero Wayne Gardner, the race found a permanent home on the MotoGP calendar in 1997.
The 4.4km circuit is one of the fastest and most free-flowing circuits on the MotoGP calendar. With seven left handers and five rights as well as a 900m straight, the track regularly delivers some of the most intense and incredible racing of the season. The circuit is also situated in a stunning location which offers fans the chance to gaze at some spectacular ocean views in between sessions. Unfortunately, due to its coastal location and October race date, the temperatures tend to resemble the UK rather than Australia and a warm jacket is often needed.
Phillip Island is situated within striking distance of the Victorian capital Melbourne, which offers plenty to see and do. From the Australian Music Vault to the Melbourne Museum and even the Eureka Skydeck, there is something to keep everyone amused. It may be slightly more expensive in terms of travel, especially if you are travelling from Europe or North America, but Phillip Island is a circuit that must been seen to be believed.