Circuits 

In total, 69 different circuits and 30 countries have hosted World Championship motorcycling races since the first round was held on the Mountain Course in the Isle of Man, the TT event also having the distinction, at 37 and ¾ miles long, of being the longest track to host a World Championship race.

Only one has the distinction of being the only circuit which has hosted a race every year since 1949 though – Assen in Holland. The Dutch venue has undergone a few layout changes since 1949 but some of today’s circuit was used in that first race and it has a unique place on the GP calendar – it’s also unique as it’s a circuit used solely by motorcycles.

MotoGP 2016 image credit @MotoGP Twitter

MotoGP 2016 image credit @MotoGP Twitter

Great Britain and Italy have held a round every single year but not on the same circuit hence Assen having its unique claim to fame within the motorcycling world. Indeed, whilst Assen has hosted a GP on 68 occasions – once each year for the 68 years the Grand Prix Championship has taken place – Spain has actually hosted the most GPs, 118, due to hosting more than one a year on some occasions. The last few seasons has seen four GP’s take place each year.

This also applies to the likes of Italy, Japan and Germany. For example, Japan hosted the Japanese and Pacific Grands Prix in the same season with Italian circuits hosting the Italian and San Marino rounds.

6 circuits to start

That first season in 1949 saw six circuits used – the Isle of Man, Bremgarten in Swizerland, Assen, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Clady in Northern Ireland, and Monza in Italy. Points were awarded to the top five finishers in each race with an extra point for the race finisher with the fastest lap. All rounds counted towards the championship in the 125cc, 250cc and Sidecar categories, while in the 350cc and 500cc championships, only the best three results counted.

For much of the 1950s and 1960s, the majority of Grands Prix were held on public road courses like the Mountain Course on the Isle of Man and Spa and only in the 1970s did this trend start to change as rider’s safety became a hot topic. Road circuits were slowly phased out and replaced by short circuits, one of the biggest changes happening in 1976 when the TT held the British round for the final time, Silverstone taking over in 1977.

Dundrod in Northern Ireland had already disappeared off the calendar after the 1971 season. Brno and Imatra road courses were last used in 1982, the former having a new short circuit purpose-built instead, whilst Spa, albeit reduced to just over four miles in length, lasted until 1990. From that moment on, the Grand Prix championship was solely for the domain of man-made short circuits.

Circuits continue to grow

Ever since that maiden season, the calendar has continued to grow with more and more circuits – and more and more countries – fighting it out to host a round of the series.

Initially Europe-based, the Championship went to Asia (Japan) for the first time in 1963, North America (USA) in 1964, South America (Venezuela) in 1977, Africa (South Africa) in 1983 and Australasia (Australia) in 1989.

30 countries, including East and West Germany have hosted a round since 1949 with France having the highest number of circuits used at eight, closely followed by Spain (6) and Germany (5).

No less than nine circuits have been visited just once, these being Geneva, Switzerland (1950), Albi, France (1951), Schottenring , Germany (1953), Hedemora, Sweden (1958), Mosport, Canada (1967), Zolder, Belgium (1980), Magny Cours, France (1992), Interlagos, Brazil (1992) and Johor, Malaysia (1998).

However, each of these countries has hosted a GP elsewhere, the exception being Canada – 1967 was the one and only year they’ve hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix.

The 2016 calendar sees a packed 18-race schedule with Chile the newest country to host a round, potentially as early as 2017.

Full list of countries, circuits and years hosted rounds

America (29)

Austin – 2013-16 (4)

Daytona – 1964-65 (2)

Laguna Seca – 1988-91, 1993-94, 2005-13 (15)

Indianapolis – 2008-15 (8)

Argentina (13)

Buenos Aires – 1961-3, 1981-82, 1987, 1994-95, 1998-99 (10)

Termas de Rio Hondo – 2014-16 (3)

Australia (28)

Eastern Creek – 1991-1996 (6)

Phillip Island – 1989-90, 1997-2016 (22)

Austria (25)

Salzburgring – 1971-91, 1993 (22)

Red Bull Ring (formerly Zeltweg) – 1996-97, 2016 (3)

Belgium (42)

Spa-Francorchamps – 1949-79, 1981-90 (41)

Zolder – 1980 (1)

Brazil (13)

Goiania – 1987-89 (3)

Interlagos – 1992 (1)

Jacarepagua – 1995-97, 1999-2004 (9)

Canada (1)

Mosport – 1967 (1)

China (4)

Shanghai – 2005-08 (4)

Czech Republic (47)

Brno – 1965-82, 1987-91, 1993-2016 (47)

Finland (21)

Imatra – 1964-82 (19)

Tampere – 1962-63 (2)

France (59)

Albi – 1951 (1)

Clermont Ferrand – 1959-64, 1966-67, 1972, 1974 (10)

Le Mans – 1969-70, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989-91, 1994-95, 2000-16 (29)

Magny Cours – 1992 (1)

Nogaro – 1978, 1982 (2)

Paul Ricard – 1973, 1977, 1980-81, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1996-99 (12)

Reims – 1954-55 (2)

Rouen – 1953, 1965 (2)

Germany (78)

Hockenheim – 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1966-67, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981-83, 1985-87, 1989, 1991-94 (23)

Nurburgring – 1955, 1958, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995-97 (17)

Sachsenring – 1961-72, 1998-2016 (31)

Schottenring – 1953 (1)

Solitude – 1952, 1954, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1964 (6)

Great Britain (68)

Donington Park – 1987-2009 (23)

Silverstone – 1977-86, 2010-16 (17)

Isle of Man TT – 1949-76 (28)

Holland (68)

Assen – 1949-Present (68)

Hungary (2)

Hungaroring – 1990, 1992 (2)

Indonesia (2)

Sentul – 1996-97 (2)

Italy (90)

Imola – 1972, 1974-75, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1996-99 (12)

Misano – 1980, 1984, 1986-87, 1989-91, 1993, 2007-16 (18)

Monza – 1949-71, 1973, 1981-83, 1986-87 (29)

Mugello – 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984-85, 1991-2016 (31)

Japan (39)

Fuji – 1966-67 (2)

Motegi – 1999-2016 (18)

Suzuka – 1963-65, 1987-98, 2000-03 (19)

Malaysia (26)

Johor – 1998 (1)

Sepang – 1999-2016 (18)

Shah Alam – 1991-97 (7)

Northern Ireland (23)

Clady -1949-52 (4)

Dundrod – 1953-71 (19)

Portugal (13)

Estoril – 2000-12 (13)

Qatar (13)

Losail – 2004-16 (13)

South Africa (10)

Kyalami – 1983-85, 1992 (4)

Welkom – 1999-04 (6)

Spain (116)

Catalunya – 1992-2016 (25)

Jarama – 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977-86, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998 (18)

Jerez – 1987-2016 (30)

Motorland Aragon – 2010-16 (7)

Montjuich Park – 1950-55, 1961-68, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976 (18)

Valencia – 1999-2016 (18)

Sweden (22)

Anderstorp – 1971-77, 1981-90 (17)

Hedemora – 1958 (1)

Karlskoga – 1978-79 (2)

Kristianstad – 1959, 1961 (2)

Switzerland (6)

Bremgarten – 1949, 1951-54 (5)

Geneva – 1950 (1)

Turkey

Istanbul Park – 2005-07 (3)

Venezuela (3)

San Carlos – 1977-79 (3)

Yugoslavia (20)

Opatija – 1970, 1972-77 (7)

Rijeka – 1978-90 (13)