If MotoGP has a home, it is in Barcelona. There are many other places which have a solid claim to that title, of course. The Grand Prix championship was born in the Isle of Man, the 1949 TT being the first event to count towards the motorcycle racing world championship.
Freddie Frith won the 350cc class race on 13th of June of that year, the race which kicked off the championship. (Dorna is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the start of the championship this week, so keep an eye out for that).
But the Isle of Man hasn’t been on the calendar since 1976, the circuit rightly ruled too dangerous to race a Grand Prix at, even by the standards of the 1970s.
If not the Isle of Man, is Britain the home of Grand Prix racing? The UK once provided the bulk of the riders in the championship, and many of the bikes.
But British influence has waned, and though the paddock is still full of Brits, especially in organizational capacities, there are just a handful of British riders in the championship, and the Moto2 engines of the British brand Triumph are actually produced in Thailand.
Italy certainly has a valid claim to be the spiritual home of racing. The two riders with the largest number of victories in Grand Prix racing, Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi, hail from Italy, and both are widely touted as the greatest motorcycle racers in history.
There are two Italian factories in MotoGP, Ducati having been a mainstay of the premier class, while Aprilia formed the backbone of the smaller classes when they were still two strokes. And there is a generation of young Italian riders on the way up, brought on in large part by Valentino Rossi’s massive investment in Italian talent.
Japan, perhaps? Honda and Yamaha kept Grand Prix running from the dawn of the two stroke era up until the present day, while Suzuki did their part in the 1970s and ’80s, and are slowly looking to expand their support again, with a satellite squad likely to enter in 2021.
Japanese motorcycles have dominated the championship, and Japan has had its fair share of world champions, though predominantly in the lower classes. But though the championship would not exist without the efforts of the Japanese factories, often at considerable cost to themselves, Japan has never actively engaged in running the series, happy to settle for a role as chief supplier.