Motegi: The home of MotoGP and… ‘Pokémon’!!

5 minutes

The World Championship visits the circuit at which riders will spend more than 13 minutes on the brakes in total.

Marc Márquez en el túnel de Motegi
Motegi: The home of MotoGP and… ‘Pokémon’!!

Twin Ring Motegi, located in Tochigi prefecture, was built by Honda in 1997.

The Japanese factory wanted to gain importance in American competitions like IndyCar or NASCAR, so decided to build an oval-shaped circuit that could host such races.

The oval of the 2.4-kilometer Twin Ring held IndyCar races between 1998 and 2011.

During the development of the circuit, which is surrounded by forest, the designers tried to keep the environment as intact as possible, preserving both vegetation and the course of the Nakagawa River near the Twin Ring.

The circuit is located in a village with only 14,000 inhabitants. The permanent layout of the Twin Ring can seat up to 100,000 spectators.

In the Kanto region, consisting of seven prefectures and where the Twin Ring is located, 42 million people live -one-third of Japan’s population and 90% of the population of Spain.

The famous Japanese series Pokémon, as well as one of its video games, is meant to take place in an area inspired by this region, and was designed with reference to its geography.

Marc and Dani are the only riders on the current MotoGP grid that have managed to win at Motegi in all three classes.

In 1999, Motegi held its first Japanese GP. Masao Azuma in 125cc, Shinya Nakano in 250cc and Kenny Roberts Jr. in 500cc were the first Grand Prix winners in the history of the circuit.

Between 2000 and 2003, the Twin Ring held the Pacific Grand Prix, whilst the Japanese GP was run at Suzuka. From 2004 onwards, Motegi has been the scene of the Japanese round proper.

Within the circuit there is a museum, the ‘Honda Collection Hall’, which exhibits the most important cars and motorcycles in the history of the Japanese factory.

Dani Pedrosa is the most successful rider Motegi with 5 wins: 3 in MotoGP, 1 in 250cc and 1 in 125cc. Jorge Lorenzo and Loris Capirossi follow him with 3 each.

Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa are the only riders on the current MotoGP grid that have managed to win at Motegi in all three classes.

Dani Pedrosa rodando en pista sobre la RC213V
Dani Pedrosa rodando en pista sobre la RC213V

Motegi is the most demanding circuit on the calendar in terms of braking. The riders have to keep them engaged for 33% of each lap and, after finishing the race, they will have spent more than 13 minutes braking.

The braking system suffers to such an extent that regulations force the teams to fit 340 milimetres brake discs instead of the usual 320 milimetres. Motegi is the only circuit on the calendar where this happens.

The Twin Ring Motegi is, at three times per lap, the circuit where first gear is used the most. In addition, it is also the track with the most gear changes per lap (30).

Historically, the Japanese Grand Prix has also been held at Suzuka, although between 1967 and 1968 it was the circuit of Fuji that held the race.

Honda, with 8 wins, is the constructor with the most wins at Motegi, followed by Yamaha and Ducati, with 3 wins, respectively.

Motegi has been the scene for the coronation of several MotoGP world champions. The most recent was Marc Márquez, who with victory during 2016 season achieved his third MotoGP World Championship. Before that, Casey Stoner in 2007, Valentino Rossi in 2008 and Márquez himself in 2014 took the title in Motegi.


Since 2006, no Japanese rider has won their home race. The last to do so was Hiroshi Aoyama in 2006 in 250cc, while in the premier class it was Makoto Tamada in 2004.

The circuit is 4,801 metres long and has 14 corners: 8 right handers and 6 left handers.

At this time of the year, the appearance of rain can’t be ruled out. The 2007 and 2015 races were held in wet conditions, and in 2013 the Free Practice sessions on Friday and the first on Saturday were cancelled due to fog.

2017 marks the 20th MotoGP race to be held at the Twin Ring Motegi.

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