Honda Achieves 700th FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Victory
Honda MotoGP rider Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) claimed victory in the MotoGP class, in Round 10 of the 2015 FIM Road Racing World Championship held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana, USA. Beginning with its first world grand prix race in 1961, at the hands of Australian rider Tom Phillis on his Honda RC143 in the 125cc class of the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix, Honda has now achieved an unprecedented 700* grand prix wins.
By the beginning of the race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Honda had tallied 698 grand prix wins. The Moto3 class started under light rain, with most top riders choosing wet tires. 18 year old Belgian rider Livio Loi (RW Racing GP Honda NSF250RW) had taken a gamble to start on slicks, which paid off as the wet tire riders inevitably pitted, allowing Loi to claim his first victory after a consistent ride, taking Honda one step closer to the 700 win milestone.
Uncertain weather conditions persisted in the MotoGP class which followed, with light rain in the latter stages of the premier class race. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) maintained a close gap with the race leader throughout the race, and with three laps remaining on lap 25, took the lead for a runaway victory, giving him his second consecutive win (third for the season), and Honda its 700th grand prix victory.
In 1954, Honda’s founder Soichiro Honda declared entry into the premier motor sports event of the time, the Isle of Man TT, aiming to “realize the dream of becoming the world’s best.” After five years developing a racing machine, Honda became the first Japanese motorcycle manufacturer to enter the Isle of Man TT race. The following year, in 1960, Honda began competing in the 125cc and 250cc classes of the FIM Road Racing World Championship, and in 1961, Tom Phillis won the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix, giving Honda its first step towards its 700 victories.
Honda then forayed into the 350cc and 50cc classes in 1962, and the 500cc class in 1966, and won the championship in all five classes in 1966. At the time, Honda considered its racing activities to be a “laboratory on wheels,” and new technologies developed to win world championship races were applied to its production motorcycles. With dramatically improved quality, the market had expanded its support for Honda’s motorcycles. At the end of the 1967 season, Honda had paused its factory racing activities, which were to be restarted 11 years later, with 138 grand prix wins.
In 1979, Honda returned to FIM Road Racing World Championship racing in the 500cc class. Three years later in 1982, American rider Freddie Spencer won Round 7 in Belgium on his Honda NS500, giving Honda its first victory since returning to world grand prix racing. Honda then went on to win grand prix races in the 125cc and 250cc classes, contributing to its 500th victory in 2001, when Italian rider Valentino Rossi was victorious in the 500cc class at the season-opening Japan Grand Prix. In 2005, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa rode his Honda RS250RW to victory in the 250cc class in Round 15 in Australia, marking Honda’s 600th grand prix win.
* Number of wins counted by Honda based on FIM records Moto2 class wins since 2010 are not included, as the entire class is raced with Honda engines Moto3 class wins in 2012 are not included as Honda wins, in compliance with FIM regulations, as the registered constructor was FTR Honda (albeit powered by the NSF250R engine)
Takahiro Hachigo, President, CEO and Representative Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“I am proud of Honda’s 700th victory in the FIM Road Racing World Championship. This achievement could only have been realized through the countless number of people working together, and the support every fan has given for Honda’s racing activities. I am deeply grateful to everyone for their contributions and support. Thank you very much.”