For many motorsports fans and more specifically, motorcycle racing fans, the MotoGP is the pinnacle of sporting events taking place throughout the year. But what makes it so unique?

What is MotoGP?

In short, the MotoGP is the Grand Prix of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme or ‘FIM’, the MotoGP season takes place across a variety of tracks all over the world including the UK, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Italy and most recently; Valencia, Spain.

The 2019 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, officially called 2019 FIM MotoGP World Championship, was the 71st FIM Road Racing World Championship season. For 17 years, MotoGP has been the top division for motorcycle sport, ever since the four-stroke era began.

But what makes this event so special to be a part of? The Rapid Retail team were delighted to have been invited along as guests to the Petronas Motorsport team to understand the experience first-hand.

What sets MotoGP apart from other events?

Several elements make MotoGP a fantastic experience for motorsport and general sports fans alike. With a vast history in the motorsport industry under his belt, Rapid Retail MD Nick Daffern was among the team attending the event in sunny Spain:

“Being at the final event of the MotoGP season proved to be one of the most entertaining experiences I’ve had within spectator sport. The atmosphere, the fans, the overall experience. All of these things came together to create a unique and electric spectacle, incomparable to other sporting events.

It’s more than just the motorsport that brings people to MotoGP. You can tell from merely being there that those attending are genuinely passionate about being a part of something bigger. There is something about sport that gives brings people together in a beautiful way. This sport is one that, when experienced first hand, will rope you in and entice you to relive the experience over and over again.”

During the visit, the team saw first-hand superstar Marc Marquez take the 25 points, leading the way with a final time of 0:41:21.469, earning him his eighth Grand Prix world championship since his debut in 2013.

As with Formula1, MotoGP has its own electric counterpart that offers the same thrilling racing experience, harnessing only the power of electricity. These E-bikes are tuned to the highest standard, and although they are 60% heavier than a MotoGP machine, they still manage 0-60mph in 3 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph.

With the world becoming more environmentally conscious, MotoE will surely only grow in popularity, with many motorsports fans understanding and appreciating the output of electric vehicles at the highest level.

What does the future look like for MotoGP?

An article last year posted on the MotoGP website stated a record 2,884,242 fans sat in the stands over the 2018 season, which was 218,436 more than in 2017. Buriram, Thailand, had 222,525 people heading through the gates over the race weekend, becoming the most-attended event of 2018 on its debut. Over the 2019 season, we’ve seen staggering numbers across the varying locations, although we are yet to see any final figures since the closing weekend.

The future is bright for fans of MotoGP with some talented riders stepping into the spotlight, such as 20-year-old Fabio Quartararo who gave the Spaniard Marc Márquez a run for his money in Valencia, taking 2nd place with a mere second separating the two competitors.

Many pundits are predicting the imminent success of the Frenchman Quartararo, who although sits at 5th place in the overall table, is set to be the ‘fly in Marquez’s ointment’ over the 2020 season, with many years to develop still ahead of him.

With exciting rivalries and up and coming superstars in the ranks, it’s hard to ignore the electric atmosphere generated by this event, its competitors and its fans. For those lucky enough to attend, there’s more than just racing to enjoy.

What does the MotoGP offer as an event, beyond motorsport?

As with any sporting event, the atmosphere and enjoyment of attending don’t solely stem from witnessing the sport. There are several additional services and things to do that create the full package for visiting fans. For those looking for all-access, there’s much more on offer as part of the VIP package, granting access to exclusive areas and facilities, while providing gourmet food and unique entertainment.

‘There can be no more exhilarating, glamorous, and thrilling environment to host an event than that of MotoGP™, a sport that generates passion and excitement wherever it goes around the world.

The MotoGP VIP Village™ offers an exclusive entertainment programme with superb gourmet cuisine and enviable views of the action to bring together the perfect balance of excitement, style and exclusivity.’

So, with high attendances and fans in the spirit of the day, there’s an excellent opportunity for merchandising, food and beverage sales, activation and ticketing solutions to be implemented to capture additional revenue – not just in the VIP areas.

With fans flocking in numbers, utilising portable or ‘pop-up’ outlets could undoubtedly be the key to creating accessible merchandise and refreshments for the masses, minimising queue times and allowing fans to browse goodies, grab something to eat or even take part in games and other activations on offer.

Rapid Retail has a plethora of products suitable for such events; we look to implement these products and demonstrate the success of retail merchandising, catering and activation solutions across MotoGP and motorsport as a whole. As with many sectors looking for the best and most efficient way to achieve these things, not everyone wants to be the first – but once trialled, tested and proven to work, everyone is eager to jump on the bandwagon. Let’s see how long it takes for the motorsport industry to catch on!

Did you know?

To round things off, here are some interesting facts about MotoGP, courtesy of BT Sport:

MotoGP bikes are virtually as quick as F1 cars

1000cc 4 stroke MotoGP bikes top out at just over 220 mph, which is only slightly slower than the Formula One record of 231 mph. F1 cars average around 118 mph around the track – roughly 10 mph more than the MotoGP bikes.

They can accelerate faster

MotoGP bikes have a crazy weight-to-power ratio, meaning they can accelerate remarkably quickly. This means bikes can go from 0 to 60 mph in around 2.5 seconds, fractionally faster than the average F1 car. The 250 horsepower bikes also maintain speeds of more than 100 mph through corners!

Riders can lose 2 litres of sweat and 4kg in weight during a race

It takes incredible physical strength to shift a 160kg bike around the track at breakneck speed and, in hotter countries, this leads to particularly high levels of water and weight loss.

Around corners, tyre contact with the track is the size of a 50p piece

Riders lean at a 55-degree angle as they hurtle around corners, which means only a wafer-thin area of the bike’s tyre is in contact with the track. This incredibly small margin for error helps explain why crashes occur so frequently.

Every bike is a handcrafted, one-off model

Each rider is treated to a custom-made vehicle with an engine built exclusively for them, using the latest, top-secret innovations to gain tiny advantages over rival manufacturers. Unsurprisingly, they’re kept locked away and under tight surveillance throughout the year.

And is worth around $2 million

Since they’re so hard to replicate, and they’re tailor-made for each driver’s specific needs, the average bike is worth a seven-digit sum. However, MotoGP executives deem the vehicles priceless and believe they’d fetch far more than $2 million (£1,567,398) on the market.

Kangaroo leather is often used for bikers’ outfits

The leathers that cling to the riders’ bodies are, surprisingly, no more than 1.4mm thick, which helps reduce the extra weight to about 4.5kg or less. The tailors often prefer kangaroo leather because it’s both more durable and more flexible than cowhide.

Gear changes take just 0.0009 seconds

Shifting between the six gears on a MotoGP bike is one of the most important, and challenging, skills in the sport. Cutting-edge technology allows riders to change remarkably quickly in an upside-down gearbox (riders must downshift to increase the gears).

Italian legend Valentino Rossi has won the World Championship seven times – but not since 2009

Rossi is undoubtedly the sport’s most iconic figure, but he hasn’t managed to lift the trophy in any of the past seven seasons. The Italian finished second last year, trailing 47 points behind Marc Márquez after retiring from four of the 18 races. However, he’s currently just 28 points off the leader.

A Spaniard has won each of the last five World Championships

Each of the past five – and six of the past seven – world titles have ended up in Spain, thanks to three victories each for Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo, and this trend looks set to continue. Three of the top four riders in the 2017 standings are Spanish, including the highly regarded 22-year-old Maverick Viñales, but Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso is currently in contention after tasting victory in each of the past two races.

While Japanese manufacturers have won all but one World Championship since 1974

Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha completely dominate MotoGP. Aside from Italian manufacturer Ducati’s 2007 triumph, when its rider, Casey Stoner, won an incredible 10 out of 18 races, these three Japanese companies have won all 42 manufacturers’ titles since 1974. Their dominance shows little sign of ending: five of the current top six racers in 2017 are riding Yamaha or Honda bikes.

References & image sources: motogp.com; sport.bt.com; bikesportnews.com