MotoGP: Honda at 700 grand prix wins and counting
It all started with Australian rider Tom Phillis in 1960 and reached the mega milestone of 700 grand prix wins for Honda in 2015 with Marc Marquez at Indianapolis on Sunday.
And the inspiration of company founder, Soichiro Honda, has been the guiding light for one of the most successful streaks in global motorsport.
Honda’s closest rivals on the all-time FIM grand prix win list are Yamaha on 489 followed by Aprilia 294, MV Agusta 275 and Suzuki 155.
In 1954, Mr. Honda said that his company aspired to "the dream of becoming the world’s best.”
Six years later in 1960, Honda won their first FIM Road Racing World Championship grand prix with Phillis’s victory in the 125cc Spanish GP on the RC 143.
Fifty years later, Marquez, riding a 1000cc Honda RC213V, notched GP win No. 700 for Honda with his superb late race surge in the Indianapolis GP.
It was special day at the Brickyard for Honda who also claimed their 699th grand prix earlier in the day with the win by Belgian rider Livio Loi, on a 250cc Honda NSF250RW, in the Moto3 race.
For Marquez, the 700th win for Honda was his third of the season and maintained his unbeaten MotoGP record in America across three circuits at Indianapolis, COTA (Texas) and Laguna Seca.
The winning story for Honda has been across both two-stroke and four-stroke engine eras with racing seen as a laboratory on wheels in capacity classes from 50cc to 1000cc.
The wins include the premier 500cc class, which became known as MotoGP when the category switch to 990cc four strokes in 2002.
American riders Freddie Spencer and Nicky Hayden are part of the Honda history, both winning grands prix and world championships.
In 1982 Spencer, won the 500cc Belgian GP, the first victory for the innovative three-cylinder NS500 two-stroke. Hayden’s first career MotoGP win was the 2005 US GP at Laguna Seca on the 990cc four-stroke RC211V.
Earlier, Honda had taken an 11-year break from grand prix racing beginning in 1967 after winning 138 races. They returned in 1979 and have been a constant presence on the grid ever since.
Other milestones include Honda’s 500th victory in 2001, when Italian rider Valentino Rossi was victorious in the 500cc class (NSR500) at the season-opening Japanese Grand Prix.
Then in 2005, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa rode a Honda RS250RW to victory in the 250cc class at Phillip Island in Australia, marking Honda’s 600th grand prix win.
While the 700th win at Indianapolis is significant for Honda, it is also an important moment for Marquez as it confirms his return to form and still an outside challenger to Yamaha rivals Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo for this year’s world championship.
Following his win in last month’s German GP, Marquez has now won two consecutive races.
Note: The wins counted for Honda exclude the Moto2 class since 2010 with all bikes powered by a control spec Honda 600cc engines and the Moto3 wins in 2012 as the registered constructor was FTR Honda.