A well-known football television pundit and international footballer famously once declared to millions of viewers that a certain top club would never win anything by playing ‘kids’ in their team. Within two years that club won the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. I wonder what he would have made of MotoGP™ now where the kids are doing even better than alright.
The average age of the three Grand Prix winners in Portimao last week was the youngest ever in the 73-year history of Grand Prix racing. I cannot help wondering how the riders can possibly get any younger and can those MotoGP™ bikes possibly go any quicker? The average age of the three Grand Prix winners in Portugal was just 19 years 289 days. Yes under 20 years old!
Not surprisingly Moto3™ sensation Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) kept that average age to record levels. The rookie secured his second win of the season aged just 16 years 328 days. Moto2™ winner Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was 20 years 177 days old when he took the chequered flag in Portimao to win his third Grand Prix and first in his rookie Moto2™ season.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo was positively the ‘old man’ with his second MotoGP™ victory of the season. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider took the lead in the World Championship aged 21 years 363 days.
The previous record was set at the 2014 Americas Grand Prix in Austin. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) won Moto3™, Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) Moto2™ and not surprisingly Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in MotoGP™. Their average age was 19 years 320 days.
So, what about the other end of the scale and the highest average age of the Grand Prix winners at one event. Sixty-eight years ago, in the 1953 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuic Park in Barcelona, the average age of the three winners was 40 years 224 days which is more the double the average age in Portugal last week.
Italian Angelo Copeta grabbed his one and only 125 cc Grand Prix victory riding the MV Agusta when he was aged 34 years 163 days. Fellow Italian World Champion Enrico Lorenzetti won the 250-cc race riding the Moto Guzzi aged 42 years 273 days. The oldest of them all was Englishman Fergus Anderson who won the 500-cc race at the tender age of 44 years 237 days. Never was there a clearer indication of how the second world war robbed future Grand Prix winners of their adolescence. In 1953, the war had only ended eight years ago.
Can the average winner’s age possibly drop even further? The Worldwide competitions set up to bring youngsters into Grand Prix racing suggests it could. Could a 40-year-old rider ever win a MotoGP™ race? A little more unlikely, and so over to you Vale to shatter yet another record.