Unveiling Legendary Motorbikes of Racing History
The Autódromo do Estoril is also a historic motorcycling venue, and Estoril Classics will bring to the Portuguese circuit some machines that have left their mark on the world of two wheels.
Portugal's oldest permanent circuit was the venue for the Portuguese Motorcycle Grand Prix race for the World Championship between 2000 and 2012.
One of the most iconic races took place in 2006 when Toni Elias narrowly defeated Valentino Rossi by just 0.002 seconds, marking the smallest gap in the MotoGP era. This defeat cost the Italian, who was riding for Yamaha at the time, the championship title.
The image of the two riders crossing the finish line side by side, with the naked eye unable to distinguish the winner, still lingers in the memories of motorcycle fans. This unforgettable moment will undoubtedly be relived during Estoril Classics when more than fifty racing bikes take to the track for demonstration laps in front of the expected crowd of over thirty thousand people at the event.
The oldest machine on display will be a 1968 Linto 500 GP. This Italian motorcycle was designed by Lino Tonti, the renowned engineer who created numerous racing bikes during the 1960s and 1970s.
One of the examples of this model will be at Estoril, and it played a pivotal role in enabling Alberto Pagani to secure his first Motorbike World Championship victory at the 1969 Grand Prix of Nations in Imola.
Among the most recent additions is the Suzuki GSX-R 750, which clinched victory at this year's Manx Grand Prix, ridden by the renowned rider Michael Dunlop.
British rider Dunlop ranks as the second most successful competitor on the challenging Isle of Man circuit, boasting twenty-five victories—just one short of his uncle, Joey Dunlop. In 2023, he triumphed in the event, which featured six four-lap races on the 60.7-kilometre circuit.
Between the eras represented by these two machines, there lies a rich history of motorcycles that alone is reason enough to visit the Autódromo do Estoril between October 6th and 8th. You can observe these magnificent machines in the paddock and witness them in action on the track.
One of the bikes that will undoubtedly attract a lot of attention is the 1999 Suzuki GSX 750 R. This motorcycle claimed victory at the prestigious 1999 Liége 24 Hours race, held at the majestic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, as part of the FIM Endurance World Championship. The Japanese machine proudly sported the colors of Team Shell Portugal and was piloted by the French riders Bruno Bonhuil and Michel Graziano, along with Portugal's own Telmo Pereira, making it an iconic symbol of motorcycling in our country.
From the World Superbike Championship, we have the magnificent Ducati Panigale Aruba F18, which Marco Melandri rode during the 2018 season. The Italian rider secured two wins in Australia, and finished fifth in the riders' standings.
Suzuki and Yamaha contribute four iconic bikes from the 500cc World Motorcycle Championship. Among the Suzukis, you'll find a 1976 500 RG MK1 and a 1989 500 RGV XR75. The former was ridden by Giacomo Agostini, widely regarded as the greatest motorcycle racer of all time.
The Suzuki 500 RGV XR75 was used by Kevin Schwantz throughout the 1989 season, during which he secured the highest number of Grand Prix victories. Only retirements prevented the American from contending for the championship, and he ultimately finished fourth behind the champion, Eddie Lawson on a Honda, Wayne Rainey, and Christian Sarron, both riding Yamaha motorcycles.
The Iwata-based manufacturer, Yamaha, will showcase a 1981 Akai 500 0W53 and a 1993 YZR 500 0WF2.
The machine from the early 1980s was ridden by the celebrated Barry Sheene, a two-time 500cc world champion, often dubbed the 'James Hunt of motorcycles' due to his lifestyle and close friendship with the 1976 Formula 1 World Champion. Under Sheene's control, this Yamaha secured victory at the Swedish Grand Prix and propelled him to a fourth-place finish in the 1981 500cc World Riders' Championship.
The Yamaha 500 YZR 0WF2 evokes mixed emotions among motorcycle fans, as it marked the end of Wayne Rainey's career. The American rider appeared poised to reclaim his fourth world title, with four wins to his name. However, during the 1993 Italian Grand Prix, he suffered a crash that left him paralyzed from the waist down, rendering him unable to walk again. Nevertheless, he managed to secure the runner-up position in the World Championship.
The 'cherry on top' will be the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike that enabled Miguel Oliveira to win the 2021 Catalan Grand Prix. This Austrian motorcycle will be on display in the paddock, and over the course of the three-day event, its design and technology will be explained.
These are just a few of the most iconic motorcycles that will be featured at the Estoril Classics on October 6th, 7th, and 8th, creating a wave of excitement among two-wheel enthusiasts who will not want to miss the Estoril Classics.
Throughout the three days, there will also be presentations about the history and technical specifications of each of these motorcycles, allowing passionate fans to uncover all the secrets of these fantastic machines that have left their mark on the world's racetracks.
Paddock tickets are already available for purchase (on the official Estoril Classics website, through BoL, and also in physical stores such as FNAC, Worten, El Corte Inglês, and CTT Correios). Some are on the verge of selling out, making it increasingly clear that the number of attendees will surpass the thirty thousand who were present at the 2022 edition.
Access to grandstand A is free, while entry to the paddock will cost 20 euros on Friday and 30 euros on the other days, or 50 euros for the entire event. Paddock ticket holders can get up close to the machines and teams, as well as enjoy all the activities, including the 'Pitstop Village'.
FRIDAY (6 OCT)
10:45-11:45 Presentations & Warm Ups
15:55-16:15 On-track Demos
SATURDAY (7 OCT)
10:30-11:30 Presentations & Warm Ups
12:30-12:50 On-track Demos
-15:00-16:00 Presentations & Warm Ups
SUNDAY (8 OCT)
10:00-11:00 Presentations & Warm Ups
11:45-12:05 On-track Demos
15:00-16:00 Presentations & Warm Ups