Mobility Resort Motegi Circuit, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

With so many motorbike manufacturers in Japan it would be a tragedy if MotoGP didn’t go to what is a home Grand Prix for 3 of the big teams. 

The Japanese sure love their motorsport too and MotoGP is no different. The likes of Yamaha, Suzuki and of course, Honda, all call the Twin Ring Motegi circuit their Home race. Having taken over from the Suzuka circuit in 2004. 

“I like the track a lot, its unique with its twists and turns, its up and downhill sections and the two tunnels.”

Roman Ramos – Spanish motorcycle racer

This short 4.8km (2.98 mile) track offers a fairly technical challenge to the riders with plenty of hairpin corners and heavy braking. This creates an exciting race with numerous overtaking locations around the track. 

Originally called Twin Ring Motegi, the circuit is now rebranded as the Mobility Resort Motegi and is situated around 2.5 hours North of central Tokyo. It’s a fantastic opportunity to watch a MotoGP race and enjoy Japan’s capital city and surrounding areas. 

MOTEGI: Repsol Honda’s Spanish rider Marc Marquez leads Ducati Pramac Racing’s Spanish rider Jorge Martin during a MotoGP practice session at the Japanese Grand Prix on September 23, 2022. – AFP

Japanese fans are quite unlike any other, happy to brave it out in the wettest of conditions to see their heroes pounding around this history race track. The circuit itself is a little rough-and-ready. Don’t expect ultra modern amenities here but the charm of this rural location and a fanatical crowd make it a must if you’re a real MotoGP fan.

Originally built in 1997 by Honda to showcase the Indycar series in Japan, running for 6 years as part of the American Indycar series.  You’ll find two tracks here in the form of the original “speedway” oval built for Indycar and the more modern circuit now used for MotoGP Championships.

It’s not the easiest track to get to, a bus or train out of Tokyo is your best bet and then a further bus ride to the circuit. Capacity is around 100,000 although the limited amount of accommodation nearby and the small car parks means you’re likely to share the circuit with around 65,000 or so spectators. 

Nearly all of the viewing options are uncovered grandstands with just a small amount of non-grandstand “general admission” viewing. This race is definitely one for the hardcore fans and for those eager to sample Japanese culture and motorsport history.

Viewing options

Grandstand V1

The Victory grandstand seats around 8400 spectators and, as you might have guessed, is on the pit straight where you’ll see the victor cross the line to complete the race.

V1 is the first of the blocks of this grandstand and is situated closer to the first corner than the start finish line. You’ll be looking to your right, back down the track to witness the start of the race and the MotoGP riders accelerating down to the first corner, a right hander that immediately leads on to turn 2 creating a full 180 curve taking the track behind the paddock area. 

Much of this is visible from V1 so you have a fairly wide field of view before the track disappears from view. 

The start line is some ways down the track to your right so you won’t be that close to the race buildup. This grandstand is all about turns 1 and 2.

It is however the closest grandstand to the track as the others are all pushed back by service roads and safety fencing. There’s just a patch of grass in front of you so you’re up close to the action as they battle it out into turn 1.

You’re actually sat within the indycar oval speedway here so your grandstand faces the paddocks but has the oval and another grandstand behind it. 

There’s only a handful of grandstands at Motegi so much of the excitement is within the V grandstands, so if first corner action is your thing, this is your best grandstand option for the Japanese MotoGP.

You’ll find amenities a short walk away through the oval grandstand facility and back to the main entrance area.

Grandstands V2-3

Located just after the pit lane exit. The Victory Grandstands of 2 and 3 have a slightly more panoramic view than V1 and bring you closer to the start line . The seating here is simple plastic “bleacher” style benches.

The seating all along the Victory grandstands is a fairly shallow tier so the views aren’t as great as they are at other MotoGP circuits on the main straight. Still whatever seat you’re in you are definitely close to the action with just a little patch of grass and a service road in front of you. 

Only the first 3 rows have safety fencing obscuring the view, so sit higher if you can. There’s also some guard rails on the grandstand which can obscure your panoramic viewing a little in places but it doesn’t really cause much of an issue. 

The view down to turn 1 is wide and unbroken and you’ll get to witness the MotoGP riders leaning heavily right as they take the right hander. You won’t see much as the circuit twists back on itself behind the paddock but you’ll certainly hear the bikes.

Arguably the best grandstand at Motegi is V3, situated right on the start finish area, you’ll see the riders lining up for the Japanese MotoGP right in front of you. You’ll also get a decent view into many of the garages although facilities here are fairly small and modest. The service road in front of the grandstand widens here pushing the grandstand back a little further than V1 and 2. Not ideal but as close to garages as you can get on this circuit.

V3 is a great grandstand for the race buildup, although a worse view of Turn 1 action. For an even better view into the pits a set in Grandstand A just behind V3,4, 5 and 6 might be a great option too. More on that later.

There’s a giant screen opposite V3 here on the inside of the track. Its proximity is decent enough to watch much of the race on. Certainly better than some of the other grandstands along the Victory straight.

Amenities here are all behind the speedway grandstand behind you.

Grandstands V4-5

Here’s where things get complicated. Grandstands V4 and V5 are situated on the same pit straight but the oval speedway has a mini pit road area here which is a service road for the MotoGP. Because of this the grandstand is situated some distance back from the track.

It feels oddly jarring to have all this asphalt in front of you with the bikes shooting past some distance away. You get used to it quickly but if you’re after proximity to the noise and action, this might not be the best fit.

On the plus side you can see the MotoGP riders navigating the last turn and accelerating hard down the main straight. You can also see the oval speedway in the distance, often used as a car park for operations vehicles for the race weekend.

The distance from the track, coupled with the shallow tiers of the grandstand and the fact the riders hug the left-hand side of the track along the straight, does mean the safety fencing will slightly obscure your view. But the bikes are travelling at immense speed along this straight so it’s merely a blur as you look from right to left.

The higher tiers here get a great view down the pit straight all the way to turn one with a decent amount of the 180 degree curve here. There’s also a break in the safety fencing to let vehicles onto the track so the view down to turn 1 is better here than it could have been.

There’s a decent view into most of the garages here so you’ll get to see more pit action than grandstands down at turn 1. There’s a giant TV to the left of you which isn’t the greatest of viewing angles. I’d recommend using the MotoGP app to get the most out of your race weekend with live timings and english speaking commentary.

Amenities, just like the grandstands mentioned above, are all behind the main speedway grandstand behind you. 

The grandstands here are all uncovered so be sure to bring waterproof clothing with you. The seats can often be wet before you arrive so you’ll need something dry to sit on. You can buy ponchos at the track by the entrance. I recommend bringing a plastic bag or two to sit on and keep wet ponchos in!

Grandstand V6

The last of the lower tier of grandstands along the Victory Straight at Motegi. It sits closest to the last turn on the track.

This grandstand enjoys the most track time of all the grandstands here, with a clear view down to Turns 11, 12, 13 and 14. It’s a fast flowing set of corners that can be very testing especially in wet conditions. 

It’s tough to see all the way down to turn 1 without straining your neck to peer around the other MotoGP fans in the crowd. 

There aren’t many grandstands at this track so this could be of the best as it offers a little bit of everything. Some garage viewing during and between sessions, race buildup and the start, a few corners to enjoy and the best of the amenities in the area, although they are fairly basic.

Like the rest of the grandstands here it’s simple plastic bleacher style benches on a temporary wooden and scaffolding structure. It’s also uncovered so bring waterproofs and something dry to sit on. 

This is probably my favourite grandstand at Motegi, especially the higher tiers.

Grandstand A

As I’ve mentioned for other grandstands along the Victory straight, there’s a “speedway” oval track behind grandstands V1 to 6. That speedway has its own more permanent grandstand and, in recent years this grandstand has been utilised as another view option. 

Grandstand A is a bit of a catch 22 when it comes to MotoGP viewing. It’s raised high up so the views are very panoramic and include all of the last few corners inside the speedway section of the track. From the straight just after turn 11 at the tunnel under the speedway, to the pit straight and onwards to turn 1 which you can see curving back around the paddock. 

You’ll also get a slightly broken view of other corners within the oval speedway. Before the track disappears out of sight through the tunnel to the North.

On the face of it Grandstand A sounds great but it comes with one major caveat. You’re much further way from the track than any other grandstand.

Not only is there a road in front of grandstand V, you’ve also got that grandstand in front of you plus the unused oval speedway. Not only that but the lower tiers of this big grandstand are not in use. So you’re in somewhat of a no man’s land here. The views in the distance are ok but the proximity is surely the worst of any grandstand at any MotoGP. 

On the plus side amenities are just behind the grandstand, shared with everyone in the Victory stands too. It’s really a compromised setup here but on the plus side there is a small amount of grandstand covering here to keep you dry. I’d still recommend bringing waterproofs though as conditions here can change quickly.

Grandstand Z

As I’ve mentioned, the Motegi  MotoGP circuit is situated partially inside the Speedway circuit. For the part that isn’t inside the track there are two tunnels to the North and East that the riders pass through.

Situated by the East tunnel you’ll find the only other grandstands at the circuit other than those along the pit straight. With Z on the outside of turn 11 and G on the inside.

The run down to the tight right hander of Turn 11 is long and fast with riders braking hard just to the right of you. The tunnel itself is situated in front of you. The left hand side of the grandstand enjoys the best views through the tunnel.

There’s a rather inconveniently placed service building raised up next to the safety fencing. It will obscure your view slightly and for some this is right on the entrance to turn 11. For the best views you’ll want to be situated a bit further up before the entrance to the 90 degree corner. 

The real plus here is your proximity to the track. The safety fencing does little to obscure views here even in lower rows. The grandstand is built into the man-made hill here so its steeper than Victory grandstands and taller too, offering better views up the track here. 

The change in elevation works in your favour here as the track descends down to a height to pass under the speedway oval.

The downside, not much happens here. You’ll get to watch the riders scream down to Turn 11 and through the tunnel, but it’s not the most active of overtaking spots. You also can’t see any of the other parts of the track from here. 

Amenities are sparse here too with just toilets behind the grandstand. You’ll need to follow the path south back to the entrance area where all of the food and drinks are located. 

Of the two grandstands here, grandstand Z is the preferred option. Just remember it’s uncovered and slightly uncomfortable too. So bring weather appropriate clothing and something comfortable to sit on!

Grandstand G

Located opposite grandstand G on the steep embankment of the man made hill, this slightly curved seating arrangement overlooks turn 11 just before the bridge.

Unlike Grandstand G this one suffers from one major problem, you can’t see the track inside or beyond the tunnel. You really just get the view of the fast run down to turn 11. 

You are higher up than G so the views of this section are slightly better but the viewing being restricted to just the entrance to the corner does leave a lot to be desired. 

The one plus side here isn’t the grandstand at all but the fact that the access to the grandstand involves a path at the top of the hill that overlooks the entirety of what’s inside the oval, including all of the last corners, main straight and turns 1, 2 and 3. But this vantage point isn’t really a viewing option for the weekend, just a nicety for a few minutes. 

The nearest toilets are a short walk away near the car park, or a walk along the hill and back down the other side of the tunnel, leading back to the entrance area. 

This is my least favourite grandstand at Motegi as the view is very limited and the amenities are non-existent. Still it’s a cheap option for those on a tight budget and the track viewing is very compact at this circuit so you’re never that far from everything you might need.

General admission

WIth all of the grandstands located either on the pit straight or at turn 11, this leaves a lot of general admission viewing for the rest of the track. 

The run down to turn 11 is a steep yet popular option. If the MotoGP riders make a mistake at the hairpin of turn 10 they have the entire length of this “back straight” to battle it out before braking hard for turn 11. Expect to see the bikes at their fastest here. 

My preferred general admission viewing would be the S curve of turns 7 and 8. You can also see the “130R” turn 6 here which is fast and exciting. You can also view the V corner of turn 9 in this section. 

Find a spot along the track right on turn 8 for the best of both worlds. The only downside here is that it’s a very fast flowing part of the track, requiring large amounts of run-off to catch any wayward bikes and bikers. So you’re never right up close to the track. 

There’s general admission viewing from inside the circuit too although this is very limited as you’re up against the oval of the speedway behind you. 

Amenities here are very limited, just a few toilets along the nearby path that leads to the North Gate and a long walk back to the South Gate. Head back to the main entrance for all the merchandise and refreshments you’ll need.

The Best Grandstand at the Japan MotoGP

The Victory Grandstand is undeniably the best place to sit at the Japanese MotoGP at the Mobility Resort Motegi Circuit. Block 3 has the best panoramic view, the best proximity to the track and the best view of the giant screen opposite.