The origins of names for turns in MotoGP

Some of the turns on the circuits on the MotoGP calendar have names that have been around for decades. Everyone knows them but often don't have a clue why certain corners at Misano etc are called Brutapela or Lukey Heights. has looked into the origins of some of these legendary corners and how they got their names.

Jerez, Turn 6: Dry Sack

Many turns on the Circuito de Jerez are named after legendary Spanish riders – Jorge Lorenzo, Jorge Martinez Aspar and Angel Nieto are but a few examples. However, Turn 6, which bears the name 'Dry Sack', immediately stands out as being different. The right-hander after the straight is apparently not named after a MotoGP rider but after a local wine. The area around Jerez de la Frontera is known for sherry, a Spanish white wine produced exclusively in Andalusia. It used to be particularly popular with the English nobility, who gave it the name 'sack'. 'Dry Sack' is a special sherry produced by an Anglo-Spanish company in Jerez. Turn 6 at the Circuito de Jerez is named after the sherry, immortalizing it as a part of Andalusian culture.

Le Mans, Turns 9 & 10: Chemin aux Boeufs

Turns 9 & 10 on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans have the charming name 'Chemin aux Boeufs' which rolls easily off the tongue. The two S-bends are named after a public road in the immediate vicinity of the circuit. Roughly translated into English, it means something like 'path of the oxen'. A handful of streets in France share the name, but the most famous of them has been renamed and has thus ceased to exist. The 'Chemin aux Boeufs' was built in 1860, connecting the town of La Chapelle with  Montmartre and Batignolles-Moncau. However, le Chemin aux Boeufs at the circuit in Le Mans is still very much intact and has also been immortalized with Turns 9 & 10 at the Bugatti circuit.

Mugello, Turn 1: San Donato

Each of the 14 corners at the Mugello track has its own name and meaning. Borgo San Lorenzo and Scarperia are, for example, named after places in the area. Turn 1 at the historic track, however, has different origins. 'San Donato', as the name perhaps suggests, is taken from Saint Donatus. Down the centuries, many men have been given this title. However, Donius of Fiesole was, until 876 AD, bishop of the town of Fiesole which is situated near Florence close to the circuit.

Assen, Turn 1: Haarbocht

Once again at Assen, almost every one of the 18 turns has its own name, but whereas corners like 'Timmerbocht' are named after former Dutch motorcycle riders, the origins of Turn 1, 'Haarbocht', are quite different. This section of track is named after the nearby forest which starts just behind the corner. There used to be a heath nearby called 'De Haar' which gave the strip of forest and the corner its name. The TT Circuit Assen now encloses a street with the same name, which is used as an access road to the GP circuit. Its name is also taken from the former moorland behind the track.

Silverstone, Turns 2 through to 6: Maggots, Becketts, Chapel

Silverstone is one of the world's most legendary racetracks. The 'Hangar Straight' makes reference to its previous life as a military airfield, but there are other less obvious names for corners at the circuit. Probably the most famous part of the circuit is the 'Maggots-Becketts-Chapel' sequence of turns. These three names obviously have a special origin. The name 'Maggots' does not derive from the English word for a type of grub or larva but refers to 'Maggot Moor' behind the track. 'Becketts' owes its name to Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170, who was made a saint after his violent death. 'St Thomas à Becket Chapel ' which was also named after him was demolished in 1943 to make way for the airfield and subsequently gave its name to the famous turn.

Misano, Turn 9: Brutapela

In order to give tourism on the Italian Adriatic a boost, the names for turns at the World Circuit Marco Simoncelli were named after towns in the area in 1983. The circuit itself remained unchanged. The general public, however, were not keen on the idea of promoting tourism through this change of names and continued to use the original names. In time, the owners of the circuit saw sense and began to re-use many of the original names. An example of this is Turn 9 which now bears the name 'Brutapela'. The corner gets its name from a farmer, whose surname was 'Brutapela'. He used to own some fields around the track.

Phillip Island, Turn 9: Lukey Heights

Apart from Gardner Straight, Stoner and Doohan Corner, Turn 9, 'Lukey Heights' is probably the most famous on the Phillip Island Circuit, but while practically every MotoGP fan can think of where the names Gardner, Doohan and Stoner come from, the situation is a bit more complicated with Lukey Heights. However, Turn 9 is also named after a racing driver, albeit not a very successful one. Len Lukey competed in car races Down Under in the late 1950s but had more luck as a business man. He used to own, among other things, the Phillip Island Circuit. He is at least still remembered today with his own corner.

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