Some of the corners on the MotoGP calendar circuits have names that have been around for decades. Everyone knows them, but often has no idea why certain corners in Misano etc. are called. Brutapela or Lukey Heights are called. Lets look into the origins of some of these legendary corners and their naming.
Le Mans, Curves 9 and 10: Chemin aux Boeufs
Turns 9 and 10 on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans have the charming name “Chemin aux Boeufs,” which rolls off the tongue easily. The two S-curves are named after a public road in the immediate vicinity of the race track. Roughly translated into German, it means something like “Path of the Oxen.” A handful of roads in France share the name, but the most famous of them has been renamed and thus no longer exists. The ‘Chemin aux Boeufs’ was built in 1860 and connected the town of La Chapelle with Montmartre and Batignolles-Moncau. However, Le Chemin aux Boeufs on the race track in Le Mans is still very much intact and has also been immortalized with curves 9 and 10 on the Bugatti circuit.
Jerez, Turn 6: Dry Sack
Many corners on the Circuito de Jerez are named after legendary Spanish riders – Jorge Lorenzo, Jorge Martinez Aspar and Angel Nieto are just a few examples. Turn 6, however, which bears the name “Dry Sack,” immediately stands out as different. The right-hand bend after the straight is apparently not named after a MotoGP rider, but after a local wine. The area around Jerez de la Frontera is famous 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. Curve 6 of the Circuito de Jerez is named after the sherry and perpetuates it as part of Andalusian culture.
Mugello, turn 1: San Donato
Each of the 14 corners of the Mugello circuit has its own name and meaning. Borgo San Lorenzo and Scarperia, for example, are named after places in the area. Turn 1 on the historic circuit, however, has a different origin. “San Donato”, as the name might suggest, comes from Saint Donatus. Over the centuries, many men have been given this title. Donius of Fiesole, however, was bishop of the city of Fiesole, located near Florence in the vicinity of the circle, until 876 AD.
Assen, turn 1: Haarbocht
At Assen, too, almost every one of the 18 corners has its own name, but while corners like “Timmerbocht” are named after former Dutch motorcyclists, the origins of turn 1, “Haarbocht,” are quite different. This section of the track is named after the nearby forest that starts just around the corner. There used to be a heath nearby called ‘De Haar’, which gave the forest strip and the corner its name. The TT Circuit Assen now surrounds a road of the same name, which serves as the access road to the GP circuit. It also owes its name to the former moorland behind the circuit.
Silverstone, turns 2 to 6: Maggots, Becketts, Chapel
Silverstone is one of the most legendary race tracks in the world. The “Hangar Straight” refers to its former life as a military airfield, but there are other, less obvious names for corners on the circuit. Probably the most famous part of the circuit is the “Maggots-Becketts-Chapel” series of curves. These three names obviously have a particular origin. The name “Maggots” is not derived from the English word for a larval or caterpillar species, but refers to the “Maggot Moor” behind the track. “Becketts” owes its name to Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170, who was canonized after his violent death. The chapel also named after him.
Misano, turn 9: Brutapela
In 1983, in order to boost tourism on the Italian Adriatic, the turn names of the World Circuit Marco Simoncelli were named after towns in the surrounding area. The circuit itself remained unchanged. However, the general public was not enthusiastic about the idea of promoting tourism through this name change and continued to use the original names. Over time, the track’s owners saw sense and began to reuse many of the original names. An example of this is Turn 9, which is now called “Brutapela.” The corner takes its name from a farmer whose last name was “Brutapela”. He used to own some fields around the circuit.
Phillip Island, Turn 9: Lukey Heights
Apart from Gardner Straight, Stoner and Doohan Corner, Turn 9, ‘Lukey Heights’ is probably the most famous at the Phillip Island circuit, but while virtually every MotoGP fan can imagine where the names Gardner, Doohan and Stoner come from, the situation with Lukey Heights is a little more complicated. But Turn 9 is also named after a racer, albeit not a very successful one. Len Lukey competed in car racing Down Under in the late 1950s, but had better luck as a businessman. Among other things, he owned the Phillip Island Circuit. He is at least still remembered today with his own corner.