Being a particularly important date in the calendar, throughout history the World Championship has very rarely been played on an Easter Sunday. It’s only happened less than a dozen times since the very first season in 1949.
For several years in the beginning, the seasons started much later than today, notably at the end of May or the beginning of June. As the calendar lengthened, the seasons started earlier, but it was not until 1973 that Easter Sunday was chosen for a Grand Prix.
On this occasion, the French GP kicked off and the winner in the premier class at the time, 500cc, was Jarno Saarinen. Eight more times since then there have been world championship races over Easter weekend, with France hosting the most races on those dates (on three occasions).
The last time MotoGP took place on Easter Sunday was last year when the Doha GP was held on April 4. The winner was Fabio Quartararo, in what would be his first triumph on the way to the title.
This is a list of occasions when the World Championship has been played on an Easter Sunday.
April 22, 1973: French GP (Winner 500cc: Jarno Saarinen)
March 30, 1975: French GP (Winner 500cc: Giacomo Agostini)
April 3, 1983: French GP (Winner 500cc: Freddie Spencer)
March 26, 1989: Japanese GP (Winner 500cc: Kevin Schwantz)
April 19, 1992: Malaysian GP (500cc winner: Mick Doohan)
April 7, 1996: Indonesian GP (500cc winner: Mick Doohan)
April 8, 2012: Qatar GP (MotoGP winner: Jorge Lorenzo)
April 4, 2021: Doha GP (MotoGP winner: Fabio Quartararo)
Note: The 2009 Qatar GP was originally scheduled for Easter Sunday 12 April that year, but rain forced the postponement to Monday.