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The 10 best motorcycle GP riders in history

The 10 best motorcycle GP riders in history

Who are the best motorcycle GP riders in history?

Since 1949, each year the best motorcycle GP riders compete in a world championship. Whether first on 500cc two-stroke, or now on 1000cc four-stroke machines, Moto GP has always been the premier category of motorcycle speed racing.

From John Surtees and Mike Hailwood, who dominated the 50s and 60s, to Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez, who still compete today, the standings feature the greatest drivers of each era.

Discover the ranking of best motorcycle GP riders of all time.


Top 10 Best Motorcycle GP Riders In History

10. Casey Stoner

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Number of world titles in Moto GP: 2 (2007, 2011)

Casey Stoner is a double world champion Australian GP motorcycle rider. After his debut in 125cc and 250cc, he started on a GP motorcycle in 2006, riding a Honda. The following year, he was hired by Ducati and won the title of world champion, notably beating Valentino Rossi. Stoner will finish vice-champion the following year, then the performances will be less and less good.

In 2011, Casey Stoner will then return to Honda with the Repsol Honda team. He won his second world champion title there, finishing 110 points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. During the year 2012, the Australian driver injured his ankle and could not keep his title. He will end his young career the same year. Casey Stoner is still one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history.


9. Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo

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Number of world titles in Moto GP: 3 (2010, 2012, 2015)

Jorge Lorenzo is a Spanish GP motorcycle rider who was three times world champion in the 2010s. He made his debut in 125cc at 13, and twice won the 250cc world championship in an Aprilla. In 2008, he will make his debut in Moto GP with Yamaha alongside Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo won the title of world champion 3 times in 2010, 2012 and 2015. He also finished 3 times vice-champion, finishing behind drivers like Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner or Marc Márquez. Jorge Lorenzo is arguably one of the best motorcycle GP riders of all time.


8. Kenny Roberts

Kenny Roberts is one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history

Number of world titles in Moto GP: 3 (1978, 1979, 1980)

Kenny Roberts is an American motorcycle GP rider, three-time world champion. He made his debut in dirt racing, where he won the AMA Grand National Championship twice and the Daytona 200 three times. Roberts then joined the Moto GP championship in 1978.

The American pilot won 3 world championship titles in a row during his first three participations. An incredible feat, given that Roberts was unfamiliar with European circuits. He continued in Moto GP until 1983, when he finished second, 2 points behind Freddie Spencer. With his three world titles, Kenny Roberts is one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history.


7. Eddie Lawson

Number of world titles in Moto GP: 4 (1984, 1986, 1988, 1989)

Eddie Lawson is an American motorcycle GP rider, a worthy successor to Kenny Roberts at Yamaha. He is one of the best motorcycle GP riders of all time. He started out as a Track Racing driver, then moved on to the 250cm3 category where he had already won several titles. It was in 1983 that Lawson made his debut in motorcycle GP with Yamaha.

Between 1984 and 1988, the American rider won 3 world championship titles with Yamaha. In 1989, he changed manufacturer and joined the Rothmans Honda team. Eddie Lawson won another league title in stride and became the first motorcycle GP rider to become champion two years in a row for two different manufacturers.


6. John Surtees

Surtees is one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history

Number of world titles in Moto GP: 4 (1956, 1958, 1959, 1960)

John Surtees is a British motorcycle and motor racer who became legendary for being the only person to be world champion in Moto GP and Formula 1. He made his debut in 1951, but his dominance in Moto GP would start mostly as early as 1956, year of his first world title in 500cc.

Between 1958 and 1960, John Surtees won 3 world championship titles in a row in 500cm3, but also 3 world titles in 350cm3. From 1960, he became a Formula 1 driver. Even though he was not part of the ranking of the best formula 1 drivers in history, he nevertheless became world champion in 1964 and enjoyed a successful automotive career.


5. Mike Hailwood

Number of world titles in Moto GP: 4 (1962, 1963, 1964, 1965)

Mike Hailwood is a British GP motorcycle rider who has won four world titles. From 1961, he shines in the Isle of Man TT, where he is the first person to win 3 races in one week in the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc categories. The same year Hailwood also won the world title in 250cc on Honda. From 1962, he was crowned 4 times in a row world champion in Moto GP. Mike Hailwood is also the first pilot to achieve this feat.

He won a total of 14 races at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, with his last title in 1979, 18 years after the first. He is a very well-known and respected driver, especially in England, who has also taken part in car races such as Formula 1 or the 24 hours of Le Mans. But he is best known for being one of the best motorcycle GP riders of all time.


4. Mick Doohan

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Number of world titles in Moto GP: 5 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)

Mick Doohan is an Australian Moto GP rider who has entered 137 Moto GP races, of which he won 54 in total. He made his 500cc debut in 1989 at Honda and began to make a name for himself. In 1992, Mick Doohan was close to winning his first world title, but a serious injury prevented him from finishing the season. He returned the following year and then dominated the discipline in the second half of the 90s.

Between 1994 and 1998, Doohan won the world title in Moto GP affiliate five times. He was the first to achieve this performance since Agostini in the 1960s. In 1997, the Australian driver won 12 of the 15 races of the season, a record that held until 2014, when he was beaten by Marc Marquez. After another accident and a new serious injury in 1999, he retired from sports. Mick Doohan is still considered today as one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history.


3. Marc Marquez

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Number of world titles in Moto GP: 6 (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

Marc Marquez is a very talented Spanish Moto GP rider. He started in 125cc at the age of 15 and became world champion in the same category in 2010 at the age of 17. Marquez then switched to moto2, where he also became world champion in 2012 after his second season. The young prodigy then decides to start in Moto GP in 2013.

From his first race, he impressed by finishing on the podium. Marc Marquez is having an exceptional season and becomes the youngest world champion in motorcycle GP history at the age of only 20. He has since won 6 more world titles but an injury prevented him from finishing the 2020 season. The Spanish rider is quite simply one of the best motorcycle GP riders in history, and he can still climb in this ranking. he continues his exploits.


2. Giacomo Agostini

Giacomo Agostini is one of the Top 10 best motorcycle GP riders in history

Number of world titles in Moto GP: 8 (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975)

Giacomo Agostini is an Italian motorcycle GP rider who is still the most successful rider in history today. Between 1966 and 1975, he dominated not only the premier class of the 500cc, but also in the 350cc. His professionalism as a rider, but also in the preparation of his machines, made him one of the greatest motorcycle GP riders of all time.

The Italian rider won his first world championship title in 1966 in a 500cc. He will keep his title of champion for 7 consecutive years from 1966 to 1972, then a last title in 1975. On 350cc, he also won the world championship 7 seasons in a row between 1968 and 1974. With 15 world titles in total, Agostini holds a record that will be almost impossible to break.


1. Valentino Rossi

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Number of world titles in Moto GP: 7 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009)

Valentino Rossi is an Italian motorcycle GP rider, who still competes in the world championship today, at the age of 42. He made his 125cc debut in 1996, and won the world title the following year, before switching to 250cc. Here again, Rossi won the title of world champion in his second season, before moving to the premier category.

Between 2001 and 2005, he won five consecutive Moto GP World Championship titles. Valentino Rossi again won two titles in 2008 and 2009. His career is exceptionally long, with his participation in his 20th season in 2021. He holds many historical records, such as the number of victories in motorcycle GP races or that of the number of podiums. Valentino Rossi is arguably the best motorcycle GP rider of all time.


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