Sadly this season’s MotoGP championship hasn’t started yet with several races canceled or postponed. But we can use this time to remember back to the best riders of the tournament from the early ages to the most recent days. Besides winning multiple world champion titles the best MotoGP riders of all time have helped to make the sport popular around the world.
The first Grand Prix Road-Racing world championship was held in 1949 by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme. Three classes were made in the 1990s, the 125cc, 250cc, and MotoGP, which is the top division. It replaced the former 500cc in 2002 with bigger, 990cc bikes. Italian and Spanish riders have been the most successful in the sport, while some American and British riders achieved successes in the earlier times. Let’s see the best of them who are all worldwide known by motorsports fans.
4-time world champions in the best MotoGP riders of all time
8. John Surtees
In the early eras of motorsport, John Surtees has managed to win four championships in a row between 1956 and 1960 in the 500cc category. He was riding for Italian team MV Agusta and won the first title for the team in the senior class. Later Surtees joined Formula 1 and produced a performance no one could repeat so far. As he won the F1 world championship in 1964 with Ferrari. Online gambling sites in the UK are hoping for British success in Formula 1 this season as well with Lewis Hamilton winning his 7th world title. Later Surtees founded his own team, Surtees Racing Organisation, and spent 9 more years in Formula 1, Formula 2, and Formula 5000.
7. Geoff Duke
Another great British rider and 4-time world champion were Geoff Duke, who started his career in the Isle of Man TT in 1948 and won three championships for the team of Norton. Then he switched to Italian manufacturer Gilera and became world champion in the 500cc category between 1953 and 1955 following his first victory in 1951. Duke also tried himself in car racing, he was competing for Aston Martin though he didn’t achieve such results as in motor racing.
6. Eddie Lawson
One of the first American motor racing world champions, Eddie Lawson started in AMA Racing Championships, then upgraded to the MotoGP in 1983. He became the teammate of another American world champion, Kenny Roberts at Team Yamaha. He was the world champion in 1984, 1986, and 1988, then changed teams and joined Honda, where he won his fourth world title.
Lawson was famous for his consistent riding and always finishing with points, earning him the name Steady Eddie. He also won the Daytona 200, an American motor race, and tried himself in the Indycar in 1996. American fans can only enjoy Nascar at the moment, odds are available for the races on bet365.
5. Mike Hailwood
In the best MotoGP riders of all time, we have to mention Mike Hailwood, another 4-time British world champion. He could ride all kinds of motorbikes thanks to his ability which made him a great champion. He won in all three categories in the Isle of Man TT race in 1961, then in the following year, he also joined MV Agusta and won four consecutive 500cc world championships. Hailwood also raced in Formula 1 and appeared in 50 races. His best result was a fourth-place finish in the Italian Grand Prix in 1971, only two-tenths of a second behind the race winner. Hailwood also raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he finished in 3rd place in 1969.
4. Mick Doohan
The Australian rider started his career in the Superbike World Championship and won two races there. Then he joined Honda in 1989 and won his first Grand Prix in Hungary in 1990. He became a world champion in 1994 even though he suffered a serious injury two years earlier when he almost lost his legs after a practice crash. His first title was followed with four more in the next few years when he was dominating the sport. The Australian was a great rider but part of his success was due to his engineer, Jeremy Burgess who perfected his bike to such a level no one could beat him. Doohan retired after another crash in 1999, but he was working for Honda until 2004.
3. Marc Marquez
The best rider of these days is Marq Marquez, who is already a 6-time world champion at the age of only 27. He is also one of only four riders to win the world championship in all three categories. 125cc, 250cc, and MotoGP. He won his first title in the 125cc category in 2010 when he was only 17 after his debut at the age of 15. Then in 2012, he won the 250cc, and in his premier year in 2013, he became the youngest MotoGP champion. Marquez also won in the following years except 2015, when he finished in third place. He is riding for Honda where he has a contract until 2024. Marquez is the most successful Catalan and Spanish rider in the top category. He is a favorite to win this season as well. The start of the season has been postponed several times but until it begins you can also make bets on virtual races at Bet365 Sportsbook.
2. Giacomo Agostini
The Italian Giacomo Agostini is an 8-time world champion and still holder of several records. He had the most, 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 world championship titles in total. He got his first world title in the 500cc category in 1966. Then he won six more titles and brought victory for his team, MV Agusta. Agostini also won seven titles in the 350cc category and achieved great victories in the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix. In 1968 he won all the races, setting up another record. In 1974 he joined Yamaha and won his last world title with them in 1975. After his retirement, he became the manager of the Marlboro Yamaha team. He helped earlier mentioned riders, like Eddie Lawson, Kenny Rogers, and Graeme Crosby to victories. The reason he is not at the top of our list is simple. No one can compete in popularity with the following champion.
1. Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi is one of the most popular riders in the history of motorsports. The Doctor has won 7 world championships in the top division following his titles in the lower categories in 1997 and 1999. He joined MotoGP and Honda in 2000 and won in his second year, in 2001, followed by two more titles. Then he left his team and joined Yamaha, where he also became world champion four more times. In 2011 he surprised many people with his move to Ducati. But when he couldn’t achieve such great results there Rossi went back to Yamaha after two years.
Though in the last 10 years he hasn’t won any more world titles, Rossi is still among the best riders. He fought great duels with Jorge Lorenzo and recently with Marc Marquez, finishing still third in 2018. Rossi has an all-time record 89 victories and 198 podium finishes. He is the only racer to have competed in 400 or more Grand Prix. Online sportsbooks in the UK were reporting about his test for Ferrari, but in the end, he stayed in MotoGP. He is 40, but still competing at least, for now, hopefully, we can see him back on the track soon.