1. Giacomo Agostini: The Legendary Champion
James Agostini, with 15 world titles and 122 race wins, he remains an undisputed MotoGP legend and the most titled rider in MotoGP. His ability to dominate both the 350cc and 500cc classes makes him a rider unparalleled in the history of motorcycling. “Ago” raced and won in an era when they also raced on roads, legendary in this regard are the 10 triumphs at the Tourist Trophy.
In his historic career, the transition MVAgusta to Yamaha which, although the bearer of a thousand controversies, gives Ago a World Championship in the 350 in 1974, one in the 500 in 1975 in addition to a very prestigious victory in his debut with The Japanese brand, and ahead of his teammate Kenny Roberts in the 1974 Daytona 200-mile race. Agostini was one of the first two-wheeled superstars to be featured in TV commercials or Movies like this ” Bolides on the asphalt at full thro ttle ” that give a good idea of how his popularity had transcended the track gates.
2. Valentino Rossi: The Doctor of Motorcycling.
Valentino Rossi, known as“The Doctor,” has revolutionized the world of MotoGP. With nine world titles, 115 victories and a unique charisma, Rossi has left an indelible imprint on the hearts of fans. Rossi is the only rider to have won a world championship in 4 categories; in fact, he has triumphed in 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP.
Rossi is the rider who helped turn a niche sport into a mass spectacle. His ability to pierce the screen and communicate have made motorcycling the popular sport that it is, and not just in Italy. Yellow grandstands and thousands of fans wearing his merchandise have been a constant in Valentino’s golden era at circuits around the world.
3. Marc Márquez: The Modern Phenomenon.
Marc Márquez, with his aggressiveness and innovative technique, has won eight world titles in all classes including six in the premier class. His ability to reach the limit in every race makes him one of the most exciting drivers ever. Perhaps the comparison with a Formula 1 great, Senna, seems far-fetched, but in each of Marquez’s outings on the track, as it was for Senna, you can see exceptional things.
Marquez currently seems to be the only rider potentially able to overtake Valentino.
A string of physical problems has slowed Marc Marquez in recent years, but his newfound fitness and switch to Ducati bodes well for improving his palmares.
4. Mick Doohan: The Dominator of the 1990s.
Mick Doohan, an Australian, won five consecutive world titles in the 500cc class. It was simply not possible from 1994 to 1998 to finish better than second on the track. Mick’s dominance was absolute and impossible to counter. A highly successful career but punctuated by accidents. The very serious one at Assen in 1992 failed to bend his will to race and win, and the World Championships he won in the following years bear witness to that, he had to surrender, however, in 1999 when yet another ruinous crash forced him to retire.
5. Casey Stoner: The Natural Talent
Casey Stoner, known for his unique riding style and natural ability, has won two world titles in MotoGP. His ability to win with different motorcycle manufacturers, Ducati and Honda, shows his versatility and pure talent. Stoner was a cannibal, conceding nothing to his opponents from the very first free practice, just a few laps to put himself at the top of the time list and establish right away who was in charge. Able to drive by instinct and over problems Casey was a mix of crystalline talent, unique sensitivity and incredible speed. Since his debut in MotoGP with Team LCR, he has made it clear what he was made of. For years it was said that he was the only one who could extract the best from difficult bikes like the Ducatis of the time. Famous on-track, and off-track, rifts with Valentino and the famous overtake suffered at the Laguna Seca Corkscrew with Valentino’s wheels on the ground and well over the curb. Some physical problems and a malaise toward the motoGP environment led Stoner to retire while still very young. At age 27, he decided to go fishing and devote himself to his family. A pity he could not enjoy what he could do on the track for a few more years.
6. Jorge Lorenzo: The Master of Consistency
Jorge Lorenzo is known for his clean riding style and his constant pursuit of perfection. He won five world titles-two in 250 with L’Aprilia and three in MotoGP with Yamaha, and a total of 68 races-demonstrating a consistency rarely seen in top-level motorcycling. Known for his determination and maniacal attention to detail Lorenzo has approached his entire career with a decisive edge, sometimes confused with arrogance. The cohabitation with Rossi at Yamaha and the famous dividing wall between the pits are testaments to Rossi’s respect for the rookie Lorenzo with whom he did not want to share data, the track battles that ensued were for years among the best things in motorcycling of any era. An unhappy transition to Ducati, from which he was removed just when he had begun to win, and a failed experience with Honda led to his retirement, depriving us of a rider capable, on good days, of imposing unbearable rhythms on opponents and solo rides similar to those Max Biaggi used to give us.
7. Mike Hailwood: A Multidisciplinary Legend Between 2 and 4 Wheels.
Mike Hailwood, nicknamed “Mike the Bike,” won 9 World Championship titles, 4 in the 500, 2 in the 350 and 3 in the 250 for a total of 76 victories. Numbers that place him among the most victorious drivers ever. What is remembered and what set Hailwood apart is versatility and courage. From 1963 to 1974 he competed in Formula 1 while simultaneously collecting world titles on two wheels. His career spans several eras of motorcycling and makes him a timeless icon. Incredible return after an 11-year absence from the Isle of Man at the 1978 Tourist Trophy culminated in a victory riding the Ducati 900 SS F1.
8. Eddie Lawson: The Meticulous.
Eddie Lawson, known for his precision and methodicalness, won four world titles in the 500cc class. He succeeded in the feat a with a Yamaha in ’84, ’86 and ’88. He won his fourth and last World Championship riding a Honda in 1989. Exceptional circumstance considering that he managed to adapt to the bike by triumphing in the championship in successive years on different bikes. Lawson never conceded much to the show, a regular and very fast driver he always brought home the best that could be done under the circumstances. He managed in 1992 to turn on the hearts of Italian fans by winning the Hungarian grand prix riding the Castiglioni brothers’ red Cagiva before retiring and switching to four wheels for a stingy end to his career.
9. Kenny Roberts: The Innovator
Kenny Roberts is the first American to win the world title in the 500cc class.
Three world titles between 1978 and 1980 and 24 wins to annihilate a championship that must submit to his innovative driving style. One owes Roberts, and the late Saarinen, the famous knee out to graze the asphalt that, coupled with superior vehicle control honed over years of dirt track in the States make Roberts “the Martian.”
In addition to winning three world championships as a rider, leaving an indelible mark on motorcycling Roberts became, again for Yamaha, team manager in the world championships managing the bikes that with Wayne Rainey won three world championships in a row between 1990 and 1992. Roberts then proves to be an able manager and decides to take the next step by becoming a builder of innovative motorcycles for his Team KR, Motorcycles renamed first Modenas and then Proton, Malaysian two-wheeler manufacturers that support him in racing.
a more unique than rare case, one of his sons, Kenny Jr won the 500-class World Championship on a Suzuki in 2000.
10.Wayne Rainey: Determination Incarnate
Wayne Rainey, a three-time world champion in the 500cc class, is admired for his determination and mental strength. Despite a career cut short by injury, his impact on MotoGP remains significant. To give you an idea of what Rainey has meant to MotoGP nothing better than numbers. In six years he collected in the 500 class third in the championship on his debut in 1988, a second in his second year, 1989, Three consecutive titles in 90, 91 and 92, and another second in 1993, the year he led the championship until the Misano accident.
Wayne Rainey is an example to follow; he faced adversity with tenacity and fortitude. In the years following the accident he became passionate about karts and despite difficulties excelled in the discipline. From 1995 to 1998, he managed the Yamaha Rainey team in motorcycle racing and became the promoter of the AMA motorcycle America Superbike championship since 2014.