Since 2001, MotoGP has been a story of domination by two riders; Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez, both winning a total of 13 championships between them.
Such was their dominance in the sport that many were quick to declare one of these runners to be the greatest of all time, and in many ways that could be true. If you look at history you will quickly discover that although these runners have been dominant in the modern age, there is only one runner standing alone at the top, and it is neither the one. neither.
ten Kenny Roberts: 3 titles
Roberts was the first American Grand Prix champion, winning the championship three times in total, leaving him in 6th place overall.
Extremely successful as a track racer, he would bring his less elegant riding style to Europe where he enjoyed immediate success, changing the way racing bikes of that era were driven. Later he would also find success as a team owner, where he employed another track pilot in the form of Wayne Rainey.
9 Wayne Rainey: 3 titles
Rainey, although riding for Roberts, had a completely different and much smoother riding style that suited newer bikes.
If it hadn’t been for a career-ending crash in 1993 that crippled him from chest to toe, he would likely be very close to the top of this list. He had an incredible record of wins or podiums in almost every race he completed.
8 Eddie Lawson: 4 tracks
Nicknamed “Steady Eddie” because of his remarkable consistency, he would eventually finish in the points enough times to win four titles in a stellar career.
It’s a career that saw him race against greats of the previous era like Kenny Roberts and the future great Mick Doohan.
7 Mike Hailwood: 4 tracks
Hailwood, arguably most famous for his exploits on the Isle of Man, is another in the long list of multiple champions, who sits in 5th place with 4 titles.
Few riders could come close to Hailwood in the early ’60s, who might have won a few more Grand Prix titles had he not turned to four-wheeler racing.
6 John Surtees: 4 tracks
Surtees will enter racing folklore, being the the only person to win championships in Motorcycle Grand Prix as well as in Formula 1.
It’s a unique achievement that will likely never be repeated, especially in the modern age where everyone is so specialized.
5 Geoff Duke: 4 tracks
Part of the original class that pretty much founded Grand Prix racing, Duke was the most successful racer of the early years.
He set the standard that others would follow, finding success in the Isle of Man TT and trying his luck in Formula 1 at one point.
4 Mick Doohan: 5 tracks
Even if he was going to win 5 titles, it was almost none. After comfortably leading the 1992 championship by 50 points, he fell and broke his leg.
After a botched operation and rushing his return he lost the title fight by just 4 points, he then broke his shoulder the following year and was never in great shape during the 1993 season. After finally regaining his top form, he won his 5 titles between 1994 and 1998.
3 Marc Marquez: 6 tracks
He is the most recent and arguably most impressive champion, having already achieved a championship of the famous Rossi.
Until just two years ago, it seemed like he was well and truly on track to eclipse Rossi and become the greatest runner of all time. It could still happen, but after a late season injury in 2020, it has been a long road to recovery. All the while, his Repsol Honda team also struggled to find a rhythm as the riders struggled to keep the machine on the track.
2 Valentino Rossi: 7 titles
After dominating the 2000s, it seemed like history was shaping up for the Italian, who has the honor of winning the last 500cc championship as his first.
Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be for the man many still consider to be the greatest of all time, now in his twilight he’s probably in his final season as he struggles to make the top 10. , not to mention fighting for victory.
1 Giacomo Agostini: 8 tracks
After winning his 5th title over 50 years ago, he holds the record for the most Grand Prix victories.
In an astonishing career which saw him dominate for two decades with two different manufacturers, he finally accumulated 8 titles. A record many believed to be in danger as Rossi hit his stride and then again more recently with Marquez, but he remains the most successful runner of all time.
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