Who is the Best MotoGP Rider in History?

We review the races of those who, statistically, are the best drivers in the history of MotoGP. Spain has a significant representation, worthy of its current level. 
Who is the Best MotoGP Rider in History?

Last update: 01 October, 2019

Today’s question is hard to answer and a bit controversial among MotoGP World Championship lovers: who is the best MotoGP driver in history?

In retrospect, throughout the 69 years of the motorcycling world championship, popularly known as MotoGP, some drivers stand out: Valentino Rossi, Ángel Nieto, Giacomo Agostini, Jorge Lorenzo, John Surtees, Marc Márquez, and Mick Doohan.

This is our first preselection, although many fans might argue that some names are missing. From hundreds of drivers that have gone through MotoGP, we already dwindled down to seven. Not bad… But let’s cross out some names. 

John Surtees: MotoGP

He’s considered one of the MotoGP world championship pioneers. He dominated the entire first decade, and he’s also the only MotoGP and Formula 1 champion. Surtees died in 2017 at 83 years old.

In the editions of 1958, 1959 and 1969 he was champion of both 500cc and 350cc categories. A versatile driver, Surtees definitely deserves a spot on this list.

Valentino Rossi

Without a doubt, “The Doctor” had to make it to this list. His numbers are crazy: nine Grand Prix World Championships, 114 victories, 221 podiums, 64 poles, and 95 fast laps.

Valentino Rossi celebrates victory.

Throughout his 21 seasons, Valentino Rossi has basically broken all records in addition to giving spectacular performances on and off track. He has thousands of fans, which makes for the largest fanbase in any circuit.

MotoGP drivers: Ángel Nieto

Ángel Nieto is the best Spanish rider in the history of motorcycling. He won thirteen world championships, or as he liked to say, twelve plus one. Furthermore, he achieved second place in four world championships, 90 wins, and 139 podiums.

Angel Nieto wins a race.

He’s considered the best driver of the 70s and 80s, and his participation in the MotoGP world championship opened the door to many Spanish drivers. Nieto was very charismatic and loved on and off of the track. He truly deserves to be on this list. His sudden death in the summer of 2017 was a heavy blow to the motorcycling world.

Giacomo Agostini

Agostini is the first driver in the history of MotoGP to win the most championships; with 15 titles he became the absolute leader in the 60s and at the beginning of the 70s. Giacomo Agostini achieved a total of 122 victories.

Mick Doohan

Mick Doohan is the best Australian driver in the history of motorcycling. Along with Agostini and Rossi, he’s one of the few to have won five MotoGP world championships in a row.

Doohan’s career was marked by accidents and their aftermaths. That’s why his results are highly valuable. One detail that shows this driver’s perseverance is 69.3 percent of the rides he competed in, he ended up on the podium.

Jorge Lorenzo: MotoGP

Three-time MotoGP world champion and current Ducati driver, Jorge Lorenzo is one of the best in history. Always at the highest level, he’s among the favorites of MotoGP fans to win the world championship year after year. Along with Álex Crivillé, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez, he’s one of the best Spanish drivers of the last decades.

Marc Márquez

At 24 years old, Marc Márquez made his way on to this list. Five-time MotoGP world champion, with 34 victories, and 61 podiums, Márquez has a bright future in this premier class.

Marc Márquez tilted motorcycle.

Races such as the 2010 Estoril Grand Prix, where he soared epically, or 2017 Australian GP, make Márquez a growing force in the motorcycling world. He’s the current predilect of MotoGP world championship, which means his numbers are only going to keep rising year after year.

After analyzing the careers of these seven riders, we must cross out some names. We’ve decided to keep the following three:

  • Giacomo Agostini: due to all the statistics that place him in the first positions, because no one was able to beat him in four decades.
  • Ángel Nieto: due to his twelve plus one world championships, and for paving the way for a whole generation of Spanish drivers, that without him wouldn’t have had it easy.
  • Valentino Rossi: due to his nine world championships, his competitive attitude even two decades after his debut, and for contributing to the entertainment, on and off track.

It’s impossible to choose only one!

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