The 10 Best Moto GP Riders in History

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

Who are The Best Moto GP Riders in History?

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

Top 10 Best Moto GP Riders in History

Here is the ranking of the best Moto GP riders of all time.

10. Casey Stoner

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  • Number of world titles: 2 (2007, 2011)

Casey Stoner is a two-time world champion Australian Moto GP rider. After his debut in 125cm3 and 250cm3, he started in Moto GP in 2006, riding a Honda. The following year, he was hired by Ducati and won the title of world champion, notably beating Valentino Rossi. 

He won his second world championship title there, finishing 110 points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. During 2012, the Australian driver injured his ankle and could not retain his title. 

He will end his young career the same year. Casey Stoner is still one of the best Moto GP riders in history.

9. Jorge Lorenzo

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  • Number of world titles: 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 the age of 13 and twice won the 250cc world championship on an Aprilla. From 2008, he will start in Moto GP with Yamaha alongside Valentino Rossi.

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

8. Kenny Roberts

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  • Number of world titles: 3 (1978, 1979, 1980)

Kenny Roberts is an American motorcycle GP rider, triple world champion. He made his debut in dirt racing, where he notably won the AMA Grand National Championship twice and the Daytona 200 three times in a row during his first three appearances.

An incredible feat, given that Roberts was unfamiliar with European circuits. With his three world titles, Kenny Roberts is one of the best Moto GP riders in history.

7. Eddie Lawson

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

Eddie Lawson is an American GP motorcycle rider, a worthy successor to Kenny Roberts at Yamaha. He is one of the best Moto GP riders of all time. 

He started out as a Track Racing driver, then moved on to the 250cm3 category where he already won several titles. It was in 1983 that Lawson made his debut in Moto GP with Yamaha. Between 1984 and 1988, the American rider won 3 world championship titles with Yamaha.

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In 1989, he changed manufacturers and joined the Rothmans Honda team. Eddie Lawson wins a new championship title in stride and becomes the first motorcycle GP rider to become champion two years in a row for two different manufacturers.

6. John Surtees

  • Number of world titles: 4 (1956, 1958, 1959, 1960)

John Surtees is a British motorcycle and automobile racer who has become legendary for being the only person to be a Moto GP and Formula 1 world champion. year of his first world title in 500cm3.

Between 1958 and 1960, John Surtees won 3 world championship titles in a row in 500cm3, but also 3 world titles in 350cm3.

Even if he was not part of the ranking of the best Formula 1 drivers in history, he nevertheless became world champion in 1964 and had a good automobile career.

5. Mike Hailwood

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

Mike Hailwood is a British Moto GP rider who has won four world titles. As early as 1961, he shone at the Isle of Man TT, where he was 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. Mike Hailwood is the first driver to achieve this feat. He won a total of 14 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races, with his last title in 1979, 18 years after the first.

He is a well-known and respected driver, especially in England, who has also participated 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 Moto GP riders of all time.

4. Mick Doohan

  • Number of world titles: 5 (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)

Mick Doohan is an Australian Moto GP rider who has competed in 137 Moto GP races, of which he has won 54 in total. 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 1990s. Between 1994 and 1998, Doohan won the Affiliate Moto GP World Title 5 times.

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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 which stood until 2014, when he was beaten by Marc Márquez.

After another accident and another serious injury in 1999, he retired from the sport. Mick Doohan is still considered one of the best Moto GP riders in history.

3. Marc Marquez

  • Number of world titles: 6 (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

Marc Márquez is a very talented Spanish Moto GP rider. He started at the age of 15 and became a world champion. Then moved on to moto2, where he also became world champion in 2012 after his second season. The young prodigy then decided to start in Moto GP in 2013.   

Marc Márquez had an exceptional season and became the youngest world champion in the history of Moto GP at the age of only 20. 

Since then, he has won 6 more world titles but an injury prevented him from finishing the 2020 season. The Spanish rider is simply one of the best Moto GP riders in history, and he can still climb in this classification if he continues his exploits.

2. Giacomo Agostini

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

Giacomo Agostini is an Italian Moto GP rider who is still today the most successful rider in history. Between 1966 and 1975, he not only dominated the premier class of 500cc but also in 350cc.

His professionalism as a rider, but also when preparing his machines, made him one of the greatest Moto GP riders of all time. The Italian rider won his first world championship title in 1966 in the 500cc. He will keep his championship title for 7 consecutive years from 1966 to 1972, then the last title in 1975.

1. Valentino Rossi

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

Valentino Rossi is an Italian moto 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 moving up to 250cc.

Again, Rossi won the title of world champion in his second season, before moving into the premier category. Between 2001 and 2005, he won five Moto GP World Championship titles in a row. Again he 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 Moto GP races or that of the number of podiums. Valentino Rossi is certainly the best Moto GP rider of all time.

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