Top 10 Best MotoGP Riders of All Time

Spanning from 125cc to the current MotoGP, Grand Prix Motorcycle Road Racing is a thrilling sport.
The Top Ten
1 Valentino Rossi

Honestly, I don't know where to start! The man is simply a maverick of the sport and doesn't get the credit he deserves for making MotoGP what it is today. I have never once heard Vale bad-mouth his bike or lose faith with the team. He just gets on with the job at hand and makes his fans proud. The consistency he has shown in riding at the top for 20 years is remarkable, and the racing ability/craft he possesses will never be seen again. If there is someone you want in a last lap battle, it's Valentino Rossi! I salute you, Valentino, for all the great memories you have given me and the millions of fans around the world. The 9 times world champion. The greatest of all time. The Doctor. Valentino Rossi.

2 Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez is the most naturally-gifted rider in the history of two-wheeled racing. He can do things with a bike that even other professional riders don't understand, let alone replicate in their own riding. With a remarkable six Grand Prix World Championships under his belt before turning 25, including four at the highest tier, he is on course to be the most successful rider in the highly competitive modern era of GP racing, and the new "GOAT". When he is on form, he can only be beaten by his own mistakes. He is utterly fearless, blisteringly fast, and yes, ruthless on the track - as are all great champions.

3 Casey Stoner

The guy can ride like no other! What he did on the Ducati has only been enhanced this year as the greatest of all time (Rossi) follows a long list of top-class riders who could not make it work, unlike Stoner. His performance at Honda as the 2011 World Champ and his ability to ride sideways around corners, in the wet, from the front, from behind, and turn on the lap times show he is quite unique in his ability to get the extra 0.5 sec out of a MotoGP bike. He might not be the most charismatic, but he is the fastest guy ever to ride in MotoGP/500 top flight. He is the Real Deal, and if he has a few more years like this one, he will not only be the fastest ever but statistically be the best ever as well.

4 Jorge Lorenzo

Undoubtedly, Jorge Lorenzo is the most composed rider on the track. No one can lead from the front like he does. He is the best starter and race leader in MotoGP. Most riders you see will make mistakes under pressure when someone passes on the inside or outside, but Jorge waits. When the rider coming from inside goes wide, Jorge pounces. Just one mistake from you, and Jorge is back in front yet again.

It's really sad to see him waste his time at Ducati and Honda, though it was his personal decision and motive. However, his years at Yamaha are a treat to watch. #99Xfuera The man who made Ducati and Honda bow down to a relatively slower Yamaha... I began to like MotoGP watching the era of Lorenzo, Stoner, Rossi, and Pedrosa. I have been a fan ever since!

5 Giacomo Agostini

The greatest ever. I think it is pretty clear. This obsession with only the newer riders/drivers being the best ever is media hype and loving statistics. Jim Clark won just two world championships before his death, yet how can you, with a straight face, compare him to Hakkinen, Alonso, Hamilton, et al.? Stirling Moss won none, but was he a greater driver than these recent champions? Perhaps. Tony Brooks, an F1 driver of the '50s, is a good friend of my father's, and I asked him to rate today's drivers versus yesterday's. He felt there was no need, but he did grin and say, "In yesterday's cars, today's drivers would not be able to cope with the demands placed on them." Ago is the best ever.

6 Dani Pedrosa

Numbers don't lie, and the Little Samurai has an impressive win record. Bad luck and injuries really prevented him from winning a world title in the premier class, to go with his 3 world titles in lower classes. Had he been a little less fragile, he no doubt would have won at least two titles in the premier class. In 2012, he had more wins than either Stoner or Lorenzo, who are both above him on this list.

Very nice and good-hearted. Capable of being fast but probably no more championships for him with the current presence of capable riders.

7 Mike Hailwood

I met Mike on many occasions and got to know him. He always had time for a chat. He was one of the few who could win world championships on just about any bike, from 125 Desmo Ducati through to the awesome Honda sixes, and everything in between. He also had a very good, albeit short, F1 career, gaining three podium finishes, if my memory is holding up, before an accident damaged his left foot! He came back after some 8-10 years out of bikes and won a world championship. Okay, it was over one race, but it was at the IOM TT. I wonder how many of today's MotoGP riders could swap bikes at one meeting and win? It's always difficult to compare across the decades, but for me, Mike will always be at the top.

8 Michael Doohan

Doohan was a masterful rider, in a day when GP bikes were evil two-stroke machines, with no electronics to prevent riders from being launched to the moon. Only the best of the best, like Doohan, could consistently dominate the GP scene from as early as 1992 to 1998. Truly the thunder from Down Under.

Like no other, Mick mastered and won five consecutive championships on the hardest, most lethal machines of GP history - with a big bang engine! He probably could have had at least another two, if not for his unlucky accident in practice.

9 Kenny Roberts Sr.

Way too low on this list. The fact that he's placed below Casey Stoner is laughable. We're talking about the first man (and up until the past season, the only man) to win in his rookie year. We're also talking about a 2-time AMA Grand National Champion, and a guy who won the 500cc championship three years in a row. In terms of natural riding ability, there are next to none who can come close to King Kenny. To anyone who just started watching GP and doesn't have a way of watching any of the 78-83 seasons: I feel bad for you.

I share the opinion that Roberts Sr. is rated too low. With the help of champion Kel Carruthers, and influenced by the style of Jarno Saarinen, Roberts broke new ground in MotoGP (then the 500cc class, of Grand Prix motorcycle racing). Bringing the savvy that American dirt trackers learned on the high-speed clay miles, Kenny was unafraid of a sliding motorcycle. It changed MotoGP forever...

10 Maverick Viñales

The most underrated potential champion. He is simply an underrated talent. He has more wins pairing up with Rossi.

If Suzuki gives him a good bike, he could give the Tech 3 guys a battle in the championship standings.

Rides fast on a slow Yamaha bike compared to Honda and Ducati this 2019 season.

The Contenders
11 Nicky Hayden

One of the greatest ever. Godspeed, Kentucky Kid.

Won the title in one of the most memorable seasons and should probably be around 18-20.

12 Jarno Saarinen

The first to put the knee down... he was the genius... today using his style to take results... OK, 46 is one Doctor, but Jarno was a genius.

Saw him ride. The man leaned the bike over so far it was remarkable. Great rider.

Passionate and talented rider. Right talent, right place, and great know-how in motorsport.

13 Freddie Spencer

The 'strokers' were the hardest bikes to ride at this 'F1' level with their all-or-nothing powerband. Freddie was the only guy I ever saw who could consistently, and alternately, slide both front and rear tyres, multiple times around a single corner. Watching them take turns stepping out of line underneath him as he scythed his way around a corner was simply mesmerising. Such control, and from one so young... Freddie was without doubt the master, and I would have him way further up this list!

Top ten easily, not as good as Lawson for me, but still top ten. This list needs looking at seriously, don't you think? Spencer below Stoner, ha ha! Or Doohan, get real. People comment on the sport, don't guess or throw names about. It's wrong and disrespectful.

14 Colin Edwards
15 Álvaro Bautista

A great rider. Shame his head messed him up to achieve much more.

16 Wayne Rainey

I've got Rainey 7th on my list, but some of the company in your top ten don't belong. I don't recall Doohan beating Rainey. Did he? No, I'm sure Rainey was top dog, and Doohan was there. He ain't 4th. He ain't top ten. That's crazy. Pedrosa in the top ten, ha ha, next! Stoner? No, sorry, he's good but not top ten, just outside, I'd say. Facts are facts.

The best of the best during the peak of 500cc GP racing. Remember when these bikes were flicking riders through the air on a regular basis? Rainey endured his share of high-sides and still won consistently against the greatest collection of riders in the sport, including Doohan, Gardner, Lawson, and Schwantz. All legendary riders in this time period.

17 Marco Simoncelli

We were robbed of some potentially really exciting racing when Marco was taken from us. A real talent and true racing grit the guy had. Was really saddened to see him go.
RIP Super Sic.

Miss you so much, SUPER SIC. Will always remember your choreographed chaos, old school riding style.

A champion who will never come back...

18 Kevin Schwantz

Probably, him and Mamola are the most exciting riders to date, maybe McCoy just behind. Yet, what a rider! Schwantz set the world alight and came as a double act with another guy called Rainey. We were spoilt, and meeting Schwantz was great. Though not enough accolades to make the top ten for me. Still, he's the most gifted rider, just not professional enough. Should've won more.

For me, he was the fastest, just look at the 1989 season. All the greats of that era were there: Lawson, Rainey, Doohan, Gardiner, Spencer, and Mamola. Yet Schwantz, on far from the best bike, had 9 pole positions, 8 fastest laps. I remember the season well and always thought he was the fastest in that era and certainly the most exciting.

19 Barry Sheene

An all-time great on and off the track. He brought motorbike racing to the attention of the British public. A massive loss to the sport.

Growing up, he was a hero to all young boys. He just epitomized cool. A great personality, great rider, taken far too early.

One of the best. Lots of great riders. He is my favorite. Only because I crashed and broke lots of bones, but still raced.

20 Cal Crutchlow

Never on the fastest bike. Total commitment, pass or drop it, real racer...

21 Eddie Lawson

Eddie Lawson is certainly in the top three of all time. To have won 4 titles (world championships), the most by any American rider, really showed the likes of Rainey and Schwantz how it's done. Also, Eddie is the benchmark that all look up to. To have won world titles back to back on different equipment is a statement only a few can lay claim to. It is also well known that the 2-stroke era bikes were harder to master than the current crop of 4-stroke machines. Rossi and Agostini sit at the same table as Lawson. All others look up to these 3! History and the credit of their wins, by whom they beat, the machinery used, and the longevity of dominance in the sport, still echoes today.

22 Joey Dunlop

Amazing bike control, and the undisputed King of the TT. MotoGP riders look at the TT course and will not race it. So, to win it over as many years as Joey did, you have to be one of the best ever. He should be in the top 5.

Never top 10, but a bloody hero all day. Road racing's best ever... not the track, though.

He drove a van full of food to orphanages in the Balkans in times of need. A selfless, amazing man is number 1.

23 Max Biaggi

People often forget that Max Biaggi started riding only at the age of 17 or 18, much later than Valentino Rossi and other riders of his era, who usually began in early childhood, around the ages of 4 to 7. Remarkably, he has never finished worse than fifth in any championship, with the sole exception being WSBK in 2008. In the 250 cc category, he won four titles in six seasons. During his eight seasons in MotoGP/500cc, of which only five were with a factory team, he finished six times in the top three, with his medal tally being 0-3-3.

To sum up, Biaggi spent 14 full seasons in MotoGP, achieving ten top-three finishes (4-3-3). Adding his six seasons in WSBK, his total in 20 seasons at the world level is 6-3-5. In all these 20 seasons, he was beaten by his teammate only twice, in 1992 and 2005.

He should definitely be in the top 10!

24 John Surtees

Four 500cc Championships, three 350cc Championships, four Senior Isle of Man TTs, and two years unbeaten, all within a five-year period.

Left the sport with the best win percentage of all time before going on to win a Formula One World Championship and a Can-Am Sports Car Championship.

Awesome on both 2 and 4 wheels. An achievement that will never be equalled! I was also lucky enough to have met him very briefly at the Festival of Speed. What a true gent and an awesome champion.

The only man to win car and bike world championships, and his win percentage from starts was over twice that of Rossi or any other modern MotoGP rider.

25 Wayne Gardner

Aggressive but smooth, Wayne Gardner should have won more titles than he did, due to bad luck. The Japanese don't call him Mr. 100% for nothing. He should have thrown a leg over a Grand Prix bike sooner, but HRC were focused on "Fast Freddie" instead. In his prime (balls out), he was unbeatable. He could shake off a massive near highside as if it was nothing and go on to win. One of the greats.

Three Cheers!

Aussies are tough (not Casey, though, sorry) and Gardner is the epitome of this. Beating legends to his title and winning with the highest competition is worthy of praise. I hold him higher than Doohan, even with five titles.

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