What Formula 1 is to 4-wheeler racing, MotoGP is to motorcycle racing. Over the past 71 years, MotoGP has undergone a series of expansions with races being held in 5 different continents today.
The popularity of the sport can be gauged by the sheer numbers that the event draws - the inaugural edition of the Thailand Grand Prix held in 2018 attracted over 100,000 spectators. It shows how the sport has grown in leaps and bounds so much so that it attracts eyeballs in a country like Thailand which is not known to produce MotoGP riders.
Traditionally, Spanish and Italian riders have dominated the MotoGP and it continues even today. Back in the early days, Britain and United States too produced a fair share of champions but that is not the case today. Hugely popular riders like Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have had a significant bearing on the sport's popularity surge.
Since 1949, 26 different riders belonging to 6 different nations have been crowned champions. We take a look at 5 of the best MotoGP riders of all-time in terms of Championships won.
#5 Eddie Lawson
Aptly nicknamed 'Steady Eddie', American Eddie Lawson was the torchbearer of motorcycle racing in the United States for many years.Taking the usual path that most Americans do by starting his career in the AMA Racing Championships, Lawson upgraded to MotoGP in 1983 when he was offered a contract by Team Yamaha to partner his compatriot Kenny Roberts.
Sharing the same garage as someone of Kenny Roberts calibre must have been daunting but Lawson proved otherwise. Lawson rose quickly in the 500cc ranks. In 1984, he won his first World Championship becoming the second American to do so.
Lawson added two more titles in the 500cc class in 1986 and 1988. He created ripples in the MotoGP circuit by ending his partnership with Team Yamaha and moving to Honda. He however would have the last laugh as he became the only rider to win back-to-back World Championships with 2 different teams by winning the title in 1989. He ended his career in 1992 with 4 World titles.