Motorcycle racing was a highly unorganized sport in the first half of the 20th century. Many private players used to conduct races, the bikes weren't standardized and racing was extremely dangerous with riders constantly putting their lives on the line.
The first season of the motorbike Riders Championship was held in 1949. The race tracks, standardization of bikes, rules, and regulations were all set and the races were overseen by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM, International Motorcycling Federation).
British rider Leslie Graham riding for Team AJS Porcupine won the very first 500cc championship. In the early days, only 80cc and 300cc bikes were used and participation was mostly restricted to riders from Europe - predominantly from Great Britain and Italy.
Today, there are 3 classes - Moto3, Moto2 and the premier class MotoGP where the maximum engine displacement allowed is 1000cc. All the three classes mandatorily use four-stroke engines. Although races today are held all over the world, from Argentina to Thailand, the sport has had only champions from 6 different countries since inception. We look at 5 riders with the most podium finishes in MotoGP:
#5 Marc Marquez
Spaniard Marc Marquez nicknamed 'The Ant' is one of 3 riders to have won the Championship across all three categories (Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP). He made his debut in the 125cc class in 2008 just after turning 15 - the legal age when riders are allowed to enter the competition in the 125cc class. In 2010, he won the 125cc Championship and moved to Moto2 the following year.
In 2012, he won the Moto2 Championship. In 2013, he was offered a contract by Repsol Honda to race alongside compatriot Dani Pedrosa. Marquez stunned the world by becoming the youngest ever MotoGP Champion and only the second since Kenny Roberts to win the title in his debut season. The retirement of Casey Stoner in 2012 robbed MotoGP fans of what could have possibly been one of the greatest rivalries in MotoGP history.
Marquez proved that his win in 2013 was no fluke as he successfully defended his title in 2014. A hat-trick of triumphs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 has made him a strong contender to surpass Rossi's tally of 7 world titles in the years to come. The 26-year old is the hot favorite to win the 2019 title.
Marquez recently surpassed Giacomo Agostini's tally of 78 podium finishes by grabbing his 79th podium finish at the Grand Prix of Argentina.