MotoGP is the oldest Motorsport in the world. The first World Championship was held in 1949. FICM, now called as the FIM, was supposed to start the competition in 1938, but due to the second world war, the championship was cancelled and eventually started in 1949.
In the first MotoGP championship, the Grand Prix comprised of four solo classes. Leslie Graham won the first premier class title.
It was Freddie Frith who won the first ever 350cc title while Bruno Ruffo and Nello Pagani won the first 250 and 125 world championships respectively.
In the 1980s, there was fierce competition among the three greats which are Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki. Many racers have come and gone but very few have taken the MotoGP world by Storm. Only racers like Mick Doohan, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi have been able to master the art of MotoGP.
Here is a list of 10 great racers who have mastered the sport of MotoGP.
#1 Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi, an Italian professional motorcycle road racer, is a multiple time MotoGP world champion.
He holds the distinction of being the only racer in the history of the championships to have won it in four different classes: 125cc, 250cc,500 and MotoGP.
He also has nine Grand Prix Championships to his name which makes him the most successful racer in the world. What is amazing is that he has won seven out of his nine races in the premier class.
Rossi started off with Honda with a win in the 500cc championship in 2001 along with the world championships in 2002 and 2003.
He also won the 2004 and 2005 championships but this time it was with Yamaha instead of Honda who he left before the 2004 season.
Rossi had several battles with Casey Stoner and ultimately, he replaced Stoner at Ducati in 2011. Rossi had two difficult seasons with Ducati following which he moved back to Yamaha.
After returning to Yamaha, he finished second in 2014, 2015, and 2016. 2015 was the season where he looked like winning the championship but was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo to eventually finish second.
#2 Casey Stoner
Casey Stoner, a retired Australian professional motorcycle road racer, is a two-time MotoGP world championship winner which he won in 2007 and 2011.
After his retirement, he served as a test and developmental driver for Ducati from 2016 till 2018. Stoner was born in Queensland but had to move to the United Kingdom to pursue his racing career.
His ability to ride any bike over it's perceived limits was his greatest talents. He was able to win on a much inferior Ducati bike than a Honda or a Yamaha.
2007 world championship, which Stoner won, remains Ducati's only world championship till date.
He always had some intense battles with Valentino Rossi but somehow always seemed to be behind on the table as Rossi went on to win the championships the next two season.
In 2010, he moved to Repsol Honda where he won the championship in 2011. He was the winner of six consecutive Grand Prix's on his home soil.
Casey was an amazing racer who had performed well at the world stage but always seemed to be in the shadow of Valentino Rossi who was enjoying his best years at the time Stoner's retirement in 2012.
#3 Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez, a Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, is one of the most successful racers in the world. He has seven world championships to his name out of which five are in the premier class.
He got his nickname 'ant of Cervera' because he is known for his wild riding style. He is only one of four riders to have world championships in three different categories.
He is one of the greatest innovators the world has ever seen, as his excessive cornering technique of leaning over the bike makes him look like he will fall out. He is only the third Spaniard after Alex Criville and Jorge Lorenzo to win a premier class title.
He is also the first rider after Kenny Roberts to win a premier class title in his first season. In 2014, he won 10 races in a row which is a remarkable achievement as he retained the title with three races to spare.
He is third in the all-time list of winning the most number of MotoGP championships. He is considered to be a worthy opponent to Valentino Rossi who is currently the best racer in the world.
#4 Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo, another Spanish great, was the 2006 and 2007 250cc world championship. He is also the 2010,2012, and the 2015 MotoGP World Champion.
He is currently competing in the MotoGP class with Honda. Apart from winning the World Championship thrice, he also has finished runners up on three occasions.
It was in 2012 when Lorenzo became the first racer from Spain to win the title in the premier class. He lies sixth in the all-time list of most wins in MotoGP with 67 races.
In 2008, he became Valentino Rossi's teammate at Yamaha. He started off his MotoGP career on a great note as he finished second in the Qatar race.
He finally converted a win the third race of the season at Portugal which was also his first win in the premier class.
Lorenzo is the youngest driver to have finished the race on the Podium in his first three races.
He is such a dedicated driver that even after suffering injuries after falling from his bike, he was still able to finish the race in fourth place.
Lorenzo is famous for his celebrations after he finishes a race. He once imitated a spaceman, jumping into the lake into the infield of the Jerez circuit
#5 Giacomo Agostini
Giacomo Agostini, an Italian road racer, is a multiple time world champion. He is nicknamed as Ago. Agostini holds an amazing record of winning 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 world championship titles.
Agostini was born in Brescia, Lombardy. He had a rough childhood as he had to steal away to begin his racing career, firstly at Hill climb events and later in road racing. He won his first world championship in 1963 in the 175cc class aboard a Morini.
Agostini got his big chance for Morini when Tarquinio Provini left the team to ride for Benelli and he was hired by Count Alfonso Morini.
He again won the championship in the 350cc class in 1964. His performances caught the eye of Dominico Agusto who signed him up to be Mike Hailwood's teammate. He almost won the championship in 1965 before his bike failed him and the title went to Jim Redman.
He won the 500cc title seven consecutive times after he became the top driver for MV Agusta. Agostini decided he would never race again at the Isle of Man, TT as he lost his close friend, Gilberto Parlotti during the 1972 TT.
He left MV Agusta in 1974 and joined Yamaha where he won the prestigious Daytona 200. He is considered one of the best racers of his time.
#6 Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa is a former Spanish Motorcycle road racer. He is the youngest racer to have won the 250cc Grand Prix.
Although he has never won a world championship, Pedrosa won races in 12 consecutive seasons. It is still a mystery as to why he was not able to win a world championship. He has also finished runners up on three occasions.
Pedrosa drove only for Honda in his entire MotoGP Career and in 2018, he announced his retirement from the sport.
In October 2018, it was confirmed that he would join KTM MotoGP as a test and developmental driver which ended his long-time relationship with Repsol Honda.
Numbers do not lie as he has an impressive record in MotoGP. Injuries and bad luck contributed to his problems of not winning a MotoGP Championship.
Who knows, what would have happened if he had not faced problems with injuries as his record shows how good a racer he could be.
In 2012, he had more wins than either Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo. He is one of the best but unlucky racers of this generation
#7 Mike Hailwood
Mike Hailwood, a former British Grand Prix road racer, is regarded as one of the greatest racers of all-time.
He was famously known as ' Mike the Bike' due to his ability to ride on Bikes with different engine capabilities.
He is also a part of a rare company who have competed in both Formula One and MotoGP. Unfortunately, Hailwood died in a car crash in Warwickshire.
He started his career at a very early age as he rode a mini bike in a field near his home. He first raced in 1957 at Outon Park at the age of 17.
He finished 11th in the race but soon started posting impressive results. Next year, he won the ACU stars in the 125cc, 250cc and 350cc classes. He was awarded the Pinhard prize which is awarded to young motorcyclists under the age of 21.
He joined Honda in 1961 with whom he became the first racer to win three races in one week which is a remarkable achievement. He went on to win the 1961 world championship. In 1962, he joined MV Agusta and went on to win four consecutive world championships.
He recorded the highest one hour speed at 144.8 mph. When he returned to Honda in 1966, he went on to win four more world titles in the 250 and 350cc categories. He is known for his amazing performances at the Isle of Man TT which is regarded as one of the toughest races.
#8 Michael Doohan
Michael Doohan, also known as Mick, is a retired Australian Motorcycle road racing world champion. He has won five consecutive 500cc world championships.
Only Giacomo Agostini, with eight and Valentino Rossi, with seven, has won more world championships in the premier class than Mick. In the early 1980s, Mick raced in Australian superbikes where he won the world championship in 1988.
He is in a rare class of racers who have won a superbike world championship in the 500cc class. He started off his MotoGP career with Honda on an NSR 500cc two-stroke motorcycle in 1989.
He immediately made an impact as he won his world championship in 1990. He was winning the world championship in 1991 before he got seriously injured and almost faced amputation in his right leg.
It was amazing to see that he returned to the racing arena in 1993 but was not able to win the championship this time as Wayne Rainey won his third consecutive title.
Mick won his first 500cc world championship in 1994. His most successful year was 1997, where he won 12 out of 15 races and finished second in the remaining races.
He has been inducted as a member of Order of Australia for his great contribution to the sport. He has also helped in designing an Intamin Motorbike Launch rollercoaster which is named after him.
#9 Kenny Roberts Sr.
Kenny Roberts Sr, an American former Motorcycle road racer and team owner. He became the first American a MotoGP world championship in 1978.
Roberts Sr. is also a two-time winner of A.M.A Grand National Championship. He is only one of four riders in the history of the American Motorcyclist Association to have won the AMA Grand slam.
He is known for his world championships as well as an advocate for increased safety standards in racing. He had made a proposal to create a rival Motorcycle championship in 1979 which broke the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme hegemony. This move led to improved safety procedures and a new era in professional sport. He was named as a legend by FIM in the year 2000.
Yamaha USA offered to send Roberts to race in the world championship along with Kel Caruthers. He secured the backing of the Goodyear tire company.
Few people thought that Roberts would win the championship as they thought that it will take him at least one year to get acclimatized to the conditions of Europe. Roberts did not start well in the 1978 season but he recovered amazingly well to win the championship.
After his Grand Prix career ended in 1983, he briefly engaged in Auto racing before starting a team of his own in 1984.
His team included two of the greatest drivers of MotoGP, Wayne Rainey, and Alan Carter. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of fame in 1990.
#10 Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales, a Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, is a former Moto3 world champion which he won in 2013.
He is currently competing in the premier class of MotoGP. In 2015, he won the rookie award in the MotoGP class. He started racing at a very early age of three before he moved on to motocross and then to circuit racing in 2002.
In 2007, he became the winner of the Catalan 125cc championship. In the same year, he also won the Mediterranean trophy. In 2008, he competed at various selected events in the German IDM 125GP Championship where he achieved a position of seventh.
Vinales finished the 2007 season as the rookie of the year and finished second to Alberto Moncayo in the championship standings. He finished at the podium four times throughout the season which is a great achievement for a rookie.
In 2010, he won the championship by just two points ahead of Oliveira after Vinales finished on the Podium seven times while Oliveira crashed out of one race. Vinales is one of the greatest rookie racers of this generation.