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Top 5 Honda MotoGP racers of all time

Honda is one of the best Superbike teams in the world at the moment
Honda is one of the best Superbike teams in the world at the moment
Mrinal Banka

Team Honda is one of the best Superbike teams in the world. It is the official factory team of Repsol S.A and Honda racing corporation in the MotoGP championship. In the year 1995, they entered into an agreement with Mick Doohan, who was one of the best racers of that time, Alex Criville and Shinichi Ito which stated that they will ride the Honda NSR500.

Honda expanded to four riders in the year 1996 and had many more drivers by the end of 1999.

They had some famous drivers under them such as Mick Doohan, Alex Criville, Tadayuki Okada and Sete Gibernau before Valentino Rossi joined the team in 2002. Valentino Rossi was part of the team for a short period of time but made a terrific impact throughout the time he was with Honda.

It is often said the racers make the team and it is no different from Honda's perspective. Here we will have a look at the five best drivers who have driven for Honda.


#1 Mick Doohan

Michael Doohan, also known as Mick, is one of the best racers to have competed in MotoGP
Michael Doohan, also known as Mick, is one of the best racers to have competed in MotoGP

Michael Doohan, also known as Mick, is one of the best racers to have competed in MotoGP. The Australian has won the world championship five consecutive times in the 500cc class. Only Giacomo Agostini with eight, and Valentino Rossi, with seven, are ahead of Mick.

He made his debut for Honda in 1989 and won his first race at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 1990. He finished third that year.

Mick had a horrible crash once in which he almost lost a leg. It was amazing to see that he bounced back to racing for the final two races, but unfortunately, he could not win the title as Yamaha's Wayne Rainey took the title.

It was not until 1994 that Mick won his first 500cc championship. The year 1997 was his most successful, as he won 12 out of 15 races he took part in.

Mick has been inducted as a member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the sport. He has helped design an Intamin Motorbike launch rollercoaster, which is named after him. A Grand Prix circuit is named after him.

#2 Casey Stoner

MotoGP of Valencia - Race
MotoGP of Valencia - Race

Casey Stoner, now a retired Australian professional motorcycle racer, is a two-time MotoGP world champion. He was just four years old when he competed in his first race. When he was young, he raced in five different categories in all seven rounds of each capacity.

It was a weekend which consisted of 35 races out which he won 32 races. His parents took him to England to let him try racing in the premier class as he was not legally authorized to race in Australia till the age of 16.

Stoner immediately made an impact and attracted the sponsors in 2000 when he went on to win the English 125cc Aprilia championship. It was in 2006 when he fulfilled his ambition of racing in MotoGP.

He had a great start to his MotoGP career as he finished at the pole position in just his second race. 2007 was the best year for Casey as he joined Ducati with whom he won his first MotoGP championship.

In 2008, he finished at the pole position for seven times in a row but due to several crashes, he finished runners up just behind Valentino Rossi. When he joined Honda in 2011, he immediately adapted to the changes and won three out of five races in that season.

He won nine races in the season and ended up being 65 points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. This was his second World Championship. He is also known for his intense battles with Valentino Rossi during his career.

Stoner shocked the world when he announced his retirement at the end of the 2012 season at the age of just 27 citing personal reasons and the direction in which the championship was going also helped him make this decision.

#3 Marc Marquez

The Spaniard has seven world championships to his name 
The Spaniard has seven world championships to his name

Marc Marquez, a Spanish motorcycle road racer, is one of the most successful road racers in the world at present. The Spaniard has seven world championships to his name out of which five wins were in the premier MotoGP class.

He is driving for the Honda Motorcycle team since his debut in the MotoGP championships in 2013. He belongs to a very rare group where he has won world championships in three different categories. Only Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Valentino Rossi have achieved this feat before Marc Marquez.

Marquez is the second Catalan driver after Alex Criville to win the premier class title making him the most successful racer from Spain.

Adding to his already amazing career, Marquez has five world championships in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

He is also the first rider after Kenny Roberts to acquire a win in his first season. Marquez also holds the record of most pole positions in a year. He is the third highest all-time Grand Prix winner.

Marc Marquez is the second racer after Valentino Rossi to win three titles in a row.

#4 Nicky Hayden

Nicky Hayden has been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame in 2018
Nicky Hayden has been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame in 2018

Nicky Hayden, an American professional Motorcycle racer is one of the best MotoGP riders of all time. He is nicknamed as 'Kentucky Kid'. He won the 2006 world championship.

It was at a very young age when Hayden started showing interest in racing. He began his career in the CMRA before he progressed to the Supersport championship and later to the AMA Superbike championship.

Hayden started racing for Honda in 2002 when he had just won the AMA championship. He had a good start to his MotoGP career as he finished fifth in his first season as a MotoGP rider.

He did not have a great second season as he finished eighth overall but in 2005, he bounced back to win his first MotoGP race at Laguna Seca. 2006 was the best year in Hayden's life as he won the world championship and thereby breaking Valentino Rossi's winning streak along the way.

Hayden moved to Ducati in 2008 where he had five unsuccessful years and joined Honda Aspar team in 2014 where he raced for two seasons.

He joined Red Bull Honda team in 2017 where he finished fifth in the world Superbike championship.

Hayden, unfortunately, died in a car crash in Italy. He has been inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame in 2018.

#5 Alex Criville

It wasn't until 1994 that he became a full-fledged Honda rider where he also was Mick Doohan's teammate
It wasn't until 1994 that he became a full-fledged Honda rider where he also was Mick Doohan's teammate

Alex Criville, a former Spanish Motorcycle racer, was the first Spaniard to win a 500cc Grand Prix in 1992. He also won the 500cc world championship in 1999. He falsified his age to start his career in racing in 1985. It was a good start as he won the Criterium Solo Moto which is a national series for 75cc Honda street bikes.

Criville started his international career in the now-defunct 80cc world championship on team Derbi in which he finished second. He joined the Sito Pons team in 1992 for the 500cc class in which he finished eighth. It wasn't until 1994 that he became a full-fledged Honda rider where he also was Mick Doohan's teammate.

Alex Criville finished fourth in 1995 and 1997, runner up in 1996 and had 11 podium finishes. Criville got an opportunity after a fatal accident ended Mick Doohan's career in 1999 and he took the opportunity with both hands and went on to win six races at Donington Park and clinching the world championship with one race to spare.

Edited by Alan John

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