Italy is almost synonymous with racing as the country managed to produce some of the finest racing talents across multiple disciplines.
The land of Ducati has even produced some of the finest motorcycle riders through the years, with each decade seeing at least one Italian rider secure a podium in the premier class.
Spanish dominance has taken center stage in the past decade or so, but in the years prior to that, the Italians dominated, especially in the 1960s, 1970s and the 2000s. With Valentino Rossi still hanging around, there is still a possibility of an Italian securing the World Championship before the turn of the decade.
Without further ado, let us look closer at top-5 Italian MotoGP riders of all time.
#5 Marco Lucchinelli
Taking the fifth spot on our list is Marco Lucchinelli, who is the second Italian to claim the World Championship in Grand Prix motorcycle racing's premier class.
The Italian rider's rise to fame started in the year 1976 when he finished the season in the fourth place with three podium finishes.
Four years later, riding for Suzuki, Lucchinelli secured a third-place finish in the 1980 500cc World Championship before claiming the top spot the following year.
However, Marco Lucchinelli's 1980 triumph was his last major success in Grand Prix motorcycle racing until his retirement in 1986.
#4 Franco Uncini
Like Marco Lucchielli, Franco Uncini won the premier class once during his career. His sole championship came in the year 1982, when, riding for Suzuki, the Italian managed to score 103 points with five race wins.
Uncini entered Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 1976 with the Yamaha team. The very next year, with Harley-Davidson, the Italian managed to finish second in the 250cc class.
Tasting sporadic success since then, Franco Uncini moved to the 500cc class with the Suzuki team, where he would win his sole championship and spend the rest of his Grand Prix motorcycle racing career.
Unfortunately, apart from the spectacular 1982 season, the Italian failed to record even a single win in other premier class seasons.
Nevertheless, for his immense contributions to the sport, Franco Uncini was inducted into the F.I.M MotoGP Hall of Fame in 2016.
#3 Umberto Masseti
Third, on the list is Umberto Masseti who managed to win the MotoGP Championship two times. Furthermore, Umberto Masseti is the first Italian to win a championship in the premier class of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
The Italian rider made his debut in 1949 and won his first World Championship the following year. Riding a Gilera, Masseti secured the top spot with two race wins and two podiums. He finished second the next year but managed to regain his crown in 1952 by claiming two victories and two podiums.
Masseti then moved to MV Agusta in 1995 and took the third place on the championship table. Masseti spent the rest of his Grand Prix motorcycle racing career with MV Augusta but failed to win a single race until his retirement in 1958.
With two championship wins, Masseti is one of the few Italian riders who managed to win the World Championship multiple times.
#2 Valentino Rossi
With seven MotoGP World Championships, 'The Doctor' takes the second spot on the list.
Valentino Rossi, in 1996, finished his first season Grand Prix motorcycling racing. The very next year, he won the 125cc championship and moved to the 250cc class. Rossi endured a near perfect 250cc stint, finishing second and first in his two years respectively.
Tasting success in the lower classes, the Italian moved to the premier class of Grand Prix motorcycling racing, finishing second in his very first season. He dominated MotoGP since his arrival in 2000 until 2010, where he managed to secure podium or better in all the seasons. Since then, Rossi managed to secure four more podium finishes, establishing himself as one of the greats of the sport.
Still riding in the premier class, one shouldn't be surprised if the Italian rider manages to get himself on the podium yet another time.
Moreover, he is the only rider in the history of Grand Prix motorcycle racing to win championships in four different classes.
#1 Giacomo Agostini
With a record 500cc/MotoGP World Championships, Giacomo Agostini is considered as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all time. Nicknamed 'Ago', the Italian has fifteen World Championships to his name in all classes.
The Italian rider impressed the racing world in his first season itself. Agostini secured second place finishes in both the 350cc and the 500cc championships in 1965.
He took the 500cc World Championship the following season in 1966 and managed to win it consecutively for seven years. During this time, Agostini even managed to secure five 350cc championships.
His final 500cc World Championship came in the year 1975, which he won while riding a Yamaha machine.
Giacomo Agostini retired from the sport two years later in 1997, etching his name forever as one of the legends of the sport.