Throwback Thursday: MotoGP
MotoGP has been graced by many phenomenal racers and eccentric personalities, all of whom have provided us with moments of high intensity and drama. On this Throwback Thursday, take a look back at some of the greatest characters to have ruled the tracks.
Valentino Rossi’s legend was first established in 1997
The greatest of all time has largely been contested since the creation of the 3 classes – Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP – but it is undoubtable that these men have made history in incredible, and often crazy, ways. They have included themselves in the history books for their sheer insanity. And how could this list start in any other way than with Valentino Rossi?
Valentino Rossi: 1997
In an incredible year of racing, only one man could beat a teenage Valentino Rossi, and that was Japan’s Noboru Ueda, but he could only do it during 4 of the 15 races.
For most, this insane season of racing was a pivotal year for Rossi, who stormed to victory upon an Aprilia. His 125 class championship would be his first of 9 (1 in 125cc, 1 in 250cc, 7 in MotoGP), and it was only his second year of world class racing.
He would go on to astound fans, and win for the next 20 years, and he will race for a further 2 years with Yamaha. 1997 was the year a legend was born.
Jorge Lorenzo: 2006
This 250cc season featured some familiar faces for MotoGP fans – Dovizioso came 2nd, Marco Simoncelli came 10th and Aleix Espargaro came 19th but it was the man in first place that divided opinions like no other. Either you love him or you hate him.
This was the year that Jorge Lorenzo burst onto the scene as one of the most promising talents of our current era. It was his first championship, he would go on to win one more and then 3 MotoGP championships.
In this season, he only retired twice, and stepped onto the podium at every race bar 3. A promising start for an incredible talent.
Marc Marquez: 2017
In a season that saw Marc Marquez losing his hair due to stress, it was one incredibly well fought for season – Rossi was in contention, as was his compatriot Andrea Dovizioso who would finish the season in 2nd place, but it would all come down to the wire in the last race of the year.
Had Dovizioso not retired in Valencia, it could have been a very different end to the 2017 season.
It was the 6th title for the 25-year-old Spaniard, and with many more years ahead of him, it’ll take talent like Dovizioso’s to stop him from overtaking Rossi’s famed 9 titles.
Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood: 1967
This season was awash with British wins as Mike Hailwood dominated in the 250cc, 350cc and the 500cc championships, winning on 16 occasions.
This was a time when several classes could be raced in one year, but it was Giacomo Agostini who had his sights set on the 500cc championship and it was a very close fought battle. They tied on points for first place after taking the season all the way to the final race in Canada.
It all came down to who had come second more often during a time when these two legends swapped first and second place every race. It was Agostini though who had one more second place finish than Hailwood, and so he took the championship.
Kenny Roberts Jr.: 2000
The 2000 season was one that made history, as Kenny Roberts Jr. secured the championship and became one half of the only father-son championship winning duo.
His father, Roberts Sr. won the 1978, 1979 and 1980 500cc championships, racing against the likes of Barry Sheene.
Roberts Jr. won 4 races in 2000, but raced against the likes of Rossi, Alex Criville, Loris Capirossi and Max Baiggi, who were some of the biggest names in the sport at the time.
His 6th place in Brazil saw him win the championship with 2 more races until the end of the season.
Mick Doohan: 1994
Mike Doohan has always been an impressive rider, but the facts speak for themselves in his 1994 500cc season which he won with a 143 point lead on Luca Cadalora who came in second place.
There wasn’t a single race that he didn’t step onto the podium, and on only 5 occasions was that not the 1st place step. He never retired, and he started every race. This was a season that included the likes of Kevin Schwantz (USA) and Alex Criville (Spain).
He would go on to win the 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 500cc championships too before he would retire from racing all together – it seemed like he had a start as you mean to go on mentality.