Top 10 GP riders of all time

If wins are the measure of success, these are the GOATs

THE debate about which racer is the best of all time is one of those unanswerable talking points that’s always going to be impossible to agree on.

But let’s have a go anyway.

Looking at GPs, of all classes, ever since the start of the world championship in 1949, these are the riders (at the time of writing) to have the most outright wins in world championship events. Yes, you can make arguments for others – those with careers shortened by injury, for instance – but in sheer, tangible results this is as close as you’ll come to a definitive list.

And some might be a surprise.

10. Casey Stoner – 45 wins

One can only wonder how high on this ranking Casey Stoner might have ended up if he hadn’t made the decision to retire while still a mere 27-years-old. In fact, his 45 wins are equal to the record of Jim Redman, but since Stoner took 38 of his on top-class bikes, against just two for Redman, we’ve given him the number 10 spot.

9. Marc Marquez – 50 wins (and counting)

Given his dominance in 2013 and 2014 it almost seems a surprise that Marquez isn’t higher on the list. But then again, he’s only 22… At the moment, the majority of his wins have been on smaller-class bikes, with ‘just’ 24 coming on MotoGP machines. But he’s only had 48 MotoGP starts so far, which means his hit rate is unbelievable (he’s already 11th in the all-time MotoGP class race winners list).

8. Dani Pedrosa – 50 wins (and counting)

Next time someone bleats about Dani Pedrosa having a factory Honda ride, it might be worth pointing them at the fact he’s one of the top 10 race winners of all time, despite being a number two rider for most of his top-line career. And it’s not just his smaller bike success that places him so high: just over half (26) have been on top-class MotoGP bikes, which makes him eigth on the all-time list in that category as well.

7. Phil Read – 52 wins

Britain's most successful rider of all time in terms of championships, with GP titles in the 125cc, 250cc (x4) and 500cc (x2) classes. Of all his wins, 11 were on 500s, which surprisingly places him only 21st if this list was restricted to premier-class successes.

6. Mick Doohan – 54 wins

Doohan is one of those riders that might have achieved so much more than his already-impressive statistics suggest, if only he hadn’t suffered horrible injuries and spent much of his career racing against other greats like Rainey and Schwantz. Every single one of Doohan’s 54 wins is on a 500cc bike, which makes his sixth position on the all-classes list look even more impressive. On a list of top class wins only, he ranks higher still in third place.

5. Jorge Lorenzo – 60 wins (and counting)

Another rider who might well rank higher on this list by the time he retires, Lorenzo has also had to battle against a host of other ‘aliens’ during his career. Can you imagine how many wins he’d have if it wasn’t for the likes of Stoner, Rossi and Marquez? Well over half (38 and counting) have been on MotoGP machines, making him fourth highest scorer of all time in that class.

4. Mike Hailwood – 76 wins

Lorenzo still has a way to go before he can move up another position on the list, since Hailwood is a long way ahead on 76. Of them, 37 were on 500s, putting him sixth on the all-time list in that category.

3. Angel Nieto – 90 wins

Nieto's position on the all-time list is sure to spark some debate, since many of his wins were on the 50cc machines and he never won a race on a 250 or even raced a 500. But you can’t really argue with the fact that he stood on the top step of the podium 90 times and won 13 championships during an international career that spanned 22 years.

2. Valentino Rossi – 112 wins (and counting)

No, he’s still not the GOAT in terms of all-time wins. Not yet, anyway. Rossi’s win rate might have been considerably slowed (and you can only imagine where it might stand if he hadn’t spent two fruitless years at Ducati), but he’s still racing as hard as ever, and you can’t rule out another 10 victories to match our number one rider. Rossi already leads the table if you only count top-class wins, on 86.

1: Giacomo Agostini – 122 wins

Of course the number one on this list is Ago. He also heads the tables when it comes to championship victories, on a total of 15 titles (all achieved between 1966 and 1975 – he was champ on both 350s and 500s for five years running between 68 and 72.  Oh, and throw in 10 TT wins as well, just for luck. In 500s/MotoGP, he’s second to Rossi on 68 wins against 86.

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